Posts Tagged ‘Mafia’

The Parsley Wars

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

If you go to dinner in an up-scale Manhattan restaurant, you’ll be surrounded by elegant Mafia ambience. The china and silverware come from mob-connected restaurant supply companies.  The linen will be laundered by favored dry cleaners.  The wait staff and bartenders are unionized with a cut going to the syndicate.  All of the food, flowers, and liquor are delivered by trucks driven by Teamsters.  The city workers who inspect the place and pick up the trash get a little bonus too.  And even your FDA choice steak is resting under a piece of mob parsley.

Mob Parsley?

Think of all the virtually-unnoticed parsley that passes through restaurants, diners, and bars.  It’s everywhere!  Garnishing food, floating in drinks, pestering pesto, and sliding through sauce.  New York Daily News columnist Jimmy Breslin said there’s so much parsley, restaurants were “serving meals that appeared to be growing lawns.”

The reason?  The Mob has a virtual monopoly on the commercial parsley business. In fact many top restaurants have a “quota” of how much they must order.  When one  owner tried to reduce his quota by picking it off diners’ plates and rewashing it, he was visited by a few guys who quickly made him a fresh parsley lover.

Don’t think of this as bad.  Think of it as the Mafia’s contribution to the Green Movement.

Did Castro Kill Kennedy?

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

November 22, 2008 is the 45th Anniversary of John Kennedy’s Assassination

He certainly had enough reasons to. When John Kennedy was President, there were at least SIX attempts on Castro’s life. From shootings to poisonings and even an exploding cigar (thought up by the CIA) the U.S. tried everything to kill Fidel. Of course, this was all secret at the time – even from then Vice-President Lyndon Johnson. When Johnson took over and found out about it, he bellowed, “They (the Kennedys) were running a goddamn ‘Murder Inc.’ down there!”

Around noon in Havana on November 22, 1963, Castro was having lunch with a well-known French journalist. Midway through the meal, one of the dictator’s aids rushed in and whispered something in his ear. The journalist later reported Castro “turned white” and said, “Jesus! They killed Kennedy and now they’ll blame us and invade!” He immediately left for his office.

Castro had good reason to be paranoid. He was only 90-miles away from the world’s largest, nuclear superpower which was trying its best to get rid of him. Cuba could have been obliterated in less than 20-minutes. Would the young Communist be dumb enough to give us a reason for doing that? Hardly. Castro was a lot of things – but he wasn’t stupid.

Years later, yet another ‘60’s plot against Castro was discovered. The good folks at the CIA – who probably watched too many James Bond movies – were going to ‘emasculate’ Fidel in front of the Cuban people. Their chemists came up with some bizarre powder that was supposed to make his beard fall out!

This strange scheme may actually have come closest to killing the dictator. When he learned about it, aids said Castro almost “died laughing”.



Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

In the ‘60’s, if you were invited over to Mob Boss Carlo Gambino’s home for Superbowl Sunday, you got to sample his famous MAFIA CHILI. Of course Carlo never called it that – but that’s the name which gave it legendary status for over 40-years.

I have the “official recipe” for the dish and it’s pretty remarkable stuff. How’d I get it? I can’t tell you exactly but you should know that there were hundreds of people invited to Carlo’s home over the years and very few of them had names like “Broken Nose,” “Four Fingers,” or “Picky.”

Carlo lived quietly in an upscale New York neighborhood with his wife and children. He would have been repulsed by the flashy Don – John Gotti – and horrified to learn that Gotti took over his family when Gambino’s cousin and successor, Paul Castellano, was late for his reservation because he was lying dead in the street in front of Sparks Steakhouse.

Anyway, when that many people come over to ‘mange’ all Superbowl afternoon, you can’t exactly ask the little wife to rattle her pots and pans. So virtually all of these parties were catered and the numerous cooks pretty much had to make the same chili because of its reputation – hence the written recipe.

Have I ever cooked it? Sure – but not exactly as written. First of all, it’s very, very expensive to make. Carlo could afford hundreds of pounds of top end Sirloin Steak (“Cut into 1/8” cubes – first cutting off all fat”) but I can’t. Neither can I afford cases of a specified ‘58 Bordeaux nor custom-made Hot Italian Sausage. And although I can afford the bundles of hot green and red chili peppers, I don’t know one person who could eat the damn stuff if I put in the amount called for. A few of the “non-secrets”? No beans of course (You want beans? Buy a can of Campbells.) There’s no mention of Chili Powder – only the raw ingredients of which it’s made and the words ‘ground beef’ do not appear. Probably the most surprising secret ingredient – which really “makes” the dish – is from China!

Now it would be really easy for me to reproduce the recipe here – but what fun would that be? And I’ve found that people value something only when it costs them money (I wish I got so much as a ‘Thank You’ for many of the writing projects and coaching hours I’ve given free over the years.) So here’s what we’re going to do to keep the MAFIA CHILI recipe to ourselves:

Send $ 5 – plus a stamped, self-addressed #10 envelope to:

10 Manhattan Square,
Rochester, New York 14607

I will give your $ 5 to my favorite charity and someone will mail you the recipe within 5-days. You are on your honor not to make more copies. REMEMBER – you are getting a COPY of the original recipe given to me. The typewritten (pre-computer) original is framed and hanging in my living room. Superbowl Sunday is only 6-months away – don’t get stuck with fondue!