You know you’re a Rosso girl when …

Too close for the comfort of this Rosso girl / Photo by Andrea Panciera

So, you’re in quarantine due to the coronavirus and you jump into high anxiety when the delivery person comes within six feet of your closed door.

If you’re a Rosso girl like I am – aka female descendant of any Italian-American nana or great-aunt – that’s nothing new. We’ve been dealing with that since we were old enough to reach the kitchen table.

In case you don’t capeesh, here’s what I mean:

  • Visitors to your house can’t go home until you’ve given them more paper bags of goodies than they brought in
  • You wiped down the table, sinks and counters after they leave — before the coronavirus hit
  • Your childhood trauma over white-glove inspections by the great aunts won’t let you have visitors if the house is a “complete mess”

    Rosso girl Flo Marie
    Florence (Rosso) Marie, 103, my great-aunt and role model, in her home. I make beds just like she does. Photo / Andrea Panciera
  • The house is a complete mess until the beds are made
  • The beds aren’t made until:
    – the sheets and blankets are tucked in with hospital corners at the bottom of the mattress
    – The sheets and the blankets have been smoothed down four times, twice on each side, so no wrinkles show
    -The sheets and the blankets are  hanging evenly on both sides and then tucked under the mattress on both sides
    -The top sheet is folded over the the top of the blanket to exactly where the hem mark is
    -The pillows are plumped, smoothed and ends turned over, then placed exactly the same distance from each edge of the bed
    -The bed cover is pulled up over the pillows,  tucked under the edge of the pillows, adjusted until the sides hang evenly, then smoothed six times, two on each side and one from top and bottom so wrinkles won’t show.
    -Finally, no one is allowed to sit on the bed because WRINKLES MIGHT SHOW.
  • You no longer iron any clothes for yourself, but if a male in the house needs a dress shirt, you pull out the ironing board, heat up the iron, and press on until NO WRINKLES SHOW
Christmas Eve dinner at my house, with linguine with walnuts, baccala, haddock and kale. Photo / Andrea Panciera
  • When you know that the question “Who’s doing Christmas Eve” really means is anyone (ie, you) buying the baccala (cod dried in salt), soaking and rinsing it twice a day for three days til the salt is out, then making the tomato sauce to cook it in for the precise amount of minutes until the head male taste tester in the house says it’s tender enough
  • When you know that the question “Who’s doing Easter” really means who cares about the Easter bunny and is anyone (ie, you) making Easter bread with an egg in it,  frittata with ricotta and ribbon cookies dusted with confectionery sugar.  For the extended family so they won’t have to leave the house with empty paper bags.
  • You work at an outside job, come home exhausted and worried that wrinkles might be showing,  and still serve dinner first to whatever males might happen to be in the house
  • Oh, and you probably cooked the dinner, too. After asking what the male wanted.
  • Then, while hating yourself for doing it, you pick up all the plates, bring them to the kitchen and wash them
  • You can’t leave the kitchen until the table, sink and counters are all wiped down
  • And you can’t go to bed unless the bed is made.