Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Don't Forget the Cannoli

Cannolis and Christmas go hand in hand for me.

Perhaps it’s the Eye-talian in me or the Jerseyness. These two qualities are also to be blamed for my love of Bon Jovi, big diamonds, sequins shoes and tragically big hair during my middle school years.

But really, who doesn’t love sequins shoes?

So yeah, cannolis. My husband is all about the cannolis. Interestingly enough, he is the only playa in his fam who digs the delightful pastry filled with ricotta cream and mini chocolate chips, dusted with heavenly powdered sugar. The rest of his people could really take or leave a cannoli. Shocking, I know.

If you’ve never had one, you must. Seriously, YOU MUST, especially if you take a spin into South Philly. And, right. I guess you’re supposed to have a cheesesteak, too.

We love the cannolis made by Isgro’s Paticceria, located at 1009 Christian Street. There have been many a Christmas Eve when Mark headed over to the Italian Market to wait in a line weaving through blocks and more blocks of beautiful downtown South Philly so that he could then fork over his hard-earned cash for dozens of cannolis for my crazy-ass family.

He is so sweet!

This experience includes searching high and low in bumper-to-bumper traffic for a parking space, spending hours outside in the freezing cold, drinking shots and making chit-chat no doubt about the Phillies or the Eagles or somethin’ with fellow Philadelphians and Jersey folk. Once you make it inside the narrow bakery, which smells like sugary heaven, you are crammed shoulder-to-shoulder with patient patrons who are shouting their orders to the little old ladies and the younger gals behind the small counter who are shouting back, "With powdered sugar, Sweetie?" It’s chaotic and Christmas-y all at once. Mark has reported back that the peoples are usually very jolly during this time spent waiting and buying, which makes me happy since I know first-hand how evil shoppers are in December. (I worked at Macys for a bazillion years.)

Back in 2002, when Mark decided he was going to bestow some bling bling on his hottie girlfriend and make an honest woman out of her, he headed straight to Isgro’s under the guise of picking up the cannolis. I mean, he really did pick up the cannolis, but he also picked me up the most amazing, special, fantastic wedding ring ever.

And seriously, I had no idea this was going down. I mean, heading into that Christmas Eve I was pretty well convinced that the life ahead of me would be filled with spinsterhood, loneliness, workaholicism, living with my parents for all of eternity, heavy drinking in solitude, cats (well, thankfully I’m allergic), knitting, Lifetime movies, heartache, despair, and no proposal. Ever.

OMG. I was so melodramatic. And naïve. So naïve, dear readers, because that Husband of mine tricked me. He tricked me something bad. And I was so stressing out about that Christmas Eve because it seemed as if everybody, EVERYBODY, was expecting The Question to be popped. And the pressure was so stifling. And, my sweet, thoughtful, romantic boyfriend made me believe that he would rather do anything BUT get married.


He walked up to the door so that we could go to my sister’s for the Seven Fishes. And my heart was beating crazy fast.

And, he had presents in his hands.

And I was all yelling at him, “What’s with the presents?! We’re opening presents tomorrow! You didn’t say anything about presents. We’re late. OMG.”

And he says while carrying two huge boxes, “It’s just a little present.”

And I look at my dog Murry for some guidance, but he just yawns and wags his cute tail.

So, we head over to the couch. And, I open the first box. And in this box are receipts and tickets and wine corks and Post-its with phone messages and menus and e-mails and other random stuff from me and about me and regarding me.

And at this point, my inner monologue is something like, “OK. He’s obsessed with me. I mean, who isn’t?”

So I kind of have a feeling something crazy is going on, and in a blur I open the second box.

And. OMG. What could it be……


Except for a card. And the words in the card say, “Now, we can fill this box together.”

And I look up, and there my future Husband awaits, holding a box and asking me to marry him.

Cue sweeping soundtrack music. And laughter and yeses and happiness.

Yeah. That was like the best Christmas Eve ever. It was dreamy, starry-eyed, big-smile excitement. And every time I eat a cannoli, I think of it and Mark and well, us.

That’s because when Mark headed over the river and through the woods to pick up the cannolis, he picked up my ring. And, when he asked my parents for their blessing five minutes before popping the question, my mom stood in the doorway of my sister’s house, took the cannolis and said with tears in her eyes, “I’ll just tell the family you stopped by to drop off the cannolis. I won’t tell them about the engagement. I’ll tell them you needed to give us the cannolis.”

Because Mark swore her to secrecy.

And I mean, the party can’t get started without the cannolis.

He’s so lucky it snowed weeks earlier when he actually intended to ask for my hand, because his plan would have been known to all, no doubt.

Not that my Mom talks a lot.

She just can’t keep a secret from her daughters. And sisters really can’t keep secrets from sisters. It like breaks our code or something.

So, if you’d like to make your own memories on Christmas Eve, or any day for that matter, check out Isgro’s.

They have all my love.


  1. This was the cutest story. EVER. I kid you not everytime I eat one of these (Ha! I've never had Cannoli before) -- scratch that -- If I ever have one, I will totally think of you and your cannoli story and Christmas. & I've never met you. But for serious Susan, if we lived in the same town... Like if I lived in Jersey, or if you lived... in Japan, lol, we would so be unstoppable.