Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Kitchen

 Carm & Tony & The Bland Kitchen (photo courtesy of herald-dispatch.blogs)
A neutral color scheme that lacks ornate marble surfaces puts Carmela Soprano's kitchen immediately under suspect. What self-respecting North Jersey Italian girl with an unlimited budget would hold court in this tan and ordinary culinary hub? Not Carmela, not if she were a "real" girl. But she is a TV wife, and on the Soprano's, the kitchen is merely back-drop to the characters; the kitchen must never hog the camera.  Thus, my disappointment in Carm's kitchen as fodder for any kitchen design commentary.  Cabinets abound, the breakfast bar is pretty snazzy and efficient; but aesthetically, I'd never thrive there.

What matters in this kitchen is familial interaction. Good Morning, AJ. What colleges did you apply to, Meadow?  We don't want to be distracted by gorgeous variegated soapstone or cherry cabinets with pulls and knobs to die for, while Tony slurps his second bowl of Cap'n Crunch. What we want, is to watch the look on Tony's face as he hovers over his morning meal while conversing (or arguing) with his wife and children. Breakfast and many other meals, which you may have already noticed, seem to rarely be cooked by Carmela. The kids eat snacks out of bags, Tony consumes ice cream in vast quantities at warp speed, and he eats cereal nearly every morning. What kind of Italian mother IS Carmella Soprano? Where's the little recipe box holding ancient family recipes? Or the tray of homemade cutlets?

Oh, that's right. She's too busy screeching at her son and husband as they grab the carton of OJ out of the fridge and swig directly. Carmela doesn't work. A real Italian stay-at-home mom might at least offer some fresh-squeezed juice. Carmela seems to have no great love for her kitchen despite the fact she inhabits it quite often. Instead, she prefers to spend her allowance on expensive jewelry and drive a new car every year. Sure, Carm makes the occasional baked ricotta pie, but I don't notice a whole lot of cooking going on in Mama Carm's kitchen space.

 Now, the guys on the show are a different story. Go into the back room of Satriale's most any day of the week, and one of Tony's crew might be sauteing broccoli rabe or putting on a big pan of Bolognese for the gang so they all won't starve while playing Poker later that evening. The chef of the day will stand over a utilitarian stove, sprinkle in this and that, and allow the sauce to simmer - with fervor. One could almost say he looks as if he is guarding the sauce. Rightly so. My guess is that they need to keep watch on the food in the back of Satriale's. If you're a viewer, like me, it's common knowledge that on any given day, some spattered blood or people-y bits could make their way into the sauce.