If you didn't grow up in an Italian kitchen like I did, you may think the sisters who host their cooking class live on stage are not to be believed. But trust me...they are drawing on characters that I saw every Sunday at my aunt Celia's house in her back kitchen. And that's a wonderful thing, because those were some great afternoons of food, stories and laughter. There's all of that and more in this smorgasbord of song, history, zingers and of course, cuisine.
The Calamari Sisters...Carmela and Delphine...are quite simply, delicious! Armed with a chalkboard, aprons, some basic cooking utensils and ingredients, they whip up a variety show that blends musical theatre, vaudeville, and storytelling with a real sense of spontaneity that makes us all want to get up and do a little Mambo Italiano! They share with us an important lesson for all chefs whether seasoned or beginner...cooking needs to be fun! The three essentials to insure the fun according to Carmela are: XXXperiment, noises (as in something guttural or tribal to get the juices flowing) and music - maybe a little Frank or Perry Como. And these zesty sisters show us how it's done while whipping up cannoli, antipasto and a buffet of songs - my favorite was a rapid fire diddy about the variety of pastas out there...from bucatini to mostaccioli.
They also grab folks from the audience to taste and help prep. This could be a real spoiled egg in the hands of lesser performers but the quick wit of our two hosts is electric and keeps the crowd rolling along. For their participants they were primarily concerned with two things: are you Italian and are you Catholic? One lovely lady named Anne said she often sleeps in on Sundays and doesn't make it to church. To which Delphine responded, "Well thank God Jesus didn't sleep in the day he died for your sins!"
There were some wonderful family stories and some jokes that are throwbacks to an era of risqué rather than raunch. That's not to say they keep it all squeaky clean because just as wonderful food can be a prelude to sexy flirtation, these two "Double D Mamas" aren't afraid to shake the goods and get a little dirty with the flour or in the case of Delphine...meat. And it certainly appeals when delivered by these two pros. Director Dan Lavender keeps the show moving with a fantastic pace so that we're left wanting another course or two.
To put it in terms of popular film and television references (for those who may need such a comparison), our two lad...ies and their cooking lessons are a blend of Nine and Moonstruck with a splash of Lidia's Italy.
For anyone coming to Provincetown in the next few weeks I'd strongly encourage you to put this on the top of your "Must See List". It's one of the tastiest treats you're likely to experience after a great meal at Devon's or some pizza at George's. It's taking place in the back room of Sage Inn and Lounge so you can also grab a bite from their small plates menu before you see the show.
A Musical Cooking Lesson with the Calamari Sisters is produced by Adam Weinstock, Michelle Crone and Creative Concept Productions Tuesday through Friday nights at 9:00pm through August 22nd at Sage Inn, 336 Commercial Street. For more information on the Calamari Sisters, visit the website at http://thecalamarisisters.com/
So what are you waiting for? Andare a vederlo!