The Sicilian and Italian American Mafiosi spend a lot of time together, it is encouraged and there is an absence of women. Getting together re-enforces the bond between them and confirms the pecking order within their group. Wise guys therefore have to be, and do,become good cooks.
Since eating is the basis for their entertaining they prepare lavish dinners containing many dishes. After a ‘ritual’ admission into the Mafia it is usually followed by a ‘grand gorges’. These great feasts, grand banquets or hunting parties in the countryside of Sicily saw men bring along different dishes; meat, fish, baked pasta, sweets, desserts and cakes.
As women were never present this meant that the men became very competent at preparing excellent food for their colleagues. They sat down and shared their dishes and during their time together it might become raucous and highly charged. The society that this created meant men were wary of women, they didn’t understand them.
In the cities of the United Sates, such as New York, such socialising for wise guys was held in bars, casinos, nightclubs, restaurants and other less salubrious establishments. Places owned by Mafia members and associates allowed them to relax, eat, gamble, drink and plan their activities in relative security. Known as Social Clubs they have been a fabric of the American Mafia since the very beginning.
The irony that women are absent from the socialising of the men is that in modern times they have had to take on an even greater responsibility for maintaining the organisation. Wives and sisters are trusted more than male colleagues and the high-profile fugitive of the Cosa Nostra in Sicily, Matteo Denaro only trusts his sister, Patrizia who knew of key information as to his location whilst on the run.
Finally, a place wise guys socialise might be prison, as famously conveyed in a scene in the Martin Scorsese film ‘Goodfellas’ where the guys are locked up, serving time together, cooking and living in supposed captivity, but they cook and drink and prepare their evening dinner in ‘style’.
Book for you and your friends to socialise at The Raspberry Cannoli Cabaret this May.