Friday, July 13, 2012

Yes, I am proud to be a Mangiacake. Buddaboom. Buddabing.

Dear Rose DiManno, if I'm a Mangiacake, then you my dear, are what we Brits would refer to as a Wanker.

The title of your latest article "When will Toronto street food reflect its population?" should have really been called "Wow, I can't believe that I actually get paid to churn out this drivel."

 When I first read the title I thought that it was going to speak directly to several issues, one being the growing ground swell of support for the street food trucks, the ever growing popularity of street food markets and perhaps the advent of such things as Night Markets that are so popular in Asia.

Oh boy, was I ever wrong. After reading most of this article I got to thinking that this was more a descriptive of another "Saw" movie. "Saw 19: The Chicken Little Massacres" also featuring Ms. DiManno's less than spectacular lunch experiences at June Cleaver's house on Elm Street where she is still haunted by the nightmarish images of Velvetta Grilled Cheese "sang-wiches" on Wonder Bread. How did any of this have anything remotely to do with the street food issue?  Where is Freddie Krueger when you need him?

Yeah Rosie, I'm a Mangiacake and damn proud of it.  Oh by the way real "Eye-talians" don't use the word Mangiacake, they just call us "Cakes".  I could have easily started out this posting by referring to you as a Dego, a Wop, a Spaghetti Bender or a Guidette but that would have just been plain old disrespectful. Buddaboom Buddabing.

How The Toronto Star ever found this article worthy of publication is completely beyond me. It wasn't until about three quarters of the way through this article that it even begins to remotely drill down into what is a contentious issue these days in the Big Smoke. What a waste of valuable media space that could have really waved a legitimate banner of support for the street food community and help to continue to pressure city council to emerge from the dark ages. 

Ms. DiManno also blew a good opportunity to talk about a really cool thing that is happening right now on the street food scene.  It was a total oversight on her part not to at least mention Market 707 located at the Scadding Court Community Centre (on the corner southeast corner of Dundas and Bathurst Sts.) which is becoming an awesome spot to venture for amazing street food.  It is a stellar example of a community centre meeting street food and melding the diverse culture of this glorious city.

I would have much rather gotten that information than her droning on with her silly, eyeball rolling, stereotypical colloquialisms.

I truly believe that as time goes by we will see more and more of Market 707 types of street food set ups and we will all be the better for it. This combined with the advent of the food trucks and events such as TUM, Toronto hopefully is finally turning the cultural food corner, regardless of the ineptitude of Toronto city council. 

For the record I was a child immigrant and I grew up on the streets in the Corso Italia hood surrounded by Italians, Poles, Germans, Jamaicans, East Indians, Brazilians, Portuguese and my own people, the Brits.  I went to a high school where the English speaking club would meet in the phone booth across the street at 3:30  p.m.  If your name didn't end in a vowel then you didn't count so I used to tell people my name was Christine Tortellini.

Growing up in the melting pot I got to experience everything from Curried Goat to Caldo Verde to Hasenpfeffer.  Never once did I ever envy Ms. DiManno's precious Prosciutto and Provolone sammies, I had homemade head cheese on Scottish baps and my Mother's Empire biscuits. Hello?  What's to envy? 

For the past 28 years I've been married to an Italian and my MIL never butchered bloody chicken livers in the garage, she did however snap a few pigeon necks along the way.  I just love pigeon and polenta.  Garages were used for pressing grapes and cooking Baccala. 

Ms. DiManno, ok, you aren't a KD, pasta salad with mayo kinda chick.  I do beg to differ however on your view as you not being a hotdog on a bun because after reading your column I've decided that you are in fact a big 'ol weenie.

That Wonder Bread that you so sarcastically ridiculed was bread that my Father, the immigrant, worked all night in a hot bakery to produce. So ask me if I really care whether or not you like Peanut Butter or whether you still have nightmares about grilled cheese sandwiches.  Your declaration of this is not news worthy information.  Someone down in the Star newsroom needs a good slap on the back of the head....just like Mamma Mia used to do, I'm sure.  

On a side note, I'm tired of people slamming the hotdog/sausage vendors across this city.  Yeah, ok, it's hotdogs and we've all heard the pink slime stories, enough already.  I don't hear nearly as much screaming about all the food dye and sugar being dumped into all those fancy pants decadently iced cupcakes and glazed designer donuts that all the hipsters are mawing down on these days.

You think it's easy for those street vendors to hawk their sausages in the blazing heat, the driving rain, the blizzards and gale force winds?  That's hard earned moola.  For the past couple of years the current street food vendors have stood by as they have been berated, belittled and ridiculed for their carts and their eats.  They have been left to the mercy of the inept leadership of city council who impose draconian and shortsighted rules on street food vending.

We get it already, they aren't going to be featured on an episode of "Street Eats".  Many of them, who are out of business, are still paying for those overpriced food carts they were forced to turn to, to chase their dreams of having their own business. Let's just show them a little respect, please. 

Finally, as a Ryerson alumni, I remember well Ernie the hotdog guy.  There were many students who Ernie fed even when they had no money in their pockets. Coming out of night class I'd often see a line up of street people hoping to snag the end of the day leftovers.  Ernie never disappointed. To this day, when I walk down Gould Street I still expect to find Ernie at his cart handing out his stash of JuJubes.  Even in his death he bestowed a bursary for students in need.  All this from a guy who spent a quarter century of his life selling hotdogs.  Maybe we could all learn a thing or two from Ernie the hotdog guy.


  1. Yeah, I grew up on a Canadian diet, and spent a couple years working with old timers. F.O.B's for all those star readers.

    It's true, cake is really bad for you. Go mix some some cake batter, see what you put in it.

    It's a term of endearment.

  2. I dunno dude, in my hood growing up, when the Italians referred to you a Cake it wasn't meant as a term of endearment. Now it's just slang.

  3. Hear, hear, What She said.

    Bravo to you, Mamma Coop, for calling it like it is!

    I, too, fondly remember Ernie, holed up outside Jorgenson Hall back in my carpooling days with my Ryerson-employed better half.

    Hubby was always late.

    And I was always hungry.