Many years ago, when I used to live with my parents as a child, my step-mom would make chicken picatta. Sometimes she'd add other things to the "menu", but none of it really attracted my attention - that chicken picatta was my personal culinary Valhalla, the thing I looked forward to most and cherished when I could get it. The recipé that she used is somewhat similar to the one above, but she sometimes changed a few things. Instead of capers, she'd use mushrooms - occasionally leaving out the garlic because Dad had chronic bad breath after eating garlic (who doesn't??) and Mom didn't wanna have to deal with it later on. Since we didn't drink alcohol in the family, we didn't have wine (which, I hear, white wine is best with chicken picatta... but I am naive in such matters). No, instead we had Martinelli's Sparkling Champagne (which amounted to grape juice that came in a fancy bottle), bought from Krogers (Jolly K. Roger's) at $2.39 a bottle.

That was our Italian feast, saved for special occasions in the family - birthdays, visits, parties... whatever called for an at-home dinner activity. Oh, that wasn't the only special-event meal we had. We also made Japanese food (Dad's a surprisingly good chef!), Polish cuisine... Mom even sometimes goes back to her Jewish roots and makes a kosher meal or two (mmmm.... matzo-ball soup...). But that chicken picatta... oh, man. I can hardly wait for the day I get married and I get the chance to whip that dish out on my wife ("Hey, honey, I made us dinner... and if you don't like it, we're filing for divorce." "But... we've only been married two weeks." "Listen, it's either you like it and continue to hold the favor of my family or you hate it and become an outcast... we're serious about our culinary delights." "Not that serious." "Eh?" "Jay, you hardly weigh more than 140 pounds." "Harumph. Dinner's ready, love. I'll await your opinion while I gorge myself on some Ben and Jerry's in a futile attempt to gain more weight.").