I’ve always loved the dinner in prison scene from Goodfellas. You’ve got Bobby Darin crooning “Beyond the Sea” in the background while Paulie slices fresh garlic with a razor blade. Meanwhile, the camera zooms in on the meatballs Vinny’s adding to his sauce that may or may not include too many onions, and suddenly whatever room you’re in smells like your grandmother’s kitchen on Sunday afternoon. Next you’ve got Johnny Dio searing a New York strip on a hot plate while a shady prison officer drops off a crate of lobsters. Finally, Henry rolls in with a sack full of fresh bread, cured meats, and choice libations before Paulie declares “Now we can eat!”
For a moment, allow yourself to take this scene completely out of context and set aside the fact that Henry, Pauly, and the rest of the gang are not good people who totally deserve to be in prison. Instead, try to think of them as a group of guys with nowhere to go, doing what they can to make the best of a crummy situation. On that level, they’re much more relatable because taking pragmatic steps to bring light to darkness is such a basic human instinct.
On some level, we all took steps to do the same this past year. For my family, that meant getting dressed to the nines on Friday afternoon and putting our favorite food on the table to celebrate “Fancy Friday.” It didn’t make being apart from family and friends hurt any less. But it did succeed in serving as a weekly reminder that we had each other, we had our health, and those are things worth celebrating.
We didn’t have to look very far beyond our dinner table to find other folks doing their best to bring light all around us last year. In our neighborhood, fall décor started popping up in August and in November our neighbors began putting on the finest display of Christmas lights I’ve ever seen. We know that people all around Somerset County did the very same thing because we got the girls in their PJs and took dozens of rides all over the place to see other people’s lights shining through the dark. It was a powerful metaphor.
In our shops in Far Hills and Basking Ridge, you brought the light directly to us. While many small businesses shut their doors in 2020, we were fortunate to find ourselves in a position where we had to figure out how to serve more people as safely as possible. We offered online ordering and curbside pickup for the very first time, and if it felt like we were making it up as we went along, it’s because that’s exactly what was happening. Thank you for sticking with us through all of it. When you came to Perrotti’s to put food on your table, you helped us put food on ours, and we’re eternally grateful for that.
Looking ahead, we wish all of you a happy, healthy, and safe 2021. And whenever you’re looking to put some of your favorite food on the table, we do hope you’ll come see us.