What Looking For Alibrandi’s ‘Sauce Day’ Scene Means To Italian-Australians, 20 Years On
If ever we all collectively wished for a smell-o-vision, it was for the Sauce Day scene in ‘Looking For Alibrandi’.
Now almost 20 years since its release, ‘Looking For Alibrandi’ has well and truly earned its spot as an iconic Australian film. The flick gave many Aussies our first glimpse inside an entirely new culture. And its charming opening scene, with all its clanging pots and gossiping family, introduced us all to the magic of ‘Sauce Days’.
In that enchanting movie moment, a 17-year-old Josie Alibrandi skulks and eye-rolls her way around her backyard. As she laments all things family gossip and teenage angst, we moviegoers could hardly tear our eyes away from what was unfolding in the background. Boiling water and giggling uncles, chattering aunties chopping tomatoes and squelching sauce - if ever we all collectively wished for a smell-o-vision, it was for the Sauce Day scene in ‘Looking For Alibrandi’.
If you were raised in a ‘meat and two veg’ kind of household, it was almost impossible to wrap your head around the kind of food Josie and her family had at their fingertips. But for Italian-Australians like Krystal De Pasquale, watching this scene felt like sitting at the dinner table with her own family.
“I used to laugh because it did represent our family a little bit, especially on Sauce Days,” Krystal said about her first time watching ‘Looking For Alibrandi’. “Sauce Day to us is a day where all our family comes together. And we’re there altogether laughing, peeling tomatoes, making the sauce, eating - it’s a fun day for the family.”
Just like Josie’s big and boisterous family, Krystal’s own kin are as quintessentially Italian as they come. They value food and family above all else. Which is why they decided to launch their very own pasta business.
Krystal and her sisters are the creators behind Il Nonno Food, a Melbourne-based small business that prides itself on delivering authentic Italian pasta and products to Australia’s doorsteps.
The sister-lead business was born when their 80-year-old father, Nonno, decided that the retired life simply wasn’t for him. “He wanted something for his daughters so his legacy will one day live on when he’s not here,” said Krystal.
“We believe that traditional Italian food, especially pasta, brings us together to celebrate and it’s a blessing to share it with everyone. We really represent a traditional Italian family, we’re loud, we’re boisterous and we’re passionate when we’re all together working in the factory.”
To this day, Il Nonno is an all-hands-on-deck operation. The sisters handle the business while their entire family jumps in to help where they can. “Nonno (my dad) is on board for all deliveries and even helps in the factory at 80, and my mother’s there packing too,” said Krystal. “We’ve all got a part to play.”
Not at all unlike the Alibrandis, Krystal explains that in her household, all of life’s important moments are done over a big bowl of pasta. “Food is an integral part of Italian families, it really brings everybody together,” said Krystal, who hopes her Australian made products can make anyone feel that incredible sense of love and togetherness.
For those of us who were first swept up in ‘Looking For Alibrandi’ 20 years ago, it’s heartening to know that the charming Sauce Day scene wasn’t just the stuff of fiction. But instead, a glimmering insight into how much Italian-Australians value their family and their food.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Abbey Lenton is one of the freshest voices emerging in the lifestyle space. The young journo specialises in nostalgia, health, and sustainable fashion, and has been published by the likes of Network 10,whimn.com.au, and Body + Soul. When she’s not out seeing local bands or tending to her houseplants, she’s tucked up at home with her one true love, Kath & Kim. Abbey is a sucker for all things Australiana, and she’s thrilled to be a part of the Buy Aussie Now team as a freelance contributor.