My husband, Anthony, is the master of - among a few other things - something we call in our house, "the Grand Gesture."
Here's an example of how the Grand Gesture works, with the English translation:
"Here, have the last meatball." (Translation: "I want to eat the last meatball, but I would feel like a total dick if I just scarfed it down without asking. Though I thought about it.")
"Go ahead!" (Translation: "Shit!") "Take it." (Translation: "Say no.")
"You don't want it?"
"You take it." (Translation: "Say no.")
"No, that's okay."
"Are you sure?" (Translation: "Your caboose is as wide as a barn, for chrissakes. You don't need another meatball.")
"Go ahead and take it..." (Translation: "Please say no.")
And so on. Until I swear on the madonna that I don't want the last meatball, after which he is free to scarf it down, guilt free.
Or is it? Obviously, since I've lived with Anthony for over thirty years, I know he wants the last meatball. He knows I know it. But he's got to make the Grand Gesture, to keep up appearances. Usually, I just say no at the get-go and have another glass of wine.
The term "Grand Gesture" was added to our household vocabulary by one of our roommates (back in the day before the kids), also an Italian. Italians generally have a low tolerance for bullshit, but this one votes Republican, so go figure.
My kids act in opposite ways when faced with the last meatball and a Grand Gesture. My son, Nino, will cave, but not without an eye-roll. My daughter, Nikki, will heartlessly eat it. So refreshing.
Just so you know what the fuss is about, here's a recipe for meatballs. Everybody's got their own. This one is from my father-in-law. Updated by me. We don't put them in the sauce. I've got another one for that. We just fry them and eat them "on the side".
Take a couple of pounds of ground meat. I usually get a "meatloaf mix" of veal, beef, and pork. Sometimes you can only find it beef/pork. It's all good so don't worry about it. Put the meat in a big bowl. Add to the bowl with the meat about a half a cup of grated cheese (Romano's good), 3 eggs, a half a cup of milk, a clove (or two) of crushed garlic, 2 teaspoons of beef bouillon, a teaspoon of salt, a half a teaspoon each of black pepper and dried basil, and some chopped parsley. Not take six slices of bread, hold them under running water for a few seconds and then squeeze the water out of then (they get all pasty). Put the bread in the bowl with the rest of the stuff and mix real good with your hands. Form into balls and fry in olive oil. My father-in-law liked to flatten them out a little, because he said they cook better. You can also make meatloaf with this mixture. Or burgers. Or stuff a pepper with it. Or mushrooms. It's magic.
Just make sure you let your husband have the last one.
That way, you see, he owes you.