Pizza, Pasta and Torpedo Juice

Peter Orobello, The Coolest Guy Who Couldn’t Care Less

My grandfather was the coolest cat in town and not only did he have no idea, but if he did he would have shrugged, took a swig of his vodka martini and said “EH!  Sometimes I walk to work, sometimes I carry my lunch”.

This was one of his many cleaver ways of saying basically “who cares”  and a phrase repeated often in our family.

I have many fond memories of dinner parties attended by a good 30 of our immediate family members, where talk would often turn to life’s most important subjects: pizza, pasta and Torpedo Juice.

If you every had the joy of being in the room with even one Italian then you know that the only thing they can agree on is that there is an Italy, and it’s in Europe.

Everyone had their own opinions about who made the best pizza in town, who’s wife’s pasta sauce was the finest, and how much Chianti was indeed too much.

italian restaurant  bluffton sv
My grandpa married the “Hot Chick”! Named his truck after her! Romantic!

As the night would go on, and more and more wine was consumed, talk would eventually turn to the War.  My grandfather and ALL of my uncles were WWII vets and they all had their share of amazing, heroic and often hilarious stories.

My absolute favorite story was the one my grandfather told about Torpedo Juice.

What Anyone In Their Position Would Do

“It was a dark and desolate night in the South Pacific,” the beginning was always the same, although the details would change subtly as the years would go on, “we were hunkered down for the night when suddenly we realized we were out of alcohol!”

This was always met with a collective gasp from my uncles who, in light of being stationed in a remote area of a foreign country and fighting an epic war, the lack of an alcoholic beverage was the horrifying part.

“So we did what anyone in our position would do, we knew that the torpedo heads were floating in grain alcohol, so we unscrewed them and drank it! Hence the birth of Torpedo Juice! “

At this point in the story a cheer would go up in honor of my grandfather’s ingenuity and fortitude in the face of grave danger, not fighting the enemy mind you, but running out of alcohol!  The day was saved!

italian restaurant bluffton sc
Grandpa just hanging out!

Now don’t get me wrong, my grandfather and my uncles all fought bravely and returned home to a hero’s welcome, but in true Italian male fashion no one ever wanted to brag about that.

The real bragging rights went to ones who could find the best food and drinks in whatever situation they were in, and it didn’t hurt to throw in a pretty lady or two (although my grandpa had married the “Hot Chick” was the envy of all his friends).

In the middle of a war-torn country?  Not important!  Found a way to procure a drink in that country – now that’s a story!

Life Lessons From The Orobello Family

What I always learned from these stories (besides the fact that you could unscrew torpedo heads) was that life was always going to be about making making it work in every situation, that overcoming obstacles makes for some great stories and that Torpedo Juice will give you a nasty hangover!

So although I will NOT be unscrewing any torpedo heads any time soon, I know that no matter what life throws at me I come from a long line of creative people, who make it work no matter what, and then live to laugh at the story!


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