Sunday, July 28, 2019
Summer is always the time of year for the best summer salads, especially summer salad. A variation of a well prepared dish is fresh tomato with mozzarella and basil from the garden. Easy to make, slice the tomatoes downward to get the full circumference and shape of the presentation. Cut your mozzarella and lay on top of the tomaotoes and then add the basil. I drizzle olive oil and a pinch salt all over the dish. We eat well but very healthy. What's your favorite summer salad?
Sunday, May 26, 2019
So, as he slows down at this fast rate, I'm faced with thinking about all the great things about him right now and in my whole life. My father's story is this: He came to America in 1956 and took a ship ( The Olympia, and Andrea Doria, which are famous historical ships) to get here, it was a 10 day journey on his first voyage. This trip he made several times over the first years as he went back and forth to support his family after he made his first minimal money here in the USA.
My father landed on Ellis Island, as one of the last immigrant groups to actually dock there, but obviously the more modern version. He settled in Newark, N.J., where my great uncle put him to work right off the boat. My father also worked for the American Can Company, which was also ( American Can Company ranked 97th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts)
After earning some money, my father religiously sent money back to his mother and sister in Reggio Calabria, literally just to survive.
My parents both grew up very poor and poverty was common in Calabria. Its was a very rural area (farm and agriculture) and with minimal work. Even to this day if you're not in law enforcement, educator or government employee you're basically living the poverty line. Today some families do well with their own businesses, but for the most part many emigrated out of Calabria and still do to this day and go towards either in Northern Italy or another country to sustain economic stability.
After World War II, my father was urged by my great uncle to come to America, so he could work and gain a better life. The reason this all unfolded during that era was my father was the oldest of the family and was basically responsible for the family after my grandfather was killed in World War II. My father's family never received official notice or my grandfather's body back from war, the government at the time sent a soldier to tell you that your loved one was killed in action. It was a tragic time then for my father. For my father when he was a small child he still remembers when German bomber planes were going over the mountains in Calabria and dropping bombs. They were all living in bomb shelters built in the mountains, my father said there were actual true stories where German soldiers took Italian and American soldiers and would drown them in the wine vats. My father also owned a goat who he loved that he said suffered a bomb injury from the shrapnel and eventually died. My father was was just a little boy, can you imagine the horror? Then fast forward to getting on a ship (mind you my father does not swim) to a country you know nothing about because you have to make money and basically hope your family survives, it was the 1950s but even so, poverty was a reality.
Sunday, March 31, 2019
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Eggplant Polpettone -
- 1 eggplant (light purple)
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups of bread crumbs
- 5 spoons of grated cheese ( Romano preferred)
- 1 tsp. of salt to taste
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 7 leaves of basilica chopped
Boil the eggplant in cubes till tender, drain them and squeeze water out. Combine the bread crumbs, eggplant, eggs and all other ingredients. Mix until it's completely evenly combined. Begin forming balls about 3 inches long and 2 inches thick. Fry in vegetable oil till brown. Si Mangia! Let us know how your versions turn out.
Friday, March 22, 2019
Happy Mother’s Day mom, as you celebrate 59 years of mothering and 37 years of grand-mothering. These are the raw numbers of age, but they don’t reflect the memories, stories, lessons, and wisdom that come to us with the fullness of a life lived with intensity, insight, love, and faith.
Mothers are angels sent from God. They are like snowflakes; each one is different and unique in their own way. Not until I had my son did I realize the sacrifices mother’s make. Madeline, my mom is the heart of our home. She is the one that gets everyone together for birthdays and holidays. She loves to cook meals for the family. Everyone in the family can attest to her strength, her honesty, and her warmth. My mom embodies what a mother should be and shares her wisdom with everyone she meets. Her hobbies include reading, gardening, cooking, spending time with my dad, family, and friends. I have so many memories of my childhood with my mom, but these thoughts are a special way to wish my mom a Happy Mother’s Day!!!
One of my mother’s favorite hobbies is reading books. So mom, here is one of the best books you have ever read. Each of us has entered my mother’s book in a different chapter—some long ago, some more recently—but we are, nevertheless, all part of a story that began in Brooklyn, NY and to the present in St. James, Long Island where she and my dad resides.
My mom was a teacher by profession and as they say chief, cook, and bottle washer. She did it all. Took care of three children, ran a home, worked, and there was always a hot meal on the table at night for dinner. On Sundays, church was always the top priority as the whole family would go to Mass together. Sunday was not only for church but for family. We always had grandparents, friends, and relatives to share in our Sunday dinner. The table had to be set just so, with the proper placement of forks, spoons, and knives. A typical Italian Sunday meal was centered on pasta (macaroni or mac’s for short we would call it) and meatballs as a first dish and then came the entrée with all the trimmings. After every one was almost busting out of their clothes came the coffee, demitasse, (Italian black coffee) tea, fruit, nuts, figs, and all the decadent desserts. We of course do not eat like that anymore, thank goodness or we will have to be rolled out of the house. Things were different then. Both my parents are my heroes. They not only share their love of family and food but also their faith in God. No matter what life brings, they taught me to be strong and know that family and God are always there with love and support.
The end of this story is not yet written, so we will refrain from speculation, but suffice it to say that we will be eagerly awaiting the sequel on Mother’s Day next year. But as we reflect today upon the time we all have to give with our mother, however long or short, we are reminded that our connections with one another constitute our greatest blessing. To that end, let us celebrate times shared, advice given and sought, wisdom imparted, stories remembered, and the joy of life. Thank you mom, May there be many more chapters to come….
Love your daughter, Dottie :)
*Permission for photo by Dottie Balin
This story was originally published 5/12/13