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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Italian American Grandchildren Understanding Their Culture

Anthony & Gianna
Yesterday, my nieces and nephew were eager to help my mother collect the ripe tomatoes off the plants my parents had growing separate from the garden. My mother had done it earlier and the kids went crazy, asking 'Nonna, why did you do that without us?' She had to think quick and tell them OK, we have the other plants you can collect from -- she saved the day otherwise there was going to be trouble. As I stood there watching and laughing at their enthusiasm, it made me so proud. They listen to every word my mother says, on how and which tomatoes to pick, the kids understand that growing your own garden is second nature and they know Nonna makes the most amazing tomato salad with the tomatoes and basil fresh from the garden. Sometimes, I think will my nieces and nephew have the same passions as Italian Americans like my siblings and I do? Today it's harder than ever to raise kids to know or even understand their background. We're so saturated with technology and lack of culture in suburbs or maybe even in the cities - there is an disengagement factor that happens and it's not on purpose. My nieces and nephews get their education straight from Nonna and Nonno, which I think is amazing. They know they're Italian American and they know my parents came from Italy. They understand the struggle and learn more about our traditions as they get older and become more aware of their identities. I'm so happy the kids get this pure exposure to their culture. Growing up Italian American can not be compared to anything else.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love it when my grandchildren notice something in my garden. The tomatoes are easiest to spot and know they mean something good. I am excited to have my grandchildren learn with me each year about growing a garden.

Lisa said...

I am so happy that we grew up Italian American.....however, it is sad because as my nephew and young cousins grow up today, their Italian culture is lost in modern day 21st century America.....the America where it is more important for digital communications than Sunday lunch with your extended family.

Margaret said...

LIsa, great comment, I totally agree.. it can be a challenge as so many of our traditions seem to fade.

Margaret said...

Italian Mama Chef sounds so beautiful.. as I know my mother loves when the kids notice anything..they make the world go round. Thank you for commenting!

Michael said...

Hopefully we don't lose pride in growing and producing food for ourselves because it really does allow us to appreciate our cuisine. I remember how valuable the time I spent with my grandfather in his garden was to me - it's important to pass these things on to future generations.

Maria said...

I lost my dad about 4 years ago and I miss his garden and the "goodie" delivery every year, but most of all I miss the tomatoes he grew. Yesterday at the Farmer's Market, I found an Italian gentleman selling tomatoes, so I bought some. I've bought them before from other vendors, but When I made my tomato salad that night, the flavor of it not only brought me back, but it brought tears to my eyes. I don't know what it is about Italians and they're tomatoes, they seem to have that special touch when growing them. Sono Magnifico!

me said...

love this post! It is so very important to teach our children about our Italian culture and to show appreciation for Nonna and Nonno and what we can learn from them.