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Posts Tagged ‘Vacation’

Carol, Mom and Me

As you may already know, La mia famiglia (both my husband and I) e’ italiano!!! We have great tradition in our home. Our girls Giovanna and Rosaria have come to terms with being italian. I use to think…  well we never really watched the Soprano’s but we have spent many holidays with my family and my in-laws, so my girls have a good idea of what life was suppose to be like, ya know .  They always enjoy when Grandma Theresa is home on Sundays,  the never-ending meal( that comes after mass of course) and the great deserts that end our day late in the evening.  When we get together its always chaos and there is always laughter, a story or two and a huge meal.

Cuisine is definitely a very important aspect of Italian culture. Italian food is highly famed: greatly loved and tirelessly imitated the world over, it has been a source of endless pleasure. My mother (aka Mother Theresa)  as everyone knows is a great influence on our whole family especially when it comes to The Sunday Dinner.

Here is a little excerpt from my darling niece Lauren’s blog about my mother,  her grandmother, daughter to my sister, my mothers other daughter from the same mother (did you follow that??)  which is just hysterical, (dinner at my house with Mother Theresa and Lauren Summer of 2010):

Lauren Mom and I

“This lady could out cook, clean and guilt you into submission before you even had a chance to move! Martha Stewart wishes she was half the lady my grammy is! This past sunday we had “Sunday Dinner” at my Aunt’s house.  For all you non-Italians out there that means you settle in for a 5 hour, non-stop eat and yenta-fest! Husbands beware! We began the meal with a fresh zucchini and black olive pizza, followed by a spinach and artichoke dip with garlic herb pita bread (and yes these are all homemade, nothing store-bought or frozen here!) then we had some grilled pineapples and peaches with balsamic vinegar. Oh, I’m sorry, did you think that was it? Ha! That was just the appetizers!

After a light respite from eating and a short dip in the pool and a nap for Gram(we ate outside and after 2 hours who couldn’t slip right into a food coma?) it was time for the main courses! Eggplant Parmesan, grilled corn on the cob, fresh garlic and cheese sausage and salad. Now comes the good stuff! Coffee and pastry from Villa Italia!

My grandmother’s favorite is the chocolate cannoli and a little bit Sfogliatel. I guess I inherited my sweet tooth from her! It musta been at the Nutatella sandwiches! And yes, I know it’s Nutella but at 15 when I tried to tell Theresa that, (after finally reading it on the label) she replied, “yeah, that’s what I said Nutatella!”  And really, who could argue with that!”

That’s my mom!! She is always tired, and always has an ache somewhere, she has been old since she was in her 40’s. We use to hear her coming up the stairs in our third floor apartment in Brooklyn, she was like a train.. “oh, ahh, oh mio dio”, and the ever popular ” oy”, but whatever she cooked our hearts would quite simply glow!

Italian cookery is exceptionally varied, nutritious and healthy; traditions have been handed down from one family to the next over the centuries, and are associated mainly with country life in that dishes are directly linked to what the Earth produces over the changing seasons: in other words, wholesome cooking whose goodness depends on all-natural ingredients. Italian cooking is full of marvellous single pasta dishes made with all types of vegetables and pulses. These are also the prime ingredients for many local specialities though countless types of meat dishes abound, as well as fine fish from the plentiful seas around the peninsula, fragrant cheeses and exceptional desserts. But the undisputed star of Italian dining is the famous “first course”, in all its many varieties.

It must always be remembered that generally speaking, the origins of the most widely known traditional dishes derive from humble peasant cooking and from what was eaten by the poorer classes, which over the years have transformed into veritable “specialities”. All of this goes to show that the goodness of any dish depends above all on the magical combination (always “unique”) achieved through an unrepeatable fusion of flavours and aroma, cooking times and the balancing of single ingredients, individual “creative” skills and care taken over all stages of preparation. We lived in Brooklyn where we had every ingredient at our finger tips,herbs on the fire escape, fresh vegetables, fish and of course Joe and Tony’s  the butcher on the corner of  Gates Avenue where any cut of meat or mutton was available (even the lamb’s head!).  The stories of my Great Aunt Katie, the lamb in the basement, the chickens on the fire escape and the wine make from the grapes in the yard, we will save for another time.  At times all that’s needed in italian cookery is a single detail or a tiny touch to transform an ordinary dish by “normal” standards into a veritable triumph of taste. Passion therefore is a fundamental requisite of Italian cooking and without it, as with life in general, not much can be achieved.

I will end here for now. Enjoy the Classics and invent some new ones with your family, Cioa for now!

XOXO

M

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My Girlies

My Girls

My husband travels during the week and it is usually impossible for him to travel with us on spring break trips and over school holidays. As the children get older and school vacation schedules become more difficult to coordinate, I thought about taking the girls on a mother daughter trip. I hope these trips will become a tradition and some of my daughters’ most treasured memories as they get older.  I think we will learn so much about each other and share wonderful times together.

I would think that advance planning is particularly important, this is something we are going to have to work on, planning is not easy with teenagers (Help Jill!! she is our oldest)and pretty good at planning outings, I’m sure she will have input and help plan our mother daughter trip.

Rosie, Jill, Giovanna

Here are a few ideas I’m thinking will work for planning a great mother/daughter bonding trip:

Something Short – for our first mother/daughter trip, I’m thinking we could start out by planning a weekend getaway or a relatively short day trip. Two of my girls are teenagers and just adore spending time with me! (of course that is an out-and-out lie!!) And we have an older daughter that has come home recently she is the bridge between the two younger ones and my husband and I. So…………where to start??

Choose The Right Place –  Pick something that is exciting for all of us. Selecting a destination where we can explore shared interests, create a schedule that will work for us, and possibly experience something new together. Making sure to involve my darling daughters in planning the trip and encouraging them to research ideas online. Spending time together in a new environment will hopefully bring out a shared spirit of adventure and discovery.

Budget In Advance – This can certainly be a factor when planning a trip with a teen especially my little princesses. We will have to have an honest discussion about money issues in advance rather than waiting until I have to say “no” to something my daughters want to do. Discussing things like accommodations, dining options, attractions, and shopping are a must!

Try to figure out a “Special Activity”– Including a special activity or event would make this mother/daughter trip particularly meaningful. This will have to be built around shared interests that will make memories or offer new perspectives on each other.  This might include seeing a live television show or Broadway play. My daughters love doing “girly” things,  so maybe mother/daughter spa treatments?? I will try to find out what would be an “amazing”  thing to do.

Don’t have any expectations– I would love to think that we will laugh and enjoy every moment together but honestly relationship issues will probably surface, and those heart-to-heart chats might never occur. That’s okay, I want to take it as comes and go with the flow. Despite the fact that I’m going with two hormonal teenagers this may be the best trip we have ever had.

Creating Memories – I would love to take a great camera with us, my daughter Giovanna is a great photographer and I think that we can create a great memory book to document our day or days. I know that Rosaria is not shy in front of a camera and  Jill is certainly photogenic.  I would treasure it forever.

Where to go what to do????

Choosing the right destination for our mother/daughter getaway is the most important part of the planning process. One of the interests we all share are horses the other is shopping and arts. So maybe NYC for a day or weekend of fun, shopping and a play???

NYC My Home – New York City has all the right stuff for a perfect mother/daughter getaway. I’m from Queens and we go home from time to time to visit family, but we always try to go into the city.  In Times Square, you can get half-price tickets for a Broadway play. I signed up for tickets to the Rachael Ray Show (not sure that will pan out) or we can take a movie location tour with On Location Tours, go shopping in SoHo, cruise by the Statue of Liberty with Circle Line or take a ride on “The Beast,” visit the Empire State Building and the Natural History Museum, go biking in Central Park, and so much more. If we plan on visiting a number of attractions, purchasing a New York City Citypass could save us a few dollars.

I think we have a plan, now to sell this to the girls…………….. Stay tuned, hopefully we will post some pictures!!!!

XOXO

M

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