Summing Up Italian 393


Every region across the globe is responsible for appropriately defining and characterizing a unique culture in order to identify to an individual origin. Though large land bodies have its own societal traditions, such as countries and neighboring states, there can be less generalized cultures that are more closely tied to a smaller population. Food is an incredibly important aspect to the diversity of different cultures around the world and allows area specific dishes to be a significant part of a culture. The remarkable country of Italy has been blessed with several different cultures due to many reasons, including its geography and natural resources, therefore, countless traditional foods that the country is known for. This semester in Italian 393, I have learned a great deal of information regarding Italian cuisine and how it varies. I found many aspects to be fascinating, though I cannot say that I would appreciate every single dish discussed. The films viewed in class and the books read outside of class were an interesting connection, but did a wonderful job of connecting the food with the culture and gave a more in depth link to the course material. Italian 393 provided me with a more clear understanding of how strong the relationship is between food and culture. I sincerely believe that I have a changed view of Italian cuisine as well as a new outlook on atypical foods.

My past blogs are a true indication of what I have learned in this course and explain me likes and dislikes. Certain blog posts have also shown how I was able to tie the learned material regarding food with other aspects of Italian culture through film and literature. Finally, they have reflected how my views on Italian culture and food have progressed in a positive direction throughout the course. Thanks to Lucia and the specific course material, I believe that I have grown to appreciate the delicacies of other cultures.

My original interest in taking courses on Italian language and culture involved my heritage. But after I was unable to finish my Italian minor, I still believed that Italian 393 would still be a perfect course for me. The material covered by the course hits home as I was given the opportunity to learn about the lifestyles of my family. I am very used to hearing stories and how things were done back in Italy, but the course material confirmed the information and assured me that my relatives are not making things up!

I found this class to be one of the most interesting classes that I have taken during my college career because of the course material. Everything from the completely different styles of film to the obvious differences in foods, I was very excited to attend class every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. My favorite class topic definitely concerned the cheeses of the regions throughout Italy.  I thought it was interesting that my family is not the only ones that eat cheeses by itself at dinner. And also that my dad is not crazy for taking time to inspect the cheeses he picks out at our family market! I was also excited about learning about Italian wines because I am far from being a connoisseur and the rest of my extended family is very well informed about wines. Learning about DOC and DOCG in this class was awakening for me because I had previously been taught about this in another class, but the teacher did not explain and I did not understand. The labels indicating the authenticity and the types of wine helped me to understand. I was also very pleased to learn about the different, traditional Italian dishes that I was completely unaware of. Most of these were from the south and coast regions because my family is from the north. Most of the fish entrees were not ones that I have ever heard of, but if I can get Nonna to make them with me, I will surely give them a try! This semester I even tried calamari for my first time and became a huge fan! But not of the tentacle ones, just the round pretty looking ones!

In watching the different films in class, I was able to gain an understanding for the Italian culture. How influential food is in defining it. The food of Italy and its regions have individual specialties that lay a foundation for their culture. In “Facing Windows,” the food, baked goods in particular, represented a sort of affection and trust between the old man and young woman. Meanwhile a Russian soup, Ukah, represented infidelity, which could have several political meanings about the European nations and their characteristics. The books that we have read are also an obvious reflection of the strong connection between food and the Italian culture. Our blogs follow the story line of our “food bible” so that we can create our own story as our knowledge of Italian cuisine progressed.

In general, I believe that this class has broadened my perspective on Italian culture and foods, which also reminding me of my individual traditions of my own Italian American culture. I think that this class has taught me to be open to trying new foods, like fish and seafood. I have never cared to try fish, but in an earlier post I spoke about how I tried Chilean sea bass and it was delicious. I think that I will begin to expand my taste pallet and learn to enjoy a wider variety of foods that we have learned about in class because I do love food so much!

I am grateful for having the opportunity to enroll in Italian 393. I have been able to share my experiences with food and appreciate others experiences with them as well. I have learned about Italian culture and now understand how and why food lays a foundation for the societal traditions. This class has taught me to be more open to consuming other nationalities delicacies and I look forward to trying them. I highly recommend this class so that other students can have a window into Italian culture just as I have.


Food to Celebrate!


As I have mentioned in previous posts, my extended family is very strongly connected because we come together so often. I cannot recall a time that we have gotten together without having food present. I am not sure why this is and the only explanation that I can give is because of the association with food, family, and Italian culture. An obvious example is the traditional Italian foods that are specific to certain holidays in my family. La mia famiglia meno 6 o 7 persone al bel matrimonio di mia cugina:

The beginning of the year always welcomes a tin full of cookies from Nonna as a “Happy New Year” gift! My favorite ones are the cookies with raspberry and apricot jam smashed into the top of the nutty tasting cookie. When I was younger, my cousin, Brittany, and I would make the cookies with Nonna and it was our special time with her, but now that we are older, we don’t have time to do this.

Easter is always held at my Aunt Mary’s house and our 2:00PM dinner (that time of meal being called dinner, I will never understand) is unforgettably delicious! My favorite part of the meal are the twice baked potatoes because my favorite foods are anything and everything potato related. There is also a large chunk of ham that is carved up and I do not think that I have ever even tried it because it creeps me out! But the absolute best part of Easter dinner is the pasta (obviously). Easter is the one time of year that we get to enjoy tortellacci together as a family, unless you happen to stop over at Guido and Dirce’s for dinner and she has some fresh ones! As my Nonna turned 90 this year, we have all been trying to learn to make tortellacci, but every time that we try to meet up with her to learn, she already has them made! Either way, we are always very excited for the spinach and ricotta filled pasta at Easter!


Jump a head to Father’s Day in June, we all migrate to my cousin’s lake house in Lake Geneva in Wisconsin. They have a gorgeous, big house where we all love playing bocce in the lawn. The kids always lose because my dad and uncles are on a team at our bocce court at home with clay courts where Guido Galassini is quite the legend! And of course after a long day of bocce and boating, we all need to eat! Though my nonno is never given credit for cooking, his one claim to cuisine fame is his Italian sausage. I always like to grab the burnt ones because the crispy ones are my favorite.

About six months afterward, we definitely all come together for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. You will never catch me complaining about the bread crumb soup that Nonna makes on Christmas Eve, but “the goods” come on Christmas day. Before dinner is served, everyone fills up on the tortellini soup that we have been waiting ALL year for! When the fresh Parmesan that Nonna grates is set on the table, everyone’s eye light up! The kids always get to go first, which is the best rule that was ever created! Like I have said in earlier posts, my nonna makes thousands of little meat filled tortellini to feed all seventeen of her grandchildren, and her actual children too, if there are any left over! Christmas Eve Dinner!

Obviously, food plays a large role in the strong connection between my family from making and preparing the food together to actually enjoying every bite around the same table. It is a large part of my life, as is my family, and I cannot wait til I come to the point in my life where my own family all gathers to feast on Christmas dinner together.



Before jumping into the beverages that I consumed while on Spring Break, which I know Lucia is looking forward to, I wanted to talk a little bit about the meals that I have had this week and the significance of them. I have made my own meal only once, but I have eaten out several times to support a good cause.

I have to be brutally honest with you and explain how a hangover can make certain foods that much better. My boyfriend, Sean, and I had a little bit too much fun on Friday night and woke up around noon on Saturday extremely hungry! Thankfully, I had brought over some “homestyle” macaroni and cheese to bake earlier that week, so we got that in the oven about 5 minutes after brushing our teeth! We had heard from Sean’s roommates that is wasn’t very tasty, but boy did I disagree with him. Sean and I finished off the family sized package in less than ten minutes and I think I could have eaten more!

I am the Fundraising Director of an organization here at Purdue, called College Mentors for Kids and our main fundraising event is coming up this Sunday, April 10th. It is a 5k Walk-A-Thon that funds a large portion of the program that promotes higher education, community service, and culture and diversity to over 180 “at-risk” children in the Lafayette area through one-on-one mentoring by Purdue Students.  Each “Little Buddy” costs about one thousand dollars per semester so fundraising is incredibly important! In preparation for our event and to promote the Walk-A-Thon, I had decided to host a few Skip-A-Meals. As I am sure not everyone is familiar with these, I will contact a restaurant and for every person that mentions College Mentors for Kids, they will make a donation which is usually 20% of the customer’s total bill. On Wednesday, I had hosted a Skip-A-Meal at Puccini’s. The restaurant is always willing to help out so I felt as though I should have one there, even if I do not particularly believe their food is any where near authentic Italian food. I try to stay away from the “authentic” foods on the menu because I am aware of what they actually taste like and know that this is not real tortellini and is probably made by a machine and then frozen in the back! So I ordered a calzone, just cheese, bread, and my special ingredient, pineapple!  It was pretty good and I cannot wait to get a total of how much money that we raised this week from Puccini’s. Puccini’s Promotional Flier

Quick blurb about my Spring Break beverages in Miami, I have to say that I stuck with my typical drinks, nothing fancy, but I did try a few new things! Because it was my birthday over vacation, my friends bought me a few bottles of SKYY brand vodka because it is my absolute favorite! So I did spend a fair amount of time sipping on SKYY and cranberry drinks, but despite my terrible acid reflux, I gave a Bloody Mary a try.  I don’t think I will ever taste that spicy concoction ever again. I did try some new kinds of wheat beer and fell in love. I used to hate beer, but after tasting wheat ale, I vowed to try new beers! I even had a GREEN beer on St. Patrick’s Day!  Oh and I actually tasted coconut water for the first time! When I was leaving the pool at our resort, some men were gathering some mixer for the night. I stopped to chat with them and one of them climbed right on up the palm tree and snagged one for me to taste! I brought it up to the room and mixed it with some rum as the Miami natives had suggested. It was very interesting and delicious! I am so glad I was in the right place at the right time so that I got to taste it! So, I apologize, Lucia, for not having had any interesting drinks over Spring Break!

Being Too Aware of Food


The topic of food awareness can be taken in so many different directions. I could discuss how when I drink wine, I try to guess which fruits are in the wine to see if I can correctly identify they flavors and be aware of the ingredients or I could discuss about when cooking I try to be aware of what ingredients are still needed.

I could even write about the little knowledge most Americans have of the nutritional values for the food products on fast food restaurants’ menus. But for this blog post, I am going to go down a completely different road regarding food awareness and discuss something that I bet no one else in the class will have been through. To be very straight forward, two of my best friends (who happen to be sisters) had suffered from extremely severe eating disorders, both anorexia and bulimia nervosa, due to the amount of knowledge they had about food and what was going into their bodies when they eat.

It became so encompassing that both girls were removed from regular schooling and entered into one of the best clinics in the country. I am not going to discuss any of the details of what my friends went through what so ever, but I do want to share and bring to your attention the negative aspects of food awareness.

After visiting the amazing clinic to support the girls through their times of struggle, I became aware that there were no numerical values or numbers around and they most certainly were not discussed. The patients were not allowed to measure the amount of food that they were consuming or see the number of pounds that he or she weighed by stepping on a scale.  The diseases are often associated with obsession with numbers, so the removal from those amounts is crucial. These things were forbidden in order to help the patients cop and learn how to develop a healthy relationship with food.  Because of this long journey that I had to support two of my beautiful best friends through, I constantly wear a lavender ribbon on my jacket to signify eating disorder awareness and promote healthy relationships with food through understanding.


Over the past week and a half, I have had a plethora of experiences with foods ranging from great meals to wait staffs that moved as slow as manure. A birthday dinner at an upscale restaurant and a low key dinner cooked by my boyfriend varied greatly, but gave me a wide variety of food opportunities. A lunch over spring break in Miami started off as a quick meal and a few minutes out of the sun to a two hour and thirty minute ordeal due to the slow service. But a birthday dinner at home with my family more than made up for it when I was able to order the only tortellini that I will ever purchase from a restaurant.

Though I am used to extremely long meals with my family and large groups of people, at lunch on the boardwalk in Miami, I was became extremely impatient. I understand that a group of ten people might be somewhat frustrating and overwhelming for a wait staff, but due to the high amount of traffic in the area, being right on the beach and all, you’d expect this restaurant to have excellent service. After ordering nothing more than appetizers and a few of what most would consider mediocre cheese burgers, the manager took twenty percent off of my bill because of the two and a half hour wait to receive the bill, even though we had brought it to the waitresses attention multiple times. I also understand that it is possible that a restaurant may not regularly have Guinness, but on St. Patrick’s Day, Irish car bombs are fairly common.  I was not the one who ordered these drinks, nor did I plan on having one, but because the bartender had to run to a grocery store to get the beer, the wait was somehow justified. This lead me to believe that maybe, because I was in Florida, that the time is so severely slowed down and it is not uncommon for people to take their time, though I will ever be sure or understand why such poor service is acceptable.

My father picked me up from O’Hare Airport in Chicago when I landed and we went straight to dinner to meet my family to celebrate my birthday which was the day before. We went to a very nice Italian restaurant that is owned by my cousins, who are related somewhere down the line. There is a very high population of Italian immigrants in my hometown area, so we DO NOT have the “Olive Garden” or other restaurants like this that say they are Italian, but have their pasta made by machines and come out of freezers when time to thaw. This is one of the only restaurants where I will ever order tortellini soup!  The broth is a flavorful chicken broth, with tightly folded tortellini by the little old women in the kitchen. I order a large bowl as my antipasto, before my salad, and before my Veal Del Rio is served.  My father orders a Chilean sea bass that nearly evaporated in my mouth and I was left with a buttery sauce after taste. Before the sea bass and my mother’s entrée  came out, they both ordered a shrimp scampi appetizer and a salad, and rigatoni in a Bolognese sauce was served alongside their meal.  My younger brother ordered another family favorite which was hardly comparable to my nonna’s, nevertheless Del Rio is the only place where my family would actually order it, was tortellacci.  Our family typically stuffs our tortellacci with cheese and spinach, and then we finish it off with a heavy crème sauce that is full of flavor. Del Rio is a local restaurant that I recommend to anyone who is around the Chicago area and does not have a tight budget, as the food is very expensive, but given the quality and taste of the real, traditional Italian flavor, is worth it!

Food and Transgression


I believe that there is a reason for scheduling a “Food and Transgression” Blog Post to be due for the class right after viewing the Italian film, “I am Love” in class. There was an obvious connection between food and disobedience in the movie, which became a fairly strong theme of the film. Food, more or less, became the story line for the malfunctions in the film that ends up revealing the secrets of the family and their actions through a Russian soup that Emma prepares for her son Edo. Edo becomes aware of his mother’s affair with the chef Antonio when he is served a bowl of the rare fish soup. The clear broth with the chunks of a variety of fish in it was the link between Emma and Edo and Antonio all at the same time. This shows how some foods can be so specific to certain cultures that it can reveal the immoral actions of Edo’s mother, Emma, and one of his close friends, Antonio. I think that food and transgression can show through many themes in this movie. It shows how food and culture are so closely tied and also how food and class are connected because there is an obvious tie from poorer foods to more elegant foods. In this movie, these connections are clear because the Recchi family was able to afford not only a wait staff, but also a chef to prepare their meals and dinner parties. I think that it is very interesting to see the connections between food and different themes in movies and my fascination with this started sophomore year when I took Italian Cinema. This was a great class and challenged me, but I do recommend it to other students!



After reading the last email sent out with the recipes last week, I became very interested in one recipe in particular because it looked incredibly familiar. Lucia’s recipe for i passatelli seems to be exactly like a comfort food that I have become more than accustom to over the years. My family and I refer to this as “bread crumb soup” because we scramble an egg then add Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs, as well as other simple things like nutmeg. This is a very simple soup, but it is often difficult to get the proportions correct and because my nonna does not measure anything before she cooks it, I just have to guess when I make things! There are a few things that my family and I do differently at home as opposed to the recipe that was sent out. In stead of putting the mixture through any sort of tool, we mash everything up in the bowl and dump it right into the broth. Even though we do not do everything the same, we do end up with the same soup because my mixture ends up looking like mini gnocchi too. I love bread crumb soup and crave it frequently! The next time I make the soup, I will have to film it so that I can show you how I make it!

Bread Crumb Soup Recipe:

Because spring break is coming up very soon, there are many people thinking about food and whether or not they should be consuming what they are putting into their bodies. The “beach body” ( )covers thousands of magazines and living in a sorority house has taught me that it is very frequent that girls have concerns with food and how they look. Though I am not looking to skimp down thirty pounds before I leave for Miami on Saturday, I am being extra conscious of what I eat. This also ties into Lent starting this Wednesday because I will be giving up certain foods in order to sacrifice. For Lent, I will give up bagels, pizza, soda pop, and fast food. I do this because they are some of my favorite things to eat and I believe giving them up now will help me in the long run.  I think that I will be healthier for spring break to shed some of those unwanted pounds, but I believe that it is important to give up things that I care about for Lent.

Food for the Love Sick


Last Monday was Valentine’s Day, a holiday which I had never been to keen on even when I had someone to celebrate the holiday with. I’m not a bitter girl who thinks that it is a lame holiday created by Hallmark to sell candy, cards, and flowers, I have always just had terrible experiences. This year, things changed. Because of my boyfriend, Sean, and mine’s schedules, we had decided to make an intimate dinner for just the two of us the Saturday before Valentine’s Day to celebrate instead of going out and making a big to do. I was running late and Sean was getting hungry, so we decided to speed things up and change our menu around a little. By the time I had showered and made it to Sean’s apartment on the other side of campus, the potatoes were already boiling and only needed a few more minutes before they were ready for the smashing. While we were waiting to add the butter, milk, and sour cream were to the mashed potatoes, Sean and I sat down to open the first part of his present. So that we could easily make more dinners for us, I had gotten him a stove top grill that flips from flat for eggs and things to a griller for meats and vegetables. I thought it would be appropriate to give him that part of the present early so that we could use it to make our fillet mignon! We went back into the kitchen and finished up the potatoes and green beans, while the steaks were searing on the new grill top. We got out another pan and through half a batch of raw mushrooms in sizzling butter to throw on top of the steaks. I had never known this before, but the mushrooms that filled the pan before the heat had shrunk rapidly as they were simmering so we decided to throw the other half into the pan, but this time use olive oil instead. Needless to say, I preferred the mushrooms sitting in the butter! Maybe I had never previously known this because I always hated mushrooms, though I had never had one before. The first time I had mushrooms, I fell in love with this delicious brown rice dish that Sean’s mom made once and felt obligated to try, even though it was packed with mushrooms. Just as the steaks were pulled of the grill, I divided everything up onto two plates, giving Sean the larger portions. Both plates were completely packed when Sean told me to make some room for rice. My eyes lit up when he opened the oven to see two large bowls full of my new favorite food. Though I had really enjoyed the dish before, I was ecstatic to get the rice out of the oven and shovel it into my mouth. I loved the rice, not only because of how much I love food, but because he spent hours before I had come over preparing this dish that he knew I loved so much. He had completely surprised me and gave me the best Valentine’s Day celebration dinner I could have ever asked for because of the amount of thought, effort, and love that he put into making the rice just to make me happy. Sometimes I don’t know if he realizes how much more something like that means to me than a dinner downtown or a fancy gift. He means the world to me and I know that Blog Post #3 was supposed to be the “Food and Love” Blog, but I thought that I would share my first Valentine’s Day experience that I truly enjoyed that can be accredited to the food that was involved.


Though I will probably never be given the recipe for Sean’s mom’s infamous rice dish, I found a recipe that could resemble the flavors of the dish that I love so much! Now you just have to find a significant other to put it all together for you to give you the best Valentine’s Day surprise anyone could ever get!

Read more about it at,1850,155165-232194,00.html
Content Copyright © 2011 – All rights reserved.
2 ribs celery with tops, chopped coarse
1 lg. onion, chopped coarse
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 c. butter
1 1/2 c. water
1 c. brown rice
1 can mushroom stems and pieces, undrained
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 chicken bouillon cubes
In large skillet, saute celery, onion and garlic in butter, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil, stirring to dissolve bouillon. Cover and steam over low heat without stirring 50 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Let stand covered 10 minutes before serving. Fluff rice lightly with fork. 4-6 servings.

The green beans from my dinner were a typical WHOLE green beans which I let simmer in their own juices from the can. Once they are heated and the juices being to boil, I strain the vegetables and put them back in the pot with a squirt or two of Italian Dressing to give them a little flavor. My mom has done this since I was little, probably because that was the only way she could get my siblings and I to eat the ugly, string beans, but even still, I cannot eat them without that extra little flavoring.

Another little secret that my family has always done is the sour cream in the mashed potatoes to keep them light and fluffy. Mia nonna has always done this and when my mom was learning to cook, she stole the idea! This summer in London, I often made mashed potatoes because they were cheap and filling in the most expensive city in the world and I did not want to purchase the sour cream because it would expire. Those potatoes were never as satisfying or as tasteful as they are when they do have the extra ingredient.

Sauteing the mushrooms in butter and then later in oil (when we realized we were going to need more) was interesting because we got to taste the difference between the two. There was definitely a richer flavor with those that were cooked in butter than the rest that were simmering in olive oil. We decided to try the two different oils just to experiment, and because Sean was running low on butter! It ended up being a good thing that I got olive oil previously to put on pasta!

So even though this was supposed to be a blog about food and sickness, I wanted to talk about the fantastic meal that I had with my fantastic boyfriend, Sean. I also wanted to include this funny picture of me when I could not eat any food because I had just had my wisdom teeth removed! I lived off of strawberry popsicles and later pastina and broth!

…Yes, those are giant ice packs on my face!

I also wanted to quickly comment on something Lucia said in class. She had mentioned something about going to dinner at other people’s houses and how people will be wined and dined with a full meal, including cheese as a course. When I was younger and my friends would come over for play dates and stay for dinner, the outsiders were usually thrown off because we always had a large block of cheese just sitting on the table. I never thought it was weird, but I guess that was because I was accustomed to it as my grandparents and cousins always had cheese out on the table as well. My nonno always took great pride in his cheese; he would leave it to age for two weeks before it was set out to be eaten. He leaves the cheese in a large extra fridge in the basement and after one week, he flips the cheese that will sit for another week. We always have a cheese plate with brick cheese and a knife on the side to cut up the cheese with dinner. It is always clear when Nonno comes for dinner because he is terrible at cutting the cheese and does not make a straight cut across the top! It always makes us laugh! I just wanted to take a minute and comment on the cheese with dinner idea that Lucia addressed in class because I found it to be so normal, and I understand that most people do not!

This is my nonno, who is so incredibly passionate about his cheese! My sister and I are in this picture with my nonno, Guido, at my cousin’s wedding. People will laugh at me when I tell them that my grandpa’s name is Guido because of the stereotypes that Americans hold that surrounds the Italian stereotype of a man named Guido!

As far as actual food that makes me sick goes, my list is endless. Other than the fact that I am an extremely picky eater! I eat with my eyes and am a very texture-oriented eater, but I also have issues with acid reflux and heartburn. I basically have holes in my throat where it connects to my stomach so I constantly have issues with acid coming back up into my mouth when I eat certain things, . Very spicy things will most definitely trigger my acid reflux, but so do more simple things that most people do not worry about, like ketchup and foods that are spiced with pepper. Nearly everything will cause heartburn so I have to take medicine twice a day at least one and a half  hours before I can eat. This is very annoying and causes serious pain, there are even times when I have to throw up just for the pain to go away. Every two years I have to have surgery on my throat which is very unfortunate considering I am so young. This problem makes things much more difficult because of the amount of attention that I have to give to the food being put into my body. I would add some pictures to this paragraph, but I am not sure you would like to see what it is like to have hiatal hernia, so I thought I would simply include links so that you can decide whether or not you want to have a look!,r:7,s:21&tx=42&ty=61&biw=1280&bih=584,,zm2374,00.html&usg=__YnC0Q0hCWr6ypOGhkWH_lUca_vc=&h=300&w=460&sz=39&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=0ObBvwcac8tkiM:&tbnh=106&tbnw=163&ei=lZVlTYXKMI-btwe9-6irBg&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dhiatal%2Bhernia%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DX%26biw%3D1280%26bih%3D584%26tbs%3Disch:1%26prmd%3Divnsbl0%2C241&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=307&oei=lZVlTYXKMI-btwe9-6irBg&page=1&ndsp=21&ved=1t:429,r:14,s:0&tx=97&ty=105&biw=1280&bih=584\

Food, Love, and Lust

Blog Post #3

I think that there is a strong correlation between food and love; maybe not even just love, but also lust and a sexual desire. After watching the film in class, “Facing Windows,” I think that there was an obvious familial type of love between Simone (Davide) and Giovanna as he allowed her to make his world famous pastries with him and he shared something so precious with her. In the movie it clearly shows that the relationship between the lost old man and the young mother develops into a caring and endearing one and Simone decides to share his special talent with her. Another example from the movie where love and food draw parallels is between Giovanna and the sexy man in the window which is more of a lustful obsession rather than love. Not that food was exactly involved, but Lorenzo watching Giovanna washing the dishes after dinner lead to a sexual desire and lust for her. I think that “Facing Windows” had a good number of references about how food can be connected with love that can also be applied to everyday life. I believe that there are many women who could relate to the movie and the emotions that are able to develop through food. There are often love stories and movies where first kisses take place while preparing dinner and songs where the man sticks out the first year’s worth of meals that his new wife has cooked for him. I think that food can be a very sensual thing that can bring people together and create love.


As you know, I have written in the past about how living in a large sorority house, I am not able to cook my own food, but because my boyfriend lives in an apartment I am given the opportunity to cook. This past weekend we made chicken cutlets with a recipe that my nonna has been making since she was young. My boyfriend and I have been dating for a year and a half and now it is a lot of fun to prepare our meals together instead of just going out to dinner all of the time. It is nice that we get to work together to make something and the chicken cutlets were a perfect meal for it. We added peas and carrots into the breaded chicken in sauce which was great because my boyfriend, Sean, really likes peas for some odd reason, or so I thought he would! Making the chicken cutlets was interesting because when we would flip the chicken, the bread crumbs would come off, the grease would spit back at us and burn, or not everything would fit into the pan. But it was definitely an adventure and I look forward to making them again sometime. We added a little too much chicken stock though so the sauce was fairly thin. When I told my mom about this, she told me that I should have added flour to the liquid and it would thicken up. I think that is a very good idea and it made sense because I know that when my mom makes them, the sauce is always thicker and never runny which adds flavor to the chicken! Either way, I truly enjoy making dinner with him and think it is a wonderful way for us to spend time together.

This is a picture that I found on the internet of chicken cutlets that sort of look like what I make. Next time, I will have to be sure that I take a picture to upload here!



Though Sean does cook for me sometimes, but mostly, he reheats things in the microwave for me! I often like to cook with him anyway! I think it is a great thing to do together, especially because we cannot afford to go out to fancy dinners every night and have our meals prepared for us. It is always fun when we cook together. He always tells me that I am a messy cook, but if the food tastes good and I clean the stove afterward, I do not see what is wrong with being a little messy in the kitchen! In fact, I think it shows that I am not afraid to hold back and that I like to experiment while cooking because I do not have a cookbook to go by and I like trying things out for myself. Never the less, I have never seen my mom or my grandmothers (including Nonna) ever use a cookbook!

Cooking With Nonna


In the comments from my last post, Lucia had asked me what my favorite foods are; coincidentally they align with the topic for Blog Post #2: Food and Family. Being raised in a very northern Italian home, it was frequent that the women of my family, young and old, would gather at my nonna’s house to prepare meals for my large family. Growing up on foods like Pasta Prosciutto, Tortellini, Tortellacci, and Pasta Fritte has taught me to appreciate these foods that were not accepted my many of my friends when they came for dinner. And now being at school, so far away from a kitchen with any sort of homemade pasta, I crave the food constantly. I look forward to the holidays when my cousins and I pick up all of the old auties and take over my nonna’s kitchen, folding thousands of tiny tortellini. Our family all joins together and enjoys the soup which tastes that much better after taking the time to prepare it ourselves. My nonna cooks every night so when I am home on break and it is not the holidays, I will casually plan my visit to see Guido and Dirce right around the time she would be cooking up something delicious! As my nonna gets older, we worry about how we will carry on these traditional Italian foods; though we do much of the preparation, Nonna never trusts us enough to completely make the dough, and naturally none of her recipes are documented! Our family has recently merged with the largest Greek family in our Chicagoland area, and we are all very nervous to see what kinds of foods they are going to make us eat on our holidays all together!


This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to cook at my boyfriend’s apartment and I jumped on the idea! I was so excited to finally be able to cook something that would be catered to my likings as opposed to the food that is made for the masses at my sorority house. It was a different combination of food, but I was in the mood for mashed potatoes and pasta! My boyfriend and I decided to prepare some Parmesan chicken and dice it up to add to our pesto pasta. After using a fork to smash the potatoes, we finally enjoyed our dinner for two with a glass of wine. Now that I cook fairly regularly at my boyfriend’s apartment, I have decided to start purchasing kitchen tools so that I do not have to struggle trying to mash potatoes with a cheap fork! I went to Target with my mom when I was home a few weekends ago and got a potato masher. Even though Sean and I still do not have a mixer to completely remove the lumps from the mashed potatoes, they will be very tiny with the new masher! I was not thrilled with the pesto sauce, but it was not terrible for making it on my own for the first time! I have to say that I did cheat and used a preparation kit that I bought at my favorite Italian grocery store, called Poeta’s, but I decided I would still call it home made since everything that they sell is made by the owner’s sisters. I love going into the store and being able to grab a bag of tortellini’s knowing that they were not made by a machine! Ideally, I would like to have my nonna’s tortellini, but she is so old that now she only makes them on special occasions. So the old ladies at Poeta’s pasta is the next best thing! I am very excited to make dinner again, hopefully, next time will be fillet mignon and some more difficult foods considering we are becoming little chef’s now!



The lovely seven other ladies in the picture are some of my first cousins! We are all at my cousin Kristin’s (the tallest one next to Nonna) bridal shower! I had just gotten back from Europe the night before and three of my other female cousins could not attend because of work, school, and another was still studying abroad in Europe. My whole family lives within the same few towns around Chicago or they live in Italy, so it is always very exciting when we all get together. Kristin’s bridal shower was beautiful; it was on a golf course at her country club that was completely taken over by Italian women! I wish I had more pictures of my nonna to put on the blog, but I do not. The next time I go back home, I will dig up some old photos and scan them into the computer so that you can see them!

Can’t wait to show you what a lovely family I have!