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!


1 Response to “Food to Celebrate!”

  1. 1 lucia April 12, 2011 at 5:01 am

    Wow Caitlin!!
    this was a GREAT post!! loved it just like you said i would 😉
    wow!! Brava!!! and auguri alla nonna!! 90 anni sono un compleanno importante!

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