Italian Americans: New Country, New Identity. As the granddaughter of immigrants, I grew up in the shadow of stories not freely told – not fully understanding the suffering and sacrifices that came before. We were Americans, that was all we needed to know – that was all my grandparents wanted for us. Struggling to assimilate in the New World while holding on to their traditions strengthened the primacy and power of the family. Putting food on the table for the family led to the creation of a new immigrant cuisine utilizing old favorite recipes with the addition of new locally available ingredients.
Italian-Americans: Dreams, Courage and Determination. There is much to tell about the Italian American experience as we reflect on their contributions and accomplishments during Italian American Heritage Month. Although they endured years of discrimination, Italian immigrants proudly helped build the America we know today.Not the least of their accomplishments was the creation of a new Italian-American cuisine that has become highly influential in the American diet. This week’s menu will feature “Italian” dishes that originated in the US, paired with a wine made in Sonoma, CA by the descendants of one of the original Italian wineries in the US.
Vino - Flavors of the Harvest. There are few things that unite all Italians like the harvest of grapes. The decision of when is the right time to begin harvesting is determined by the ripeness of the grape and the state of the weather – usually in August for whites and September/October for the reds. This is the time for annual wine festivals, tours, and tastings in every grape growing region of Italy. This week’s menu celebrates the grape and its juice both in the glass and in savory authentic recipes.
Verona – Love, Opera and Valpolicella. When traveling romantics make the pilgrimage to Verona to view Juliet’s balcony, they are pleasantly surprised to discover that the city is much more than feuding families and wayward lovers. Among other sites, an ancient Roman operatic amphitheater sets that stage to experience Verona’s exquisite food and world-famous wines. We will enrich the experience by rediscovering Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet; “the most exciting film of Shakespeare ever made.” (Roger Ebert)
The Wheat Harvest: Hard work, good food and allegria!Another fun week of stories from living in the countryside in Tuscany -- this time around the yearly wheat threshing festivals. You worked hard together, but then were always rewarded with an amazing meal -- on tables set up in the middle of the fields. This week's menu is the one that the Chef ate all those years ago in the fields after a long day's work with her neighboring farmers.