Harvesting Green Gold: Olive Oil in Tuscany In was October 18, 1971…the day I fell in love with Italy. My fate was sealed that crisp autumn morning when I went to harvest olives for the first time. The moment they strapped that woven willow basket around my waist, I couldn’t wait to ascend into those silvery branches. The olive harvest is a unique opportunity to participate in an autumnal ritual that is essential to Italy’s agrarian and culinary culture. This week’s menu highlights the use of olive oil, exalts the flavors of the season and features some of the dishes you might find at an olive harvest feast.
Halloween with an Italian Accent. Halloween may not be so foreign to Italian culture as some might think. There are legends, rites and traditions around All Saints Day (Nov 1) and All Souls Day (Nov 2) that coincide with Halloween as we know it. This menu highlights Autumn's ingredients with a nod to regional specialties and a "spooky" Tuscan dessert. Although modern Halloween carries no sort of significant meaning for those in Italy, it is still a holiday that involves doing something all Italians love: celebrating.
Italian Americans: Assimilation and Perseverance. The Italian assimilation into the US was particularly difficult, marred by stereotypical images of unsavory people prone to criminality. Despite these depictions, Italians focused on building their American identities. Interestingly enough, it was through their food that Italians forced the rest of America to adjust. It was the Italian restaurants opened by immigrants here that changed and improved America’s understanding and appreciation of Italian culture. Once only available in their neighborhoods, Italian food has won its way into the hearts, minds and stomachs of all Americans. Here’s to another delicious week of featuring some of the most famous food from around the country!
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.