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October 17, 2014     Post-Gazette
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October 17, 2014

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Page 4 POST-GAZE'n'E, OCTOBER 17, 2014 L'Anne Bello: A Year in Italian Folklore The Great Pumpkin by Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz Whenever I think of au- tumn in New England, many beautiful images enter my mind: colorful leaves shining on wet pavement, mist hov- ering over fields laden with wheat, crisp and cool air mingling with bright sun- shine. And then, of course, there is the pumpkin. Pump- kins are the quintessential fall staple, a harbinger of the season. Many autumnal decorations feature orange pumpkins standing proudly next to stalks of wheat or spilling out of cornucopias. The introduction of pumpkin lattes in coffee shops heralds the beginning of fall for many people, and these delectable drinks help us weather the chill days to come. Pumpkins are even associated with the two major holidays of au- tumn, whether they are be- ing used as jack-o-lanterns during Halloween or made into a creamy pie for Thanks- giving. I love cooking with pumpkin during the au- tumn, and around October cans of Libby's 100% pump- kin puree become a regular item on my shopping lists. The pumpkin has long served as a cornerstone of American folklore and tradi- tion, but this gourd is so as- sociated with autumnal de- light that it is well-known across the ocean in Italy as well. Far before any Europeans set foot on North America, pumpkins were an important and respected crop among several Native American tribes. They used the pump- kin, including its seeds, for both culinary and medicinal purposes. When European merchants brought pump- kins back to their home- lands, the gourd quickly en- tered the dishes and the folk- lore of many cultures there. In the French fairy tale Cinderella, for example, the title characters magical god- mother changes a pumpkin into a horse-drawn carriage to take Cinderella to the pal- ace ball. Sometimes, Euro- pearl folklore made its way to America and became at- tached to pumpkins. When t.he Irish began immigrating to the United States in large numbers in the 1840s, they brought along with them a number of customs that shaped our modern Hallow- een. In Ireland, farmers would carve out turnips on Halloween and stick a candle in them to frighten off evil spirits believed to be wander- ing about on that night. As this custom spread in America, the larger and more easily carved pumpkin re- placed turnips. Pumpkins even became associated with crazy superstitions, and it was once believed that pump- kins could eliminate freckles and cure snakebite! The rich folklore surrounding pump- kins contributed to the fruit's (and yes, pumpkins are fruit!) popularity in American holi- days and cuisine. The pumpkin is a beloved ingredient in Italy as well, where it is known as zucca. While pumpkins feature prominently in American desserts, Italians prefer pumpkin, in savory forms. Pumpkin ravioli and pump- kin tortellini are popular Ital- ian dishes, especially when paired with a sage-cream sauce. Though I myself en- joy pumpkin more in des- serts, I am particularly fond of a savory dish I make ev- ery St. Martin's Day {Novem- ber 11) -- pumpkin gnocchi with a browned butter sauce. Creamy and delectable, these gnocchi actually taste like fall, and they make the kitchen smell like the sea- son as well with their aro- matic blend of nutmeg and sage. I also make a cream cheese and pumpkin bread for Halloween that never lasts very long around my house, and a pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust for Thanksgiving. This year, I am excited to experiment with a pumpkin-chocolate chip cake, pumpkin cookies and pumpkin custard. To honor my Italian roots, I will also search for more recipes that incorporate pumpkin into pasta dishes. No matter how it is cooked, pumpkin reminds me of the warmth and coziness that autumn brings. Its association with festivities conjures memo- ries of families sitting to- gether around a bountiful table, sharing much laugh- ter and love. For those rea- sons, along with its excellent versatility in the kitchen, pumpkin has become an in- dispensable part of my au- tumn traditions. Nothing can fill me more with the excitement of fall {Continued on Page 14) The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) Invite you to attend the third public meeting on the CENTRAL ARTERY RAMP PARCEL STUDY Wednesday, October 29, 2014 6-8 PM at the BRA (Boston City Hall, 9th Floor, BRA Board Room) MassDOT is required to consider options for covering the open ramp portions of Central Artery/Tunnel Parcels 6, 12 and 18 along the Rose Kennedy Greenway, resulting from environmental commitments made as part of the Central Artery/Tunnel project. MassDOT and BRA officials are continuing to study options to define potential cover alternatives and are planning a follow up from the recently held second public meeting that took place on September 30th. At this next public meeting, staff from MassDOT and the BRA, along with their consultant team will invite the public to actively participate in a workshop to provide input and feedback to the Team on potential Ramp Parcel alternatives. We would like to invite interested parties to attend and participate in defining possible solutions. Visit our project website at If you have any specific questions, please contact: John Romano Legislative Liaison, MassDOT email: Lauren N. Shurtleff Senior Planner, BRA emaih This meeting space is accessible to people with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation (such as American Sign Language Interpreters, assistive listening devices, handouts in alternate formats, etc.) and/or language assistance to fully participate, please contact John Romano at MassDOT at 857-368-8905 or before October 20th. Such accommodations will be provided free of charge. by Sal Giarratani .t f "~'/"W"~-'~"~'~%*~I 4 ........ -~ A God Bless The USA I love Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" because it speaks to America today and the challenges it faces both at home and abroad. Lately, I am reminded of that infamous quote from Vice President Dan Quayle, "The mind is a terrible thing to lose." I feel that the America I was brought up in no longer exists, as we become unre- sponsive to the values that made our nation a special nation, set apart from all others. Our founding fathers created a completely new concept in self-rule. Here in America. unlike the rest of the world back in 1776, the people were sovereign. All power rose up from them. No one else believed in this radical idea. Over the years as our fed- eral government grew" it seemed to have forgotten its birthright. Today. Washing- ton, DC rules over the nation in a relationship with the 50 states that seems to mirror the unhealthy relationship between the American colo- nies and the British Crown Sovereignty has slowly moved into the hands of the governors rather than the governed. We have a president who acts with imperial authority. We have a Congress too afraid to stand up for itself as an equal branch of govern- ment. We have a judiciary seemingly intent on legislat- ing law rather than safe- guarding the unalienable rights of the people. Many conservative talk show hosts say we are living in post-Constitutional America. Many others be- lieve that by the recent U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to intervene when it comes to state laws on same sex marriage, actually by its inaction, declared gay mar- riage legal in 30 states. The cou/atry, the nation, the society is in trouble as new values push old values aside creating civil unrest between people. The whole concept of federalism, an important component of our Constitution has now been ripped apart. We look around and see our national leaders creat- ing conflict everywhere and much fear too. Between Ebola and ISIS and the in- ability of our leaders to lead, we wonder are we losing it and losing our mind as Dan Quayle once said in that above quote. Today, while Republicans and Democrats rip each other apart, the people see barbarism running amuck over in Iraq. We see behead- ing in Oklahoma. We see a president in denial about the threats. Then of course, we see the "in the tank media" stirring the pot even more. The lat- est stirring over the death of Thomas Duncan, the first Ebola patient who entered this country under false pre- tenses on a commercial air- liner. He died and now CNN, Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Duncan family are blaming the death on racism. This is a despicable charge. Seems the liberal media is putting fuel on the fire and could lead to loud protests from the illegal Liberian community in Texas ala Ferguson. It is time for the race baiters and race hustlers to take a hike. America recently lost its status as the largesi economy in the world to China. We seem naive when it comes to airstrikes alone taking out a powerful ground game by ISIS fighters. We see the Kurds losing on the ground near the Turkey-Syr ian border. We see Turkey sitting on its hands as a member of the U.S.-led coa lition forces Closer to home, we fear the spread of Ebola while the U.S continues to allow commer- cial flights from West Africa to America. We can't restric: a disease when our border~ remain open to the disease' flying into our airports. America needs to be America again and become a world leader and not a fol- lower. America needs to re- member its revolutionary roots and set the agenda. We need a president who tells it like it is rather than as he wishes it to be. Radical Islam is a clear and present dan- ger to America and the world. Ebola is a clear and present disease that must be stopped before we have an- other Black Plague on our hands. The American people are good and generous people, but we are not saps. We need to believe in our government and its leaders, but actions most often speak louder than words from a podium. Many of us are getting more dis- trustful of those who lead us and that bodes ill for America. None of what I stated here is about conservative versus liberal ideology. It is time for all ideologues to see things as they actually are and do something constructive for the American future. Wasting time fighting each other means less time fighting to correct what is going wrong in America. It isn't ISIS, it isn't Ebola, it is us. We need to step up to the plate and become active citi- zens, because we get the gov- ernment most often that we deserve. Don't we deserve better right now? The Federal Trade Commission works for the consumer to prevent fraud and deception. or log on to