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November 18, 2016     Post-Gazette
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November 18, 2016

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PAGE 4 POST-GAZETrE, NOVEMBER 18, 2016 L'Anno BeUo: A Year in Italian Folklore The Food and Feast of Thanksgiving by Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz As November curls its golden glow around us, my mind wan- ders to images of Thanksgiv- ing, as vivid and fragrant as a perfectly seasoned stuffing. I think of pale sunlight painting patterns on the floor, shin- ing through the last orange leaves which stubbornly cling to otherwise bare branches. Memories of relatives bustling through a crowded kitchen carrying plates of steaming food fill me with the warmth of a hug, especially when I smile as I remember the peals of laughter ringing throughout the house. The buzz of cheer- hag crowds emanates from the sound of the Macy's Thanksgiv- ing Day Parade on television, occasionally interrupted by commercials featuring jingle bells and Santa's robust ho-ho- ho. Most of all, however, I can taste the explosion of flavors in my mouth from our delectable Thanksgiving dishes: creamy sweet potato, tart cranberries, a velvety pumpkin cheesecake. Thanksgiving remains one of my favorite holidays because it celebrates the very essence of togetherness, reveling in the pleasures of the home and hearth. My family's Thanks- giving combines Italian and American customs, resulting in a feast that honors the univer- sality of love and family. Food has always been an invaluable staple of Italian culture, and as such my fam- ily views Thanksgiving as the epitome of the primordial de- sire to share a meal. Every item on the menu is prepared with an abundant amount of thought and care -- yes, even my vegetarian Tofurkey, replete with its own gravy and wild rice stuffing. I always eagerly await my mother's sweet potato casserole, warm with autum- nal spices and topped with a crunchy streusel of brown sugar and pecans. I contribute my fresh New England-style salad made with crisp apples, blue cheese and cranberries, as well as a pumpkin cheesecake with a seasonally-appropriate gingersnap crust. My father-in- law provides a pecan pie with a silky chocolate bottom, while my grandmother would make heaping bowls of spaghetti homemade on a hand-cranked utensil known as a chitarra. No matter the food on the table, however, whether Italian or American, what proves most important is that we honor the bountiful harvest of the Earth. Thanksgiving occurs at the point of the year after the gathering of the harvest and withering away of vegetation; as such, it beckons us to en- joy the cozy warmth of family Turke in 2 sizes ( Turkey $131.95 P,us Tax ! II . o'le TurkeyS259.95 Plus Tax ! HomLrmade Stuffing, M sa hed Potatoes, Squash, Graw & Cra w Sauce ORDER AN ..... With Corn, Peas & Mushrooms or Butternut Pie Person WB Your 11m r mg Please Place Your Orders Before Tuesday, November Z2, 2016 Order by phone or Drop by "d - 282 Bennington Street, East Boston, MA 02128 ~ Fax 617-567-5150 - l:OOpm and friends, forming a barrier against the encroaching dark, cold winter. This symbolic con- notation compels me to believe that Thanksgiving should never be celebrated alone, but rather with others in a celebratory atmosphere, sharing in commu- nal feasting and unending love of family. The more the merrier on this most ritual of holidays[ Indeed, communal food-based festivals similar to Thanksgiving dot the Italian calendar during the autumn and winter. The most famous of these, St. Mar- tin's Day, occurred this past week on November 11% when Italian villages gathered for banquets featuring chestnuts, goose, and the year's new wine. Now that the Christmas season quickly approaches, Italians are busy in the kitchens or markets preparing delectable meals for the holiday gatherings and various saints' days that pep- per the months of November and December. These ritualistic celebrations and meal tap into the powerful desire not only to share strength and sustenance with the community, but also to maintain an irrevocable connec- tion to the traditions of the past. According to Italian-American author Helen Barolini in her book Festa, the most significant part of sharing food is the ritual behind it, the repeated customs and motifs that link it to larger, universal themes. Whenever I gather for a Thanksgiving feast, I sense a special kinship with my Italian ancestors of yore, who also congregated around a family table on cool, blustery days to pay homage to the last bounty the Earth bestowed on them before settling for its long winter nap. A tradition does not have to be intricate and fancy to remind us of our subconscious desires for love, gratitude and hope. For example, my husband and I sometimes go out for su- shi the day after Thanksgiving, a way of eating a light meal to counterbalance the excesses of the day before and to eschew the rampant commercialism of Black Friday. Honoring our traditions, no matter how small, simultaneously joins us to our past while imbuing our present with renewed meaning. There are many ways we can commemorate the importance of feasting and tradition this Thanksgiving- ways that last beyond the date of the holiday on November 24th. We should donate food to local charities and food banks, giving families in need the chance to partake in this festival of gratitude, to- getherness and love. We should relish the time we spend in the company of family and friends, ensuring that we fill the air with laughter and constantly remind each other of our mutual love. And fmally, we should all share food together, reveling in that highly symbolic act of com- munity and familiarity, an act which formed the backbone of our ancestors'lives and drives us forward with hope for the future. Happy Thanksgivingl Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz is a Graduate Student in History at the University of Massachu- setts Boston. She appreciates any comments and suggestions about Italian holidays and folk- lore at adicenso89@gmaiL com. by Sal Giarratani dt /( Post-Election Thoughts, How Did Trump Do It? There is so much to analyze with regard to what happened at the polls last week on Election Day. T me Magazine had already published an election special with Hillary Clinton's face on its cover, but quickly had to pull them back and do the one we all saw with Trump's face staring back at us. The pundits, the polls, and thepoliticians were all bushwhacked without a Bush in the race. To tell you the truth, I had absolutely no idea how it would all play out. We had two seriously flawed candidates running against each other like it was the Roller Derby. FBI Director James Comey threw an unexpected ball in from left field when he first re- opened the case on October 28% then again quickly closed it on November 6% The Democrats and Republicans were equally livid over what Comey did. Exit poll data by CNN showed that most voters picked their choices long before Comey started complicating things. I always thought there were hidden Trump voters who lied to pollsters. Biggest losers out there besides the Clinton campaign were all the know-it-all pundits, who simply got things so wrong. The media did a horrible job reporting on this presidential campaign. Instead of reporting, many looked like Clinton cheerleaders, which is not the job of the media. The worst example was MSNBC, which seemed so pro- Clinton; they all should have been doing their pontificating in raincoats and boots. I loved waking up at 2:30 am while the votes were still being tabulated. The bespectacled empty coat on MSNBC with his Electoral Map and pointer stick seemed beside himself as if he were waiting for an ambulance to take him to the ER. A week before, he was smirking on how Donald Trump was losing so badly. His map was all blue for Clinton, but at 2:30 am on early Wednesday morning, the map was mostly red. He kept using his pointer stick to show how Clinton could still snatch victory from defeat. Listening and watching him sounded like a skit on the Comedy Channel. He kept trying to convince himself, "If this happens here, that happens there. If Michigan does this, and don't forget Nevada, blah, blab, blah." I was feeling so bad for him, I wanted the ambulance to get their before he had a complete meltdown. I even heard that Rachel Maddow broke down in tears. This isn't how reporters are supposed to be reporting the news, but this is 2016 where anything goes. As far as these street protests taking place across the nation, even near us, the election is over, get over it, move on. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don't. Remember when the media asked Trump if he would respect the will of the people and he left them hanging in midair? They all attacked Trump for not saying he would. Many in the media also gave their opinions that if Trump lost, there could be blood in the streets from his supporters rioting. Today, we see marches protesting Trump's win, calling him vicious names and saying disgusting things like "F (deleted) Trump' or "Kill Trump." Places like CNN and MSNBC keep showing the protesters, but never criticize them. One media person said the marchers have a first amendment right to say anything vile they want. Of course they do, but the media doesn't have to pretend that blocking streets and screaming about overturning the election is a good thing, do they? This country remains divided, and much of the division stemmed from the rhetoric of both candidates and much more stemmed from a biased media out to elect their choice for America. That is the job of the American voters. The job now is for Donald Trump to begin bringing this country together after such a divisive election. We need to heal and work together. We need each other to make America One Again. Public Insurance Adjuster Since 1969 FOR ALL YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS AUTO HOMEOWNERS * TENANTS COMMERCIAL Experience makes the difference 209 BROADWAY, REVERE, MA 02151 Tel. 781.284.1100 Fax 781.284.2200 Free Parking Adjacent to Building