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November 20, 2015     Post-Gazette
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November 20, 2015

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PAGE 4 POST-GAZETTE, NOVEMBER 20, 2015 T L'Anno BeUo: A Year in Italian Folklore The Food that Makes the Feast by Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz me of my paternal grandmother making the noodles on an old- bySal Giarratani fashioned crank instrument What is i-t about the winter stacks of worn cookbooks with that makes us turn to feasts hand-written recipes. Within of delicious food? Everywhere I those cookbooks, I find much turn, I see abundant reminders loved Italian recipes like struf- of Thanksgiving, from corn- full, or small honey balls for husks decorating lampposts Christmas; and taralli, pretzel- to overfilled supermarkets, like biscuits flavored with fen- Magazines feature succulent, net. Though I grew up watching briny turkeys on their covers, both my mother and grand- Slices of pumpkin pie, replete mother cook, I did not develop with a doUop of whipped cream, my own true passion for the make their way towards tables kitchen until college. That was across the nation. Cooks debate when I started collecting issues over what exactly constitutes of Taste of Home magazine and a perfect stuffing, or whether marveling over the pictures cranberry sauce should be and stories that accompanied jellied or more like a chutney, each recipe. Nowadays, I am Yes, with Thanksgiving ap- always making something, and proaching, my mind invariably my true love is baking. I believe turns to the delectable dishes that my kitchen, with its warm that characterize the holiday, yellow light and its small nooks This is the time of year, after all, and crannies, forms the cozi- when we need that extra suste- est space to be in the dark and nance that feasting can provide, rainy evenings of late fall. When The nights are darker and the I pull a cake or a batch of cook- air is chilly with cloudy skies ies from the oven, the warmth that promise snowflakes. Feasts envelopes me like a hug. During like Thanksgiving provide us the autumn, these metaphorical with the opportunity to honor hugs smell like the fruit of the the harvest of the season that harvest-- rich pumpkin, tangy just ended, and to gather with apples, and zesty spices. our family and friends to form Thanksgiving is the supreme a barrier against the cold. This food holiday of the year, and I Thanksgiving, I will honor my put my cooking hobby to full love for cooking while continu- use. Everyone in my family con- ing to be thankflfl for the loved tributes a dish to the Thanks- ones that surround me. giving feast, and my two con- Cooking has always formed tributions are a pumpkin swirl an integral part of my family cheesecake with a gingersnap life. My mother is famous for crust and a salad with apples, several recipes, including her cranberries and blue cheese. potato croquettes, which have What makes the food so special, a crispy exterior and are soft however, are the stories behind like mashed potatoes on the each recipe. Whenever I see my inside; and her orecchiette with mother's sweet potato casserole broccoli rabe and just enough with a pecan-brown sugar top- crushed red pepper flakes to ping, I remember how we pored give a subtle kick. She learned over many recipes in magazines cooking from her grandmother, and online before we found the my Nonna, who still keeps perfect one. Spaghetti reminds ./ . .~.-/-9 .~. ~ =.'qz. ! I ........ -cA NO END I known as la chitarra, popular We Are Aft France Now in her home region of Abruzzi What happened last week in Paris, France, is probably just in Italy. My husband loves the the beginning of a new ISIS strategy to scare the hell out of the gingersnap cookies that formEuropean Union. They showed clearly that they can strike anyone, the crust of my cheesecake, anytime and anywhere. and will eat them out of theThis is a war and has been for some time. It is more than the box before I remind him to save Islamic State and more than a Syrian-Iraqi caliphate. Radical Islam some. Meanwhile, my aunt's is about a world caliphate. appropriately named Pilgrim We have a president who has trouble recognizing the threat for Pie, an apple cake with a thick what it is. He keeps talking about the Muslim faith being a religion crust, has garnered somewhatof peace. With France, he stated, it was an attack on all people of a cult following in my fam- in the world. Clearly, he believes this, but more likely the rest of ily. It truly is the family atmo- us see it for what it really is. Radical Islamists are Muslims and sphere that makes these foods believe the Koran allows their reign of terror. so memorable. If I had a table Watching President Obama's press conference at the summit with all of these delicious treats, of nations in Turkey earlier this week made me sick. He clearly but no one to share them with, thinks his policies are working, but who are we to believe him or any sense of magic would be his lyin' eyes. Whoa! I think President Obama actually believes lost. The food of Thanksgiving the drivel he is trying to sell us. symbolizes so much more thanWe have not contained the power of evil from religious extrem- a meal -- it is the laughter and ists within Islam. They roam at will. The greatest danger we face funny anecdotes shared around is the massive denial of the progressive liberals running around the table, it is the passing of pretending things aren't as bad as they seem. tradition from one generation They are right, things are far, far worse than they seem and to the next. we have politicians in Washington living in the neighborhood of This Thanksgiving I plan to be make-believe. extra grateful for the blessings No wonder Donald Trump's numbers keep going higher and in my life: the ability to enjoy higher. His latest poll numbers show 42 percent support for food and the loving family that Trump. Obviously, he is resonating with many voters in this surrounds me. So many people nation. He says it like it is and isn't in the tank for anyone. out there will be hungry and Will ISIS strike again and soon? Maybe. However, surely the at- alone this holiday, and they tack on Paris looks like the beginning of a new and deadly deserve our help. Donate food move on the part of Radical Islam to bring the war to Europe and items or coats to a charity, and the West. spread the true meaning of the Our president says accepting refugees from Syria is still on the holiday to those in need. As books and he promises all will be vetted before coming to America. winter descends upon us and Does anyone believe a word he says anymore? early nights cloak the world, America is a target, too. Let us not forget September 11,2001. It everyone should have the op- can happen again here and elsewhere in the world. The war is on. portunity to relish the security They declared it. Two sides, Radical Islam and Western Civilization. of a safe home, a special meal, When I was in grade school, the nuns taught us about the Cru- and a network of support. Each sades. Back before the history revisionists took over our history ingredient1 put into a dish this books, the Pope and Crusaders were the good guys. The more I Thanksgiving will be a reminder look at current events dripping in blood, the more I think the nuns of the joy and cheer that charac- in grade school had it right. terizes the holiday season, traits Peace is always elusive. Sometimes we think we see it on the which we should be mindful to horizon and then it vanishes as quickly as it appeared. pass along as the year goes on. It is too bad that we can't learn from history. It is too bad So on Thanksgiving, enjoy your that humanity's history is filled with many wars and few peace feast and count each and every conferences. one of your blessings, for they Today we stand on the mountaintop looking at hateful events. are truly the nourishment that Everywhere, near and far, we hear leaders talking about doing the bolsters this holiday, right thing and watch others do the wrong thing. Happy Thanksgiving! As a former police officer, one of my favorite saints is St. Michael Ally Di Censo Symynkywicz is the Archangel. Defending us in our battles with evil which roams a Graduate Student in History throughout the world. at the University of Massachu- I pray to him much more now than ever before. setts Boston. She appreciates any comments and suggestions about Italian holidays and folk- lore at Quality Printing for all your Commercial and Personal Needs Stationery * Business Cards * Menus * Flyers program Books * Wedding and Party Invitations Announcements * Business Forms and Documents m COMPETITIVE PRICES The POST-GAZETTE newspaper is a paper of general circulation. We are qualified to accept legal notices from any court in each town that we serve, For information on placing a Legal Notice in the POST-GAZENE, please call (617) 227-8929; or mail notice to: POST-GAZEI-IE P.O. 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