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November 23, 2012     Post-Gazette
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November 23, 2012

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Page 4 -POST.GAZETTE, NOVEMBER 23, 2012 I have a confession to fiancd's house when his United States, its themes make: I am addicted to cook- father, an excellent cook of food and family prove by Sal Giarratani ....... books. I pore over recipes and a protdgd of Julia Child, timeless. When preparing a with as much attention as I use when I read novels or college texts. I love examin- ing the way ingredients come together or imagining the taste of a particular recipe or making detailed lists of when I would like to cook what. Most of all, how- ever, I relish reading the stories behind all the reci- pes. When I leaf through the stacks of Taste of Home magazines in my house, I always linger over the little blurbs written by contribu- tors describing the family was in the middle of pre- paring an elaborate dinner. I offered to help with the Brussels sprouts and he handed me a giant, spindly stalk of the vegetables still attached on the vine. I had a great time listening to crackling pop as I snapped each Brussels sprout off and tossed it into a platter. Now, these memories remain etched in my mind for their sense of fun and laughter more than the actual food; any mention of gnocchi or Brussels sprouts immedi- history of food or certain tra- ately transports me to these ditions. My favorite cook- recollections. People who books are the ones that include tidbits of folklore, humor and personal narra- tive along with mouthwa- tering recipes. These cook- books illustrate my basic philosophy of food: it is more than just something you have to consume in order to survive; rather, food unites people by providing everyone with a common bond. Food forms the backbone of tradi- tion, holidays and family and every recipe has a story writ- ten beneath its creases of dough or sprinkling of spices. Though I often rely on fro- zen meals and prepackaged mixes when time runs short, I am adamant in my belief that nothing is as comfort- ing or rewarding as a home- cooked meal. I feel saddened when I hear about people who revolve their lives around iced chunks of store-bought meals or who dismiss holi- day dinners as a nuisance, yet another excuse to call in for takeout. Some of my favorite memories center on cooking-related mishaps, triumphs or hectic prepara- tions, linked by the common thread of people congregat- ing together with the same goal of making the food taste as wonderful as pos- sible. I remember sitting in my honey-colored kitchen with my mother and fiancd, rolling homemade gnocchi dough in flour. My fianc6, who often mocks his igno- rance in all gastronomi- cal matters, patiently made sure his gnocchi were well- rounded and carefully spear- headed the effort of moving the gnocchi from the boiling water to the cooling dish. I also remember visiting my disregard the beauty of cook- ing deprive themselves of these communal pleasures. The mother of all food holidays, Thanksgiving, ap- proaches this week and no- where is the blend of cuisine and tradition more evident than around the Thanksgiv- ing table. The collective shar- ing of the turkey (or in my case, Tofurkey) elevates eat- ing to an almost mythic level and it is hard to allow any feelings of hatred or rancor to exist in a setting where relatives pass stuffing-around to each other or marvel at the goodness of a pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving also ush- ers in the holiday season when comfort and tradition prevails. My Thanksgivings have always consisted of a blend of Italian and American customs. My grandmother still churns out handmade spaghetti on an old-fash- ioned crank device similar to what is called the chitarra in Italy -- chitarra means guitar and the long threads of spaghetti are said to resemble the chords of a stringed instrument. How- ever, I also love the use of cranberries, that old New England staple, in pies, breads and in their dried simplicity. Food forms the crux of many conversations among my relatives during the Thanksgiving table as well. Once, while debating the best way to make corn- bread, my cousin's husband, who hails from the moun- tains of Virginia, introduced us to the softer Appalachian version of the dish known as spoon bread. Although Thanksgiving is a holiday which originated in 'the NEW LOCATION Richard Agency LEGAL NOTICES 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 special recipe for the feast, I cannot help but think of my Italian ancestors centu- ries ago, huddled together in an earthen kitchen, cooking up something for a harvest festival of their own -- St. Martin's Day, perhaps, or the celebration of a local saint. Indeed, the best thing about food is that it is truly universal and the use of food in holidays unites people of all nationalities and creeds around the world. I remem- ber working on food drives sponsored by my church or by the National Honor Soci- ety at my high school and feeling incredible warmth inside me, not only because I was helping to provide sus- tenance to those who need it, but because there is no act more intimate or com- passionate than sharing food with another person. I urge all Bostonians to participate in a food charity during this holiday season when many families are in need. I also urge everyone to develop an appreciation for cooking and all that food represents. You do not have to be a great cook. I am still learning a lot about the kitchen myself and the stumbles make cooking more interesting. Nor do you need to create fancy dishes. I often eschew elegant meals in favor of simple, down-home fare, the kind real people make. No, all you need to recognize the true healing and communal power of food is love. Ally Di Censo is a Graduate Student in History at the Uni- versity of Massachusetts Bos- ton. She appreciates any com- ments and suggestions about Italian holidays and folklore at DRIVERS: Home Weekends. .44 cpm NE Dedicated. Chromed out trucks w/APU's 70% Drop & Hook CDL-A, 6 mes exp. (888) 247-4037 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. Sometimes All You Can Do is "Free Write" I started getting published Meanwhile, Tiesi is a gay, as a writer back in 1968 liberal Republican and a when I was only 19 years old. "you-know-what" beat him. Over the years that quickly My only hope is that the turned into decades, I have Obama White House will written on every subject take a good look at both Gov- possible from A to Z. Back at ernor Deval Patrick and U.S. 23 years old, I expressed one Senator John Kerry. I think opinion on the My Lai Mas- Patrick would make a great sacre only to change my mind U.S. Attorney General and 30 years later. Opinions can Kerry, put him in as U.S. change with age and expe- Defense Secretary. Get these rience. If they didn't, we jokers out of the election would be no more than empty cycle and find some good, vases on the mantelpiece, moderate Republicans to run In my career as a political for their seats at next elec- activist, I have worked for tion. If Patrick goes, we get many candidates, both Dem- Crash Murray for a while. If ocrat and Republican. I Kerry goes, the Democrats remember in 1970 as a col- will give us another Paul lege student working to elect Kirk until a special election Frank Bellotti as governor is called. that year. He didn't win. A By the way, I have just got- few weeks ago I was at the ten myself wrapped around Park Plaza Hotel watching the Petraeus scandal. Spies, my guy, U.S. Senator Scott generals, top secrets, par- Brown, go down in defeat, amours, sex, .Benghazi ... it Brown, by the way, was only sounds like a TV mini se- the second Republican I ever ries. This plot seems much worked to elect other than better than even 666 Park Avi Nelson back in'1978 over Avenue. The devil seems to in Charlestown. be working overtime lately. Often I find myself think- Meanwhile, I can't wake up ing of former big leaguer from a bad dream. We do Jamie Moyer with that have Obama for four more lifetime 269-209 win/loss years and Elizabeth for six record. Over my long career years to life. George Soros in politics, Jamie Moyer's still has billions to elect lib- win/loss record looks far erals. The Koch brothers will better than mine. I am good continue to get demonized. when it comes to ground Then there's the news story games, research and corn- about Puerto Ricans in their munications, but often you recent elections voting for can still lose if the other guy statehood and Sean Hannity or gal offers more fluff to calling for amnesty for im- voters. Most voters should be migrants according to Jeff disbarred from voting. They Kuhner on WRKO the other have no idea about anything morning. except the gimmies. No one Things get bad and some- cares about issues, public times worse. Meanwhile we policy or the fast-approach- must survive for another ing fiscal cliff. I think it day. This week my concen- seems obvious that we could tration was off a bit as solve that voter ID card is- you can see through these sue by putting photos on rattlings of mine. Finally, those EBT cards. We already about hope and change, did have EBT porn, EBT liquor, you know that 20 states EBT lottery tickets and EBT led by the former Republic of Florida vacations. Why not Texas are thinking about EBT voter IDs? secession from the Union. The election turned out This is probably not what swell for me. How 'bout you? liberals had in mind for the Democrats keep saying if Civil War's 150 th anniver- only Republicans put up mod- sary. If comprehensive ira- crate candidates they could migration gets passed it will win. Well they did but it made probably mean the Texas will no difference. How more become a blue state quickly. moderate can a Republican All could be lost if it hasn't be than Scott Brown? Or already happened. Richard Tiesi? I expected Joe Next week I will return Kennedy III to beat up with more uplifting musings. on Scan Bielat. The Repub- Free writing is what you lican was a pretty conserva- do when you don't know tive character. However, for what to write. Good ther- heaven's sake, Brown is apy for conservative-minded both pro-choice and pro-gay, journalists. ! For information on placing a Legal Notice in the POST-GAZETTE, please call (617) 227-8929; or mail notice to: POST-GAZETTE P.O. BOX 135 BOSTON, MA 02113 Attn: Legal Notices Real Estate Maff6o Gallo Appraisals Sales & Rentals 376 North Street Boston, MA 02113 (617) 523-2100 Fax (617) 523-3530