8 household and cooking tips from an Italian nonna

In a typical Italian family, the Nonna (grandmother) is often the source of strength and wisdom for the entire family.  La Nonna can also be the teller of tall tales, the one who passes down family history, the spouter of proverbs for any situation and a multi-talented marvel who can cook like Mario Batali and sew like the little mice in “Cinderella.”  The nonna is the one you run to when you have a bruised knee or a broken heart but also the one who may discipline you and teach life’s most important lessons.

My friend Ada of My Italian online – Il mio Italiano online has shared with us  8 household tips handed down to her from her Italian nonna:

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My Italian Mamma

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Italian cocktail recipes for entertaining at home

Campari (bitter), Limoncello and Italian Sweet VermouthAs I mentioned in the last article describing the various parts of an Italian meal, it is customary to have an aperitivo or cocktail before a formal meal. Some Italian cocktails are also catching on in the U.S. as the popularity of Italian liqueurs such as Campari or Limoncello (purchased or home made) continues to rise.

Following are some recipes for enjoyable Italian cocktails that can liven up your next get-together. The Italian words used for a toast include “Salute” (sah loo tay) or “Cin cin” (cheen cheen)!

Cocktail Americano: This drink was invented in the 1930s when the fascist regime dictated using national products, such as Campari (from Milan) or Vermouth (from Turin). It is believed the drink was named to commemorate the victory of Primo Carnera who became the world heavyweight boxing champion in Madison Square Garden in 1933. Read more

7 Ways to save money and make great food using leftovers – Italian-style

stuffed eggplants (melanzane ripiene)In a previous Examiner.com article, I challenged readers to come up with some low cost, healthy and delicious recipes using leftovers and inexpensive ingredients – just like the Italians do. As you may know, Italians throw nothing away and utilize every part of the animals they consume (think of head cheese or pickled pigs feet)! This is true now more than ever. We all want to save money and not waste anything. It’s better for the earth too.

Following are reader suggestions and some recipes. Buon Appetito!

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A dog’s life in Lucca, Italy

In 2008, Italy was named as one of the top 5 retirement destinations for U.S. citizens by International Living. My friend and client Marlene recently moved to Lucca (Tuscany), Italy. Marlene often lets me know how she is adjusting.  A very important concern for Marlene was for her beloved pets. How would they adjust?  How would they be treated? Below are Marlene’s comments on life in Italy with her two miniature dachsunds.

One of the best decisions I could have made when moving to Italy last year was to bring my adorable miniature dachshunds with me. Ruby and Ginger, ages 4 and 3 respectively, are little red cuties who attract lots of attention here. They are referred to as Bassoto or “short legs.” Because mine are miniature, they are called bassotini.

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Baseball in Italy?

Team Italy plays baseball at the World Baseball ClassicI love the signs of spring; blossoms, longer days, beautiful weather and baseball!

The recent World Baseball Classic made me think about what a true “World Series” looks like. It is wonderful to see so many countries participating in the great American pastime!

Did you know that baseball in Italy started at the end of WW2? Nettuno is an Italian town one hour south of Rome along the Tyrrhenian Sea (west coast and is close to the American cemetery in Anzio (site of the famous World War II battle). American troops went to Italy during WWII to push out the invading Nazis. They accomplished this valiantly plus also left behind the legacy of Italian baseball. They taught Italian kids to play the game, started to play in front of spectators and planted the seed.

The first Italian League tournament in Bologna took place in 1948 and Bologna won the contest. Italian cities with a past and current baseball tradition include: Nettuno, Bologna, Parma, Milan, Rimini and Grosseto.

There is a sign entering Nettuno saying “Benvenuti a Nettuno – Città del Baseball.” (welcome to Nettuno, city of baseball).

Italian baseball trivia:

  • Joe Di Maggio visited here when he was retired and smashed a ball out of the park.
  • The first Italian-born player to play Major League Baseball in the U.S. was Julio Bonetti: Genoa, Italy (St. Louis Browns, 1937)

Photo:  Examiner.com

Learn Italian – your wallet can handle it and your soul will sing!

I have heard from some of you who say you love the sound of Italian and Italian music and would like to learn the language. One reader said, “My basic Italian vocabulary consists of ‘Bocelli, Ferrari, Armani and pasta’!”Tuscan door to speaking Italian

Because of the Internet, private language lessons (previously the privilege of the wealthy few or those reimbursed by their companies) have become extremely affordable. This is particularly exciting to me because I have always felt private lessons are the best way to learn a language. They are customized to your level, speed, interests and ability.

I am often approached by people who want to learn Italian for fun, family, cultural or work reasons. You can now learn to speak the language of Dante, Puccini and, yes, Bocelli in a very relaxed and fun way, at home or on the road.


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