Remembering… memories from childhood.



The GOOD Old Days
Papa
This morning at the breakfast table my mother and I were commenting on how the year is coming to a close and all the things to be done before the end of the year.  Yesterday we had to choose a new insurance company for her which took up half the morning.  Sometimes I believe that the more electronic stuff we have the more our lives become complex.   SIMPLE, a word that says so much, I am for the simple things in life, just for a moment stop and reflect on years gone by and remember what little simple thing made you happy.
My mother was born in 1929 and named after her father’s mother Leonarda but for some reason when she went to school the teachers thought her name in English was Eleanor and hence she is known as Eleanor to most people. 
So to continue our conversation at the breakfast table mom  reflected on the first American tradition of Thanksgiving that she remembered as a young girl.  Her parents were of Italian decent and came from a little mountain town of Orsara di Puglia provincial di Foggia and she said any holidays that they celebrated were all surrounded by the church . 
Mama
Mom said her father at the time was not working and there was a community garden where her father planted his vegetables for the family so at the end of the season before Thanksgiving he took his wagon and took the short cut along the tracks and walked from Worley down to Canal Road where the garden was.   They lived at 7808 Worley and there was a small house up front and a small house in the back which is where they lived and a polish American family lived up front, so upon her father’s return he gave the polish lady pumpkins from the garden.  Mom said the lady was so grateful that she made 3 or 4 pumpkins pies and gave them to her mother for the family.  The first experience of pumpkin pie.
Michael, Julius, Benita and Leonarda, mom. 
Now the day before Thanksgiving my father said to me Nardu (short for little Leonarda) let’s go to the butcher to see what we can get for Thanksgiving. Of course I was the oldest and then there was my brother Mike, my brother Julius and my brother Ben was a baby, and I had the pleasure of going with my father. Once we got to the butcher my father told the butcher that he did not have a lot of money but I will be happy with anything you have to offer, all the turkey parts you are going to throw away.  The butcher then got a peck basket and filled it with turkey necks, gizzards, and whatever else would fit in the basket and did not charge my father for the Thanksgiving feast.  My father loved to cook so he was excited that he had something to put into his sauce.  The sauce of course was made from the tomatoes from his garden that he and my mother canned.  So we had a wonderful beginning of a Thanksgiving Dinner, enough meat flavoring for the delicious sauce and my mother made the pasta and our first pumpkin pie thanks to our neighbor, our first American Thanksgiving.
Our Mother with Mrs. Monteleone 



Then mom talked about how under the bridge on Harvard they set up a place for people who were on relief and my mother would send me with a wagon to pick up produce, canned milk and this one time they gave her a large bag of corn with other produce and the bag a small hole in it and all the way home a corn fell out.  And the only reason she knew was that her Aunt would come to the house and happened to walk the same route and asked who had corn  because she had left a trail all the way home.

One day my mother was talking about the pumpkin pie and how she liked it but did not know how to make the pie so our neighbor Mrs. Monteleone said she could show her how to make pumpkin pie with a touch of hot pepper.
I guess the valuable lesson   for this holiday season is to not only enjoy the decorations, the music, and the church services but the idea that no matter what is on your Thanksgiving table that the gift of faith as children and adults is the renewed respect for the sacrifices that our parents and grandparents made in order to provide those simple gifts, the gift of love and family togetherness, and the memories the experiences she wouldn’t trade for all the presents in the world. The special gift was always that her parents   scrimped and saved, then presented their family with much love and humor mixed in, and gratitude to all those who helped make their thanksgiving truly something to be thankful for.



Famiglia!


Remembering… memories from childhood.



The GOOD Old Days
Papa
This morning at the breakfast table my mother and I were commenting on how the year is coming to a close and all the things to be done before the end of the year.  Yesterday we had to choose a new insurance company for her which took up half the morning.  Sometimes I believe that the more electronic stuff we have the more our lives become complex.   SIMPLE, a word that says so much, I am for the simple things in life, just for a moment stop and reflect on years gone by and remember what little simple thing made you happy.
My mother was born in 1929 and named after her father’s mother Leonarda but for some reason when she went to school the teachers thought her name in English was Eleanor and hence she is known as Eleanor to most people. 
So to continue our conversation at the breakfast table mom  reflected on the first American tradition of Thanksgiving that she remembered as a young girl.  Her parents were of Italian decent and came from a little mountain town of Orsara di Puglia provincial di Foggia and she said any holidays that they celebrated were all surrounded by the church . 
Mama
Mom said her father at the time was not working and there was a community garden where her father planted his vegetables for the family so at the end of the season before Thanksgiving he took his wagon and took the short cut along the tracks and walked from Worley down to Canal Road where the garden was.   They lived at 7808 Worley and there was a small house up front and a small house in the back which is where they lived and a polish American family lived up front, so upon her father’s return he gave the polish lady pumpkins from the garden.  Mom said the lady was so grateful that she made 3 or 4 pumpkins pies and gave them to her mother for the family.  The first experience of pumpkin pie.
Michael, Julius, Benita and Leonarda, mom. 
Now the day before Thanksgiving my father said to me Nardu (short for little Leonarda) let’s go to the butcher to see what we can get for Thanksgiving. Of course I was the oldest and then there was my brother Mike, my brother Julius and my brother Ben was a baby, and I had the pleasure of going with my father. Once we got to the butcher my father told the butcher that he did not have a lot of money but I will be happy with anything you have to offer, all the turkey parts you are going to throw away.  The butcher then got a peck basket and filled it with turkey necks, gizzards, and whatever else would fit in the basket and did not charge my father for the Thanksgiving feast.  My father loved to cook so he was excited that he had something to put into his sauce.  The sauce of course was made from the tomatoes from his garden that he and my mother canned.  So we had a wonderful beginning of a Thanksgiving Dinner, enough meat flavoring for the delicious sauce and my mother made the pasta and our first pumpkin pie thanks to our neighbor, our first American Thanksgiving.
Our Mother with Mrs. Monteleone 



Then mom talked about how under the bridge on Harvard they set up a place for people who were on relief and my mother would send me with a wagon to pick up produce, canned milk and this one time they gave her a large bag of corn with other produce and the bag a small hole in it and all the way home a corn fell out.  And the only reason she knew was that her Aunt would come to the house and happened to walk the same route and asked who had corn  because she had left a trail all the way home.

One day my mother was talking about the pumpkin pie and how she liked it but did not know how to make the pie so our neighbor Mrs. Monteleone said she could show her how to make pumpkin pie with a touch of hot pepper.
I guess the valuable lesson   for this holiday season is to not only enjoy the decorations, the music, and the church services but the idea that no matter what is on your Thanksgiving table that the gift of faith as children and adults is the renewed respect for the sacrifices that our parents and grandparents made in order to provide those simple gifts, the gift of love and family togetherness, and the memories the experiences she wouldn’t trade for all the presents in the world. The special gift was always that her parents   scrimped and saved, then presented their family with much love and humor mixed in, and gratitude to all those who helped make their thanksgiving truly something to be thankful for.



Famiglia!


4 girls, 1 boy and the “Tasty Tomato” 2015-09-26 01:52:00


TODI is where our Villa is at the top of this winding dirt road there we sit overlooking the dominant hills , while looking out any window in the Villa Or sitting out on the covered pergola with an outside pizza oven and would burning grill. We were hoping to make pizza and use the oven but by the time we return from the days adventure we were to tired.
On this our last day in Umbria we venture into the old town of Todi to get up to the old town we park and take a fenacular up (like an enclosed ski lift) up to the top of the city once again. 
 
The center of this beautiful city is triangular in design and seems to dominate the green valley formed by the river Tiber. The hill on which Todi stands is also encircled by the river Naia, and the Rio streams Arnata and Chiugena whose waters flow into the Tiber .There is a legend of the eagle and it is said that the men building the city wall were having lunch and an eagle came down took there tablecloth and put it at the top of the hill and dropped it. Frightened and bewildered the men took this as a sign that the gods wanted them to build on top of the hill and not along the banks of the river.

In this little town on top of the hill I found a shop with some beautiful dish towels which of course I had to purchase just a few more!   Momma will be so happy!  

One of our main missions today was to find this cheese shop that the owner of the villa said was in Todi.  So Don and Cindy went one way and Uncle Ralph, Mike and I went another.  We sat down and enjoyed a cafe and thought I might as well try Yelp to see where the cheese shop was.  After all so many people tell me they find us on Yelp, why not use the app myself!  Low and behold, we found a cheese shop in the il palazzo dei priori.   Mike found it was just around the corner from where we were sitting.  He said the man told him this is a fourth generation cheesemaker.  The Pecorino Romano cheese he brought back was delicious.  He and uncle Ralph went back over to buy some more cheese and we got his card.  It says they ship anywhere!  
 
Now it is lunch time and we head over to this quaint Enoteca O Berdan. Well you folks think my written menu is different you need to check this one out!  It reminded me of my little place when I am short handed.  I take the orders and go back  in the kitchen cook and bring it out again. Lunch was great. 
 
Heading back to the Villa we stop at the winery at the top of the street whose restaurant we ate at our first night in town. The winery is called Franco Todini.  We arrived just in time for tasting from 3 to 7pm.  In talking with the general manager she really gave us a lot of history about Umbria and their wines.  She also explains why there are not as many tourists in Umbria as opposed to Tuscany, even Puglia and Abruzzo. 

Back to the villa, Uncle Ralph and I decide to clean out the frigo and check out the garden for some tomatoes and eggplant. We took our leftover sauce added more fresh tomatoes from the garden along with chopped eggplant and herbs and made a wonderful pasta. So tomorrow is an early day as we head back to Rome, return the car hop a plane to head for home.   What a beautiful trip with lots of exercise and some personal treasure hunting. 


See you soon.

4 girls, 1 boy and the “Tasty Tomato” 2015-09-26 01:52:00


TODI is where our Villa is at the top of this winding dirt road there we sit overlooking the dominant hills , while looking out any window in the Villa Or sitting out on the covered pergola with an outside pizza oven and would burning grill. We were hoping to make pizza and use the oven but by the time we return from the days adventure we were to tired.
On this our last day in Umbria we venture into the old town of Todi to get up to the old town we park and take a fenacular up (like an enclosed ski lift) up to the top of the city once again. 
 
The center of this beautiful city is triangular in design and seems to dominate the green valley formed by the river Tiber. The hill on which Todi stands is also encircled by the river Naia, and the Rio streams Arnata and Chiugena whose waters flow into the Tiber .There is a legend of the eagle and it is said that the men building the city wall were having lunch and an eagle came down took there tablecloth and put it at the top of the hill and dropped it. Frightened and bewildered the men took this as a sign that the gods wanted them to build on top of the hill and not along the banks of the river.

In this little town on top of the hill I found a shop with some beautiful dish towels which of course I had to purchase just a few more!   Momma will be so happy!  

One of our main missions today was to find this cheese shop that the owner of the villa said was in Todi.  So Don and Cindy went one way and Uncle Ralph, Mike and I went another.  We sat down and enjoyed a cafe and thought I might as well try Yelp to see where the cheese shop was.  After all so many people tell me they find us on Yelp, why not use the app myself!  Low and behold, we found a cheese shop in the il palazzo dei priori.   Mike found it was just around the corner from where we were sitting.  He said the man told him this is a fourth generation cheesemaker.  The Pecorino Romano cheese he brought back was delicious.  He and uncle Ralph went back over to buy some more cheese and we got his card.  It says they ship anywhere!  
 
Now it is lunch time and we head over to this quaint Enoteca O Berdan. Well you folks think my written menu is different you need to check this one out!  It reminded me of my little place when I am short handed.  I take the orders and go back  in the kitchen cook and bring it out again. Lunch was great. 
 
Heading back to the Villa we stop at the winery at the top of the street whose restaurant we ate at our first night in town. The winery is called Franco Todini.  We arrived just in time for tasting from 3 to 7pm.  In talking with the general manager she really gave us a lot of history about Umbria and their wines.  She also explains why there are not as many tourists in Umbria as opposed to Tuscany, even Puglia and Abruzzo. 

Back to the villa, Uncle Ralph and I decide to clean out the frigo and check out the garden for some tomatoes and eggplant. We took our leftover sauce added more fresh tomatoes from the garden along with chopped eggplant and herbs and made a wonderful pasta. So tomorrow is an early day as we head back to Rome, return the car hop a plane to head for home.   What a beautiful trip with lots of exercise and some personal treasure hunting. 


See you soon.

4 girls, 1 boy and the “Tasty Tomato” 2015-09-25 14:30:00

Siena is on of Italy's beautiful medieval cities.  If yo are anywhere near this town, make the effort to stop and tour it.  The center of town is the famous piazza Il Campo.  This is the town square where the horse race, Palio is run.   

So many quaint little shops, outdoor cafes and plenty of opportunity to people watch.  There are moments when you marvel at such grander and history.  This is another one of those moments when you simply take in the vistas and count your blessings.  If you close your eyes... you can imagine the scenes from long ago.  These old cities have a way to speaking to you while you look for treasures.  Of course the food is delicious.  There are no shortages of good eats here!   Every dish we savor is a memory to recreate back at the restaurant

.  

4 girls, 1 boy and the “Tasty Tomato” 2015-09-25 14:30:00

Siena is on of Italy's beautiful medieval cities.  If yo are anywhere near this town, make the effort to stop and tour it.  The center of town is the famous piazza Il Campo.  This is the town square where the horse race, Palio is run.   

So many quaint little shops, outdoor cafes and plenty of opportunity to people watch.  There are moments when you marvel at such grander and history.  This is another one of those moments when you simply take in the vistas and count your blessings.  If you close your eyes... you can imagine the scenes from long ago.  These old cities have a way to speaking to you while you look for treasures.  Of course the food is delicious.  There are no shortages of good eats here!   Every dish we savor is a memory to recreate back at the restaurant

.  

Off to Orvieto

Taking a long and winding dirt road from the Villa, we journey to Orvieto.  More picturesque countryside and vineyards, camp grounds and woods.  There is a large body of water with a damn which stands out along our trip. 
Orvietto lies in the south east of the province of Terni. At the foot of the cliff run two subsidiary rives of Tevere, Paglia and Chiani,whilst the historic center rises up on vast platform above the valley beneath. At the northern border is Monte Peglia and Orvietto itself has about 21000 inhabitants. 
 Santa Maria Assunta is the Cathedral of Orvietto and one of the most treasured monuments of Gothic style in Italy.  It was started in 1290 and preserves the miracle of Bolsena.  The design is originally from Fra Bevignate da Perugia, who supervised the work of Giovanni Uguccione. 

There is a blood stained cloth from a  Bohemian priest  Pietro of Praga beautified bleeding of consecrated host.  The event is commemorated every year in the majestic procession of Corpus Christi.  The shrine of the covenant is in the form of the facade of the Duomo, a magnificent work of Gothic goldsmith. The Duomo was under restoration but the beauty inside ...no words to describe. The way the church is built gives you an optical illusion that it is much larger then it is..here are some photos from the inside of the church. 
     


Off to Orvieto

Taking a long and winding dirt road from the Villa, we journey to Orvieto.  More picturesque countryside and vineyards, camp grounds and woods.  There is a large body of water with a damn which stands out along our trip. 
Orvietto lies in the south east of the province of Terni. At the foot of the cliff run two subsidiary rives of Tevere, Paglia and Chiani,whilst the historic center rises up on vast platform above the valley beneath. At the northern border is Monte Peglia and Orvietto itself has about 21000 inhabitants. 
 Santa Maria Assunta is the Cathedral of Orvietto and one of the most treasured monuments of Gothic style in Italy.  It was started in 1290 and preserves the miracle of Bolsena.  The design is originally from Fra Bevignate da Perugia, who supervised the work of Giovanni Uguccione. 

There is a blood stained cloth from a  Bohemian priest  Pietro of Praga beautified bleeding of consecrated host.  The event is commemorated every year in the majestic procession of Corpus Christi.  The shrine of the covenant is in the form of the facade of the Duomo, a magnificent work of Gothic goldsmith. The Duomo was under restoration but the beauty inside ...no words to describe. The way the church is built gives you an optical illusion that it is much larger then it is..here are some photos from the inside of the church. 
     


Tuscany….

Tuscany....    
 
There are very few things that stir the romantic notions of the part like the region of Tuscany.  The birthplace of the Renaissance, the Medici's, Dante, Michelangelo
Galileo... well the list goes on and on.   
 
We have an early rise as the trip to Tuscany is 3 hours away.  We are headed to Antinori Winery.   The 3 hour journey was long, but beautiful, rolling hills and gorgeous countryside.    
 
The facility is a masterpiece of architecture.  We enjoyed a tour and tasting. We were not able to sample the the super tuscan, Tijanelo, but we did enjoy the Chianti Classic, Chianti Reserve and a Chardonnay called Bramito.
 
The winery put much thought into this new operation.  Once we finished the tasting we decided to have lunch in a restaurant on the premises.  

 


When we made our way back to Todi, we visited the old part of town.  In order to access this part of town, you must take an elevator.  Once at the top of the mountain, you are able to see for miles!  The view was breathtaking!  
 
Our mission of course was to find Gelato!  Along the way was a beautiful linen shop which carried dish towels.  This is another one of those items I would love to carry at the restaurant.   These towels wear beautifully.  My mom keeps asking if I found a good source so she could have some more!  Ha ha ha.. I believe she likes them.  The best part for this year is I found them on sale.
 
There was a little bakery that had some biscotti.  We picked some up for our morning cafe.  They happen to be Vegan, so we will see if they taste as good, morning will tell. 
 

My meal of pork with savoy cabbage and roasted potatoes.
 
 
Beef Tenderloin. 

 
 

Tuscany….

Tuscany....    
 
There are very few things that stir the romantic notions of the part like the region of Tuscany.  The birthplace of the Renaissance, the Medici's, Dante, Michelangelo
Galileo... well the list goes on and on.   
 
We have an early rise as the trip to Tuscany is 3 hours away.  We are headed to Antinori Winery.   The 3 hour journey was long, but beautiful, rolling hills and gorgeous countryside.    
 
The facility is a masterpiece of architecture.  We enjoyed a tour and tasting. We were not able to sample the the super tuscan, Tijanelo, but we did enjoy the Chianti Classic, Chianti Reserve and a Chardonnay called Bramito.
 
The winery put much thought into this new operation.  Once we finished the tasting we decided to have lunch in a restaurant on the premises.  

 


When we made our way back to Todi, we visited the old part of town.  In order to access this part of town, you must take an elevator.  Once at the top of the mountain, you are able to see for miles!  The view was breathtaking!  
 
Our mission of course was to find Gelato!  Along the way was a beautiful linen shop which carried dish towels.  This is another one of those items I would love to carry at the restaurant.   These towels wear beautifully.  My mom keeps asking if I found a good source so she could have some more!  Ha ha ha.. I believe she likes them.  The best part for this year is I found them on sale.
 
There was a little bakery that had some biscotti.  We picked some up for our morning cafe.  They happen to be Vegan, so we will see if they taste as good, morning will tell. 
 

My meal of pork with savoy cabbage and roasted potatoes.
 
 
Beef Tenderloin.