2019: A to Z… Reflection Post

A to Z: 2019… Reflection Post

2019 A to Z Banner (2)

 

While it’s extremely hectic during the April A to Z as you hop around discovering new blogs, my reflection post will now give me time to go back and discover all I’ve missed. I managed to write all my A to Z posts before April 1st this year… as we travel during this month… which leaves me only to quickly edit each night. While this made it less hectic and stress free, but like always… on the last day I felt sad in having no more daily postings!

I’m sure I’ve probably missed logging a few blogs here that I visited… and I do apologize… it was such a hectic month of writing, reading and trying to keep up with blog sites I visited… sometimes the mind just loses track. Hopefully on the reflection posts, I’ll discover even more that I missed. Now my thoughts are already churning to what will I write in 2020. I’m running out of favorite ideas…. so I can’t even imagine coming up with another fun post… but we will see!

Please check some of my favorites!

2019: A to Z Reflections

 

The Joyous Living: The A to Z’s of Theater: I enjoyed checking out her site to discover classic movies to watch… such as Brigadoon with Gene Kelly.can’t wait to find Brigadoon now to watch.

Anne’s Family History: Visiting England, Scotland and Wales on the A to Z. As I’ll never probably visit there… I enjoyed following along on her blog.

HackyTips.com: An A to Z of Favorite Shows. I’m always looking for a new show to watch, especially on Netflix, so I’ll be checking this blog often. Love discovering new shows!

Keith’s Ramblings: I truly was entertained with Keith’s daily rambling of stories. A daily prompt had him turning them into cute stories!

LessBeatenPaths: I was glad to see him back this year… as I enjoy seeing what new signs he has discovered in his many hours on the road. I also enjoy discovering signs in my road travels, he’s found some really great ones.

 Words from Sonobe: Each post this month will be associated with a letter of the alphabet with the themeFood Memories‘. I enjoyed checking out her food memories as I also wrote on food and memories this year.

Janet Smiles: Crafty fun always on her A to Z… and she even has an Etsy shop. I’ve enjoyed following Janet’s crafts along the way!

Doesn’t Speak Klingon: This A to Z begins with audience participation – I start with one story for A, but in the comments each day, I want YOU to offer a suggestion. It could be a word or a phrase, a hint of a character, a setting, an event, ANYTHING. It doesn’t specifically have to begin with the next day’s letter, either. Hopefully there will be enough comments that I can build a stockpile for days when no one offers anything that inspires words. I thought this a truly fun blog to follow… and very unusual… loved their blog name!

The Old Trunk in the Attic: A to Z on newspaper clippings… she’s found some awesome family mentions in the papers. How exciting to have found all those clippings!

Finding Eliza: This was my sixth year doing the A to Z Challenge. I took small social items from The Emancipator newspaper, published  between 1917 and 1920 in Montgomery, Alabama. The items were of marriage, death, travel and movement to other cities – Detroit, New York, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. Most were family or friends of my grandparents, Merchell and Fannie (Turner) Graham. Amazing newspaper articles she found on her family… such finds!

Romance and Mystery Writing My Past: My A to Z Challenge is Micro fiction, using 300 words or less, inspired by selected words along with a photo for inspiration. The words were chosen in reverse order from this lesson plan page. This was an interesting idea and fun to read!

Travel Genee: Here I share extracts about the people and places in my family history. Sometimes I add the adventures I have had in life traveling, researching and thoughts about my life; The TravelGenee blog is a place to record these for future generations. Quite the interesting mix of learning on another’s family.

Black and White Words and Pictures:   My theme for this year’s April A-Z Blog Challenge is fantastical creatures, celebrating my upcoming book, “On the Virtues of Beasts of the Realms of Imagination.” I learned about many new creatures I’d never read or saw before… and I loved the black and white photos.

Tell Me Another: My chosen theme is Migrants, Refugees, and Exiles, a subject I’ve been thinking about a lot recently and which, of course, is an urgent issue—perhaps the urgent issue—worldwide. A very interesting read!

My name is Marion Ann: The best of both worlds – hotel life and food/cooking. An interesting behind the scenes adventure.

Stories Served Around The Table: Welcome to my 2019 Blogging A-Z Challenge. Each day in the the month of April (except Sundays), I will bring you a memory of games and a jump rope song. It is similar to the classic A My Name Is…  Do you recognize the chant? A world of children will greet their friends and skip… This was a fun and cute read!

QP and Eye:  Architecture around Australia… I’d so love to visit there one day!

Ruth Blogs Here: For this year’s April Blogging from A-Z I’ve decided to share my love of colouring in by posting one image each day following the alphabet. I keep saying I’m going to color… but then get sidetracked!

In case you’d like to peruse through my older A to Z’s… I’ve listed them below!

  •  2016: Southern Foods and Memories. They say write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew!
  • 2017: Conversations with Mama was a somewhat easy one for me as I’d journaled our conversations for years so I researched some of my favorite topics to write on.
  • 2018: All About Nancy Drew has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another to equal it. It literally had me researching every day for over six months… researching, reading and perfecting every post. I was totally consumed with Nancy Drew for months… and still am!
  • 2019: Italian family foods and memories. I didn’t want to “not” participate this year, but I was drawing a blank. Finally, mid February, I came up with writing on my husbands Italian foods as I did my Southern foods in 2016.

2019 A to Z Banner (1)

If you discovered the A to Z too late to join this year, hope you visited blogs to discover what it’s all about… and plan on joining us in 2020. If I might offer you one piece of advice… Plan! While I see many writing their posts on the daily cusp, I find it too stressful. Usually my A to Z is something I’m very passionate on, so it takes planning and writing way ahead of schedule.

Hope to see you writing in 2020!

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© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 18 (April 29 – May 5): Road Trip

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks –

Week 18 (April 29 – May 5): Road Trip

“first” joined Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on its “first” year in 2014… and what a whirlwind year that was… writing, editing and researching daily for 365 days! As much as I wanted to continue the following year, I found that I didn’t have the time to continue another year with that type of research… although I did continue blogging and writing stories at my own pace, which allowed me to write on other topics as well as family stories when ideas came my way… but I’ve often missed it. The first year were no specific weekly prompts like today… but I’m taking a different spin on them. There will be some posts on a specific ancestor, but most will be memories that spring from those prompts. Head over to 2014 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks to read about my ancestors in the first years challenge.

If you’re new to genealogy, make your “first” stop to Amy’s website for genealogy ideas or even join in on this 52 Week challenge… you learn by doing… not procrastinating! There is no right or wrong… anything you do is a start!

Road Trip

This prompt had me thinking of the many road trips I took with my parents… or remember being told about.

The many road trips I do remember are the ones we took on weekends to my grandparents farm, about two hours away. They often began on a Friday evening after daddy came home from work. To pass time away, mama played car games with me… we counted coke bottles on both sides of the road… car colors… and cows. It sure made the time pass by… and it never hurt to have a cold Coke for the ride!

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One of my first road trips, that I have no memory of… was a “Bryan” reunion in Dahlonega, Georgia when I was about five years old. We drove up with my mother’s parents; I only found out about it when I questioned as to where the photo below was taken.

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My grandparents, Ola & Edgar McKinley.

Sure wish the photo was clearer so I could make the car out and read the sign for the Fair. I’ve also wondered if this is were they actually parked… at Aunt Sage’s house, as there was water nearby… it might even be the famous Cane Creek where my Bryan ancestors lived near.

Mama told me this story about the ride up… “As we drove round and round the mountain roads looking for the house where the reunion was, my father noticed that he wasn’t seeing any cemeteries… he wondered why. Finally, after finding our turnoff, which was only an open field with a gate… we arrived. My father opened the gate, and we drove through a pasture to reach their house… which was back in the woods… never even seen from the road; the back porch was built over a running creek. We arrived to find tables and tables of food waiting… and all day long, I watched the woman kill chickens… and see plate after plate of freshly fried chicken appear on those tables… the best fried chicken I’ve eaten other than at my mama’s table.”

When my grandfather asked some of the men, “why aren’t there any cemeteries around here,” he was quickly told… “we don’t need any!” Seems the Bryan’s had long lives there in the Blue Ridge Mountains. My great-great grandfather, Berrien Clark Bryan lived to be almost 100 years old, and a cousin, Ila Stargel Jones Sewell, died at age 114… holding the oldest living person in Georgia until 2017.

(From my research, I believe the house of that Bryan reunion belonged to Sara Catherine Bryan Long (1872 – 1964), known as Aunt Sage. She was the daughter of my great grandfather William Madison Bryan, and seemed to have been the one who held that family reunion from all I’ve learned.)

Little did I know at age five, that one day… I would be drawn back to Dahlonega, Georgia in my family research.

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Road Trip to Meet Family

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My father’s brother, Floyd Bryan, lived in North Carolina… so we often took weekend road trips to meet them at Lake Hartwell, S.C… which was about halfway for us. I’m assuming I took this photograph of my father (left), mother and my grandfather (Paul Bryan). Mama was sitting in my favorite spot when we traveled! First time I’ve noticed I can actually make out daddy’s license plate on his station wagon… another Pontiac!

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Road Trips to Florida

As a small child, my parents took many road trips to Florida. I have only faint memories, but I’m often reminded by my mother.

On one trip to Miami, we stopped at a diner where my favorite chicken noodle soup was ordered for me. Somehow I managed to spill that hot soup all over me… the waitress quickly brought butter to the table for my parents to put on my burn. Butter was what was once used, until they discovered that butter holds the heat in… today we use cold water to cool the burned area. I guess my burns weren’t sever, as I never had any scars from those burns.

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Florida Welcome Center… how they’ve changed!

I think it was the trip to Miami when we stayed at someone’s house on the beach… it was a boarding house like a B&B today. About the only memory I have is of smelling the cinnamon buns as I came downstairs for breakfast. What happened to all my memories?

Another trip was to Daytona Beach, and my cousin Paulette came with us. I remember the big waves there and how I’d ride them in on my tube. Mama watched me like a hawk… reminding me constantly how the tide could pull me under very quickly.

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All the family road trips were taken in a station wagon… guess Daddy loved a wagon, especially a Pontiac! I’m thinking this might have been where we stayed?

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My older cousin, Paulette, accompanied us on one road trip to Florida! Does anyone wear a bathing cap anymore?

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 Sure wish I had memories of seeing all those cars on the beach! If you’re wondering why my photos are cut… mama decided to put the family pictures in an album one year… making them fit!

There were so many beach road trips when I was young, that I don’t remember them all… but I do know they took place from seeing the many photos of me on the beach with my parents.

In thinking back, I think the main reason we went to Florida often was so Daddy could go deep sea fishing… that was his favorite hobby. When we went to Tallahassee, we always stayed at the same small motel just outside of town… the typical U-shaped motel with a small restaurant attached. I was old enough there to be allowed to go up to the restaurant in the morning by myself and order breakfast… and I always ordered a bacon sandwich…. just bacon and bread… no mayo! That was when children were usually safe out of your eyesight… although my mother didn’t often let me out of her eyesight for too long… who knows, I might have just snuck up there in the mornings!

While daddy spent the day out on the ocean, mama and I swam in the pool… hunted for shells, and walked the long pier behind the motel… while waiting for daddy to return. Daddy always took us out to dinner in the evenings to our favorite seafood restaurant… where he ordered me red snapper and a shirley temple drink. We came to Tallahassee often… always staying at the same motel and eating in the same restaurant.

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Another roadtrip was with our neighbors to stay in their cottage at Alligator Point, Florida. I thought for sure I’d see alligators walking around there from the name… and Mama probably thought so too as she never let me outside by myself. The town was so-named as it’s a peninsula town shaped like an alligator from an aerial view. It wasn’t the type of beach where you swam or laid, but it was loaded with awesome shells. Mama and I often walked and picked up buckets of all types of shells and sea life to bring home… sand dollars, hermit crabs, crabs, and so many shells we’d never ever seen before. The hermit crab was a new one to us… mama quickly dropped it when the crab came out of his shell and tickled her palm.

When we returned home, mama cleaned all the shells… fastened wire to a frame and mounted the shells for me. It hung in my room for years… I even kept it for several years after I married, but eventually I dismantled it.

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I was excited when I found this photo showing that seashell frame… I must have been dancing in my room… probably to the Beatles… when someone took this photo!

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Camping Road Trip

The weekend camping road trips to Lake Sinclair were the best! We probably went a few times when I was about fourteen. Mama would be all packed… just waiting on daddy to come home from work on Friday night. They’d load up the station wagon with quilts, pillows and cooking pans… mama’s cast iron pan was a must for cooking over an open fire.

We usually arrived about dusk, finding it already alive with several campers already set up. I don’t remember having to camp in any certain area… just pull in where you wanted. Daddy always picked a spot where he wanted to sleep, as he slept out under the stars in a fold out recliner. Mama and I made a bed inside, after folding all the seats down… no fighting bugs for us, but he never complained of any. Having a station wagon always meant you had a place to sleep… was even better than sleeping in a tent at least… I thought so.

Waking up Saturday morning was the best, as daddy had already started breakfast… you woke to the sound of bacon sizzling in mama’s cast iron pan… I can smell it now! Breakfast was always daddy’s thing, even when we were home. The area would be buzzing with noise from all the campers who arrived overnight… and the kids would be checking out who was there… looking for friends they knew.

Daddy would have a beer while waiting for his friend Henry… who was married to mama’s best friend Willie Mae…. he often would bring his boat down on Saturday for fishing and water skiing. They had three girls… so I had friends for the day. My one and only skiing adventure was quite an experience… and never to be again. They were experts at skiing… me,  I was a newbie. They hung the tow rope around my neck while putting on my water ski’s … but didn’t work so well for me as I went under… which ended me wanting to ski!

My best memories there were the Saturday night get togethers… the teenagers gathered at the cement covered pavilion where the jukebox was. We played that jukebox until an adult tired of it and pulled the plug. The one song that always takes me back to those Saturday nights is “Wooly Bully” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs… anytime I hear it, I remember when it was No. 1… at Lake Sinclair. Too bad I have no pictures of that old jukebox… it’s only in my mind!

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Last road trip to Panama City, Florida

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We stayed at the Fun “N” Sand motel on the beach… I was into taking lots of pictures so I had more to document this trip! This was during my “sewing” phase… I even made my outfit!

Panama City was the last trip I took with my parents… I was sixteen years old. and being an only child, I brought my best friend with me. We had a kitchen-apartment at a motel on the beach. There wasn’t big waves rolling in like there had been in Miami, but they had the clearest water and whitest sand I’d ever seen. As far out as you could walk, you could still see your toes through the water. There wasn’t large shells on that beach, but there were small colored shells they called periwinkles… we enjoyed picking up the many colored ones we found. (Notice the advertisements on the motel sign… Pool, air conditioned, TV, Apts., and steam heat… that one really cracked me up! You come to Florida for the beach in the summer… steam heat, really!)

Panama City had a long strip by the beach of hotels, food and attractions… everything you wanted to see or do was along that long strip. I remember my girlfriend and I spending time at the nearby mini-golf. Mama usually cooked breakfast and lunch for us, but daddy took us out to eat in the evening. I think this was the one place where he didn’t go deep-sea fishing… unless I’ve forgotten.

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Mama’s Road Trip

My mother had a couple of road trips she’s laughed about through the years. One was an impromptu weekend trip after work on a Friday night. She and her best friend, Willie Mae, went home to pack a bag… after midnight… and headed to Florida. They were going to spend the night with Willie Mae’s uncle and spend a couple of days on the beach.

The funny part of that road trip was when they were leaving to come back home… Willie Mae locked her keys in the trunk. Before her uncle could offer any help, mama just took her keys out and said, “I bet mine will work.” The uncle was without words, when she opened up that trunk. When I picture those two on the road, it reminds me of Thelma and Louise.

Another road trip mama took, was with a friend to Texas. It seems her trips were usually just all of a sudden… no planning. This time, it was mama’s first plane ride and they were going to Texas… why, just because! While at the airport, their plane was delayed because a plane had been hijacked to Cuba. As they were finally boarding, mama said… “hope our plane gets hijacked to Cuba, I’ve never been there.” Her friend was like, “don’t say that, we don’t want to go there.”

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Just an afterthought…

Sadly, hubby and I didn’t take many road trips with our children… and I so regret now that I didn’t give them those long winding road trip memories. At that time, he was too busy working, I worked every weekend and what time we had was spent at his parents house… as they had a pool. Even though they don’t have the road trip memories, they definitely have pool memories to remember. That was where they learned to swim and as many of the family gathered at the pool in the summer… they have memories spent with family. I try and take the grandchildren on local trips with us in the summer, but nothing too far away as they aren’t used to spending much time in the car, and no matter what games or books you bring… you hear from the backseat, “are we there yet?”

Stay tuned for Week 19 … Nurture!

Continue reading 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks over HERE!

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© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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2019: Z… A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories: Zabaglione

2019 A to Z: Zabaglione

I Made It… My Last Post!

Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories

I’m back for “Year 4” of the A to Z… April Challenge!

My first year of this challenge had me racking my brain for a writing topic… especially as I didn’t quite understand the process. But finally I came up with 2016: Southern Foods and Memories. They said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.  2017: Conversations with Mama was a somewhat easy one for me as I’d journaled our conversations for years so I researched some of my favorite topics to write on.  2018: All About Nancy Drew has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another to equal it. It literally had me researching every day for over six months… researching, reading and perfecting every post. I was totally consumed with Nancy Drew for months… and still am! I didn’t want to “not” participate this year, but I was drawing a blank. Finally, mid February, I came up with writing on my husband’s Italian family foods and memories. I did my Southern foods the first year, so it was time to finally give his family their due! I’m also participating in the yearly 52 Ancestors 52 Stories this year… I am really feeling over-extended this month. April is a tough month for me, as we usually are traveling to my mother’s and my son in Florida… but somehow I’ll manage!

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Zabaglione

I first ate this when my son made it for my birthday in 2007… it’s been way too long… so he definitely owes me another birthday treat!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
  • pinch salt
  • 1 lb. strawberries
  • Opt: serve with whip cream or toasted nuts sprinkled on top

Directions:

Add cream and chocolate to a small heavy saucepan. Cook over a low heat, stirring often until the chocolate chips are melted and smooth. Set aside, but keep warm.

Now is the time to start a pan of water on stove and bring to a medium simmering boil… it’s for the next step.

Whisk egg yolks, sugar, Marsala and salt in a large glass bowl until blended well. Set bowl over the saucepan of simmering water – do not allow bottom of bowl to touch the water. Whisk egg mixture over water till thick and creamy… abt. 4 minutes. Remove from heat and with a large spatula, fold the melted warm chocolate into the egg mixture… blend well together.

To Serve: Have your best 6 glass parfait cups to serve in. Can dollap whip cream on top and a few berries if desired.

Image result for zabaglione recipe giada

He learned this recipe form one of his favorite cooks on TV… Giada De Laurentiis (Giada’s Zabaglione on The Food Network)

While visiting my son in Florida… he forgot to buy the wine… so no Zabaglione was made… he owes me still!!!

Continue reading more of the A to Z…  Cooking Famiglia Italian Foods and Memories

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2019: Y… A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories: Yes we made Pasta

2019: Y… A to Z  Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories: Yes we made Pasta

I’m back for “Year 4” of the A to Z… April Challenge!

My first year of this challenge had me racking my brain for a writing topic… especially as I didn’t quite understand the process. But finally I came up with 2016: Southern Foods and Memories. They said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.  2017: Conversations with Mama was a somewhat easy one for me as I’d journaled our conversations for years so I researched some of my favorite topics to write on.  2018: All About Nancy Drew has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another to equal it. It literally had me researching every day for over six months… researching, reading and perfecting every post. I was totally consumed with Nancy Drew for months… and still am! I didn’t want to “not” participate this year, but I was drawing a blank. Finally, mid February, I came up with writing on my husband’s Italian family foods and memories. I did my Southern foods the first year, so it was time to finally give his family their due! I’m also participating in the yearly 52 Ancestors 52 Stories this year… I am really feeling over-extended this month. April is a tough month for me, as we usually are traveling to my mother’s and my son in Florida… but somehow I’ll manage!

mom pasta machine

Yes we made Pasta!

I had such fun Saturday afternoons making pasta in my mother in law’s kitchen. That’s one recipe she must have had in her head, as I have found no written recipe in any of her recipe books. In searching and reading pasta recipes… I see why she had no written recipe… you really don’t need one.

Egg Pasta Dough

2 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting

4 eggs

2 Tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Add 2 cups of your flour onto the table… and just like my mother in law did.. make a well in the center to add your eggs into. Crack eggs, one by one, into a large measuring cup with the oil, mixing well with a whisk. Pour into the center of your well… and get your hands busy breaking up the eggs and mixing into the flour. You can also begin with a fork and gently stir around, incorporating the flour into the eggs until it turns into a shaggy mix. P.S. Be sure and crack eggs in a cup and not your well… you want to make sure that no “shells” sneak past you!

Begin mixing the dough with your hands to form into a ball, as you add the extra 1/2 cup of reserved flour… that craggy mess will soon turn into a smooth ball. At that time, take your bench scraper and clean up your working area and dust working surface again with clean flour. Add dough and begin kneading until the dough begins to feel smooth and look satiny… usually about 7 – 10 minutes. Sprinkle more flour if you need more during the kneading to keep it from being sticky or too soft.

Now… Time to Rest the dough!

When your dough ball is ready for a rest… clean off your work area again, and shape your dough into a ball… tucking dough edges underneath to make the ball. Cover with a large “overturned” bowl and let it rest for about 30 minutes… then you’re ready to roll. This dough makes about 1 pound of pasta.

Divide dough into a couple of pieces and roll with either a rolling pin or pasta machine… as thin as possible, but never paper-thin. It depends on what type of pasta you are making as to the next step. The only pasta I ever saw my mother-in-law make was sheets for manicotti… so out would come her pasta roller and after she had rolled out pieces of dough, we’d feed small pieces through the machine… over and over until “she” told us it was the right size. I don’t remember the numbers she set on the machine, but she knew when it was the right size. You might need to add a little flour to the dough before rolling it through to keep it from sticking on the rollers. Nothing is worse than having to stop and pick out sticky dough on a clogged machine!

Before rolling the pasta through the machine, mom always covered her bed with a clean white sheet… that was the holding area for the rolled pasta before cooking. After the pasta was rolled and cut into lengths for the manicotti, it rested a bit on the bed to dry. Once all the pasta was made, rolled, and rested… the pots of water was brought to a boiling roll.

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The famous pot which boiled all that pasta and water that dripped all over the floor… and we continue using it today!

Now for the fun part…

Fresh pasta doesn’t take long to cook, and once it’s ready… you best be ready… with all hands on deck! I remember those Saturday afternoons… the cooked pasta was dumped  quickly on the table, water dripping off onto the flour… hands all around the table. The cooked pasta had to be quickly separated or it glued together faster than a speeding bullet.

As we separated the cooked pasta, we quickly added the ricotta filling and began layering the manicotti into waiting baking dishes. This is not a dish to prepare by yourself… or you’d even want to… but a dish made with fresh pasta is the best! This was a dish that my mother-in-law usually only made at holidays… as it is a lot of work!

The only regret I have on making pasta, was not having the incite to have taken photographs of all of us around that kitchen table… laughing and joking as water was dripping off the table… we were all a hot mess by the time we finished! Everyone that stood around that table, can still visualize those days… and remember those good times without a photograph… but that doesn’t stop me from wishing that I still had one!

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Even though I don’t have the family pasta making photographs around the table… I have found several family pictures of my husband’s family around the table at other events!

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around table

Continue reading more of the A to Z…  Cooking Famiglia Italian Foods and Memories

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© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved

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Nancy Drew: Happy 89th Birthday Nancy Drew!

“Nancy Drew”

Happy 89th Birthday Nancy Drew!

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I made this card for my granddaughter Ella’s 8th birthday!

The first Nancy Drew “book” appeared in print on April 28, 1930… just twenty-two days after my mother was born. Although the character of Nancy Drew was technically “born”… but, born at age sixteen… then later aged to 18 when they did revisions, and many years later, she regressed back to age eight in the Nancy Drew Clues Crew! We all wish we could go back and be that eight-year old girl again… but it seems only Nancy can accomplish that!

Nancy Drew turns 89 years old today… and just look at all she has accomplished during her lifetime!

Nancy Drew has appeared in:

  • 175 Mystery Book Stories:  (1930 -2003)
  • 1-56 were the classic original Nancy Drew Stories
  •  Nancy Drew classic books were revised (1959 -1979)
  • 6 Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys: Be a Detective Mystery Stories (1984 – 1985)
  • 69 Nancy Drew Notebooks Stories (1994 – 2005)
  • 25 Nancy Drew on Campus (1995 – 1998)
  • 124 The Nancy Drew Files (1986 – 1997)
  • 47 Nancy Drew: Girl Detective (2004 – 2012)
  • 40 Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew (2006 – 2014)
  • 18 Nancy Drew Diaries (2013 – current)
  • 13 Nancy Drew Clue Book Series (2015 – current)

Miscellaneous Nancy Drew Books:

  • The Nancy Drew Cookbook: Clues to Good Cooking (1973)
  • Nancy Drew Picture Book: Mystery of the Lost Dogs (1977)
  • Nancy Drew Picture Book: The Secret of the Twin Puppets (1977)
  • The Nancy Drew Sleuth Book: Clues to Good Sleuthing (1979)
  • Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: Super Sleuths (1981)
  • Nancy Drew Ghost Stories (1983)
  • Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: Super Sleuths #2 (1984)
  • Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys: Campfire Stories (1984)
  • Nancy Drew Ghost Stories #2 (1985)
  • The Nancy Drew Scrapbook (1993)
  • Nancy Drew’s Guide to Life (2001)
  • Nancy Drew Mad Libs (2005)
  • Clues to Real Life: The Wit and Wisdom of Nancy Drew (2007)
  • The Lost Files Of Nancy Drew (2007)
  • The Official Nancy Drew Handbook (2007)
  • Nancy Drew Classic Paper Dolls (2011)
  • Nancy Drew & Her Friends Paper Dolls (2012)

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I wrote my yearly April A to Z 2018 challenge on

All About Nancy Drew

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Nancy Drew in the Movies:

  • Nancy Drew: Detective (1938)

  • Nancy Drew… Reporter (1939)

  • Nancy Drew… Trouble Shooter (1939)

  • Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (1939)

  • Nancy Drew “Get a Clue” (2007)

  • Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (2019)

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Nancy Drew in Television:

  • The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977-78)
  • Nancy Drew: (2015) CBS pilot made, but series never picked up
  • Nancy Drew CW series (2019) I’m anxiously awaiting this series!

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The girls were excited to watch the movie… even Molly who wasn’t interested in saying cheese for the camera!

While visiting my three grandchildren, Nina, Ella and Ana, in Florida, I brought them the 2007 and 2019 Nancy Drew movies… and they fell in love with them instantly… and watched them almost daily. They especially loved the new movie as it was filmed in their great grandmother’s hometown of Monroe, Georgia… and we’re excited when I pointed out sites where I stood when it was filmed. You can read my post on the making of the Nancy Drew movie… HERE.

DSC_0564FIXThe “Haunted House” in the Nancy Drew movie! It was absolutely beautiful to see in person!

While watching the 2007 Nancy Drew movie, Ella disappeared quickly to only return with two books in hand… telling me how she’d checked them out from her school library… she was super excited that they matched the movie we were watching. The girls wanted to watch “Nancy Drew” everyday as soon as they came home from school!

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Ella was excited to learn that a movie  had been made about the very books she’d discovered in her school library! As she’d already started reading the books, she related to the movie from the scenes she’d seen in the books, and anxious to return to school to tell her teacher about the movie.

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Ella holding her favorite books and movies!

My granddaughters are ages 9 and 6 (twins) and were a little scared of the haunted house scenes at first, but after watching once… they eagerly anticipated those scenes… often narrating what was happening! Ella, the 9-year old would repeat Nancy’s words before she did, and they’d all talk to Nancy… saying, “see there’s the pink footsteps“, or yelling out loud… “watch out Nancy“. They quickly learned what “clues” were, and looked for them in the movie. After the movie ended… they’d yell out… “let’s play Nancy Drew and find the pink footsteps.”

I asked them what they thought about when Nancy turned the bully “blue”…. and they all responded that while it was funny, it was wrong, but they also wanted to know why the other two girls, Bess and George, didn’t get into trouble also… as they were just as involved in that escapade!

After watching both movies, which are entirely so different, and with an entirely different looking Nancy, I asked them which one was their favorite. They hesitated, but all said, “we love them both.” They had favorite scenes in both movies and looked forward to watching them over and over. After discovering how the drawers opened in the kitchen in The Hidden Staircase… they thought it very clever, especially when Nancy walked up on the open drawers like a staircase… and naturally they all wanted to go and discover a hidden staircase in their house. I’m sure they have drove their mother mad after I left in playing Nancy Drew and running through the house looking for clues! I think I’ll make some pink footprints and send for her to leave out one day and there be a gift box waiting for them at the end!

In talking about Nancy Drew to my granddaughters, I explained that in the books, Nancy Drew is a master at everything she does… and like a Girl Scout, she’s always prepared. After telling Ella how Nancy never leaves home without a “bag” in her car with an extra set of clothes, flashlight, bathing suit and a first aid kit… I could see her mind swirling…. and I’m wondering, if at some point, she might pack her own Nancy Drew bag!

Ella was amazed when I explained how Nancy was written as an expert at everything she did in the books… from swimming, skiing, horseback riding, skydiving, driving, cooking, tennis… but most of all… an expert at being a detective, although it was often said… how she was only an amatuer detective. Nancy Drew is quite the role model to look up to, and I wonder how the young girls of years ago looked at her, as I have no memory of being in awe of all she accomplished.

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Ella heading out for a horse riding lesson… wearing her favorite shirt!

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Want to read more Nancy Drew stories click HERE 

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2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks  Week 17 (April 22 – 28) At Worship

2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Week 17 (April 22 – 28) At Worship

“first” joined Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks on its “first” year in 2014… and what a whirlwind year that was… writing, editing and researching daily for 365 days! As much as I wanted to continue the following year, I found that I didn’t have the time to continue another year with that type of research… although I did continue blogging and writing stories at my own pace, which allowed me to write on other topics as well as family stories when ideas came my way… but I’ve often missed it. The first year were no specific weekly prompts like today… but I’m taking a different spin on them. There will be some posts on a specific ancestor, but most will be memories that spring from those prompts. Head over to 2014 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks to read about my ancestors in the first years challenge.

If you’re new to genealogy, make your “first” stop to Amy’s website for genealogy ideas or even join in on this 52 Week challenge… you learn by doing… not procrastinating! There is no right or wrong… anything you do is a start!

At Worship

Siloam Baptist Church

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Siloam Baptist Church in Siloam, Georgia

This is the church my grandparents, Edgar & Ola (Askew) McKinley attended. My mother remembers her father taking her to church when she was small… she has memories of a woman pinching her cheeks there… and how she hated it! Granddaddy was a man who believed in God, but didn’t believe he had to sit in church to prove it… and unless someone was forcing him to go, he did his praying behind the mule every day in the field.

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Perry Methodist Church… Perry, Georgia

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This is how the Perry Methodist Church looks today… and how I remember it!

My parents were never the type to attend church “every” Sunday… I’m thinking they probably only went if I was involved in an event. Mama tells me that I attended nursery school at the Baptist church in Union Point. This was where she said I embarrassed her when I sang a little song that granddaddy taught me…

I had a little dog named Jack, and I tied him to the railroad tracks… along came a train and went toot toot… and little Jack went poot poot!”

My parents moved their letter to the Baptist church in Perry when we relocated there, but I didn’t want to be baptized a Baptist… typical teenager… wanting to be where the crowd was…  at the Methodist Church.

After attending the Methodist Youth Fellowship in Perry, I had asked to be baptized there… as all my friends seemed to be Methodists. I’m not sure if they had a Baptist BYF or not… maybe that’s why all my friends were Methodists. Every Sunday evening was filled with teenagers for MYF… but I don’t have many memories of attending church on Sunday mornings. My parents eventually moved their church letter to the Methodist church.

Mama often talks about God today… but she’s never been one to sit in a church pew. Her thoughts are more that God is everywhere, not just listening when you sit in church on Sunday; she feels that she is closer to him when working in her garden.

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First Baptist Church, Union Point, Georgia

My grandparents, Paul & Evelyn (Little) Bryan attended church here… possibly even meeting there at a church dance… as it was said that’s how they met. I went to nursery school here before moving to Perry.

Stay tuned for Week 18… Road Trip!

Continue reading 2019: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks over HERE!

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2019: X… A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories: Xmas Seafood Sauce

2019: X… A to Z  Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories: Xmas Seafood Sauce

I’m back for “Year 4” of the A to Z… April Challenge!

My first year of this challenge had me racking my brain for a writing topic… especially as I didn’t quite understand the process. But finally I came up with 2016: Southern Foods and Memories. They said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.  2017: Conversations with Mama was a somewhat easy one for me as I’d journaled our conversations for years so I researched some of my favorite topics to write on.  2018: All About Nancy Drew has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another to equal it. It literally had me researching every day for over six months… researching, reading and perfecting every post. I was totally consumed with Nancy Drew for months… and still am! I didn’t want to “not” participate this year, but I was drawing a blank. Finally, mid February, I came up with writing on my husband’s Italian family foods and memories. I did my Southern foods the first year, so it was time to finally give his family their due! I’m also participating in the yearly 52 Ancestors 52 Stories this year… I am really feeling over-extended this month. April is a tough month for me, as we usually are traveling to my mother’s and my son in Florida… but somehow I’ll manage!

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Xmas Seafood Sauce in Florida (2018)

Seafood sauce on Xmas Eve is a big tradition with Italian families… and known as the “feast of the 7 fishes”… but often end up with more than 7 fishes on the table.

When I first began celebrating in their Xmas traditions, we didn’t eat at Grandma Minnie’s on Xmas Eve… we ate with Grandma Nonni… who didn’t celebrate in the same manor. Nonni made homemade pizzas for Xmas Eve… and pizza I ate. By the time we arrived at Grandma Minnie’s, all their seafood fishes was gone… and at that time, it was ok with me. I wasn’t missing what I didn’t know. It was much later on when I was introduced to the famous seafood sauce… and it took a few years to really develop a taste for it… which soon become a much anticipated meal.

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Rose (daughter in law) holding one of our many seafood dishes of the 7 fishes on Xmas Eve… and wearing a Santa pin I painted!

Grandma Minnie always began her seafood sauce on Xmas Eve morning… a sauce filled with blue crabs for flavor and she always liked to add small lobster tails; I loved when I found one in a scoop of extra sauce on my pasta. After the sauce was made, she spent the afternoon frying many of the other seafood items like shrimp, shiners, and cod; the easiest dish prepared was the shrimp cocktail… but my favorite was the stuffed shrimp. The one fish I never touched was the Baccalà… which in Italian means… salted codfish. Whether they really liked it or not… it was more served out of tradition. I always thought the shiners served was funny… as it’s really a bait fish; Steve and I dragged for shiners in the summer when we fished. This small bait fish was fried all intact… you ate it whole from the head to the tail… hubby loved them!

In the early years of when Grandma Minnie’s sons were home, it was Freddie who contributed the Xmas Eve crabs for his mother’s sauce… they never went to the store to buy like we do today. In living next door to the West Haven Yacht Club… it was easy for Freddie… as the crabs always hung around the pier pilings. My husband and I even crabbed there many years ago with Uncle Frankie, but catching them during the summer wasn’t the same as at Christmas. For some reason, I never want, or enjoy this dish at any time of the year other than Christmas; it just never appeals to me at any other time of the year. I have frozen crabs in my freezer right now… we bought them to cook for Xmas Eve… but hubby and I both ended up sick… and they just never were used! I’m hoping they will be good this year… if we get the urge for seafood sauce!

Like all things in life… things change at holidays with the passing of family members… and it felt so wrong when we stopped having Xmas Eve dinner in Grandma Minnie’s kitchen! It was now time for me to learn how to make the sauce… and with Aunt Dolly’s help, I had a recipe. She also never learned by watching her mother… but instead called her on the phone when she wanted to make. Those are times you look back… thinking… why wasn’t I watching her cook when I lived home! I never watched my mother cook either… never even gave a thought to paying attention!

 It’s my husband who now makes the seafood sauce… kicking it up a notch… as he says! Like everything else he cooks… he takes his time and …….. nothing is wasted; since no one wants to take the time to eat the blue crabs after dinner anymore, he takes the time to pick out all the crab meat… adding back into the sauce. Definitely makes it thicker and more tasty; he also adds a few cans of crab meat to his sauce.

Let’s get cooking…

Xmas Seafood Sauce!

crab sauce

Note: Through the years, we have changed in adding 3 packages of blue crabs, and 4-5 cans of crushed tomatoes… in wanting to have leftovers! If you don’t have basil leaves… feel free to add dried parsley. As hubby loves garlic… I know he always adds more than from the original recipe here… and that’s ok. Like I told him, add your spices in the beginning… but be forewarned… spices do cook out, so taste along and reseason as needed!

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Note: A little change to my original directions above from my family cookbook… After sauteing the crabs and they’ve turned orange… remove them from pan. Add all your cans of tomatoes and spices… then add your crabs back in. It just makes it easier to stir all the tomatoes and spices together without having to deal with the crabs in the very beginning.

After a couple hours of simmering, hubby removes the crabs… grab them with tongs and lightly tap the sauce off of them back into the pot. Believe me… there’s way too much sauce hiding in all the nooks and crannies of the crab shells to waste. If you don’t plan on really eating them after your meal, then this is a good time to let them cool… and pick and scrape out all that good crab meat to add back into your sauce. We use seafood forks and pick through the crab meat… before dumping it back into your sauce be sure and search for any spiny pieces clinging to the crab meat.

This would also be the time to add any cans of crab meat you’re adding in. Like I said, hubby kicked up my recipe a notch by adding 3-5 cans of white crab meat into the sauce… nearer the end of the cooking. No one has ever been disappointed with his crab sauce! Usually in early November we start buying the cans of crab meat when it’s on sale… crab sauce isn’t cheap to make, but it’s only once a year… so splurge!

Everyone has their own traditions and way of making the sauce. Grandma Minnie always made hers on Xmas Eve morning… some make it the day before and say the flavor sets in more… but hubby is stubborn about wanting to make it the same day he’s going to eat it. I usually made it the same day also, unless I was working late, and then I’d make it the day before. I remember those rush… rush days… of coming home from work and running around my kitchen making sauce and stuffed shrimp and everything else I needed. I think I enjoy the crab sauce even more now… since I don’t have to make it!

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All My Girls with Santa in 2013

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This is the best part of Xmas Eve… having all five granddaughters together… watching them run about and rip open presents… food is not on their priority list right now… it’s all about what’s in those packages under the tree! (2016)

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And then the silly reindeers appeared!

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Santa arrived by Fire Truck on Xmas Eve 2017… the girls were thrilled to pose with Santa!

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While the “seafood sauce” is the adult favorite… it’s the desserts that kids wait for… they save room for favorite cookies and cupcakes!

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Let me hear about your Xmas Eve seafood sauce… what are your ingredients? It varies from family to family!

Continue reading more of the A to Z…  Cooking Famiglia Italian Foods and Memories

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2019: W… A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories: Wheat “Easter” Pie

2019 A to Z: W… Wheat “Easter” Pie

Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories

I’m back for “Year 4” of the A to Z… April Challenge!

My first year of this challenge had me racking my brain for a writing topic… especially as I didn’t quite understand the process. But finally I came up with 2016: Southern Foods and Memories. They said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.  2017: Conversations with Mama was a somewhat easy one for me as I’d journaled our conversations for years so I researched some of my favorite topics to write on.  2018: All About Nancy Drew has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another to equal it. It literally had me researching every day for over six months… researching, reading and perfecting every post. I was totally consumed with Nancy Drew for months… and still am! I didn’t want to “not” participate this year, but I was drawing a blank. Finally, mid February, I came up with writing on my husband’s Italian family foods and memories. I did my Southern foods the first year, so it was time to finally give his family their due! I’m also participating in the yearly 52 Ancestors 52 Stories this year… I am really feeling over-extended this month. April is a tough month for me, as we usually are traveling to my mother’s and my son in Florida… but somehow I’ll manage!

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Wheat “Easter” Pie… I tried to rush the A to Z for this to appear before Easter, but it just didn’t work out that way!

“Torta del Frumento”

Easter pies were an oddity to me as I celebrated my first Easter in Connecticut with Steve’s family… and if you haven’t wrinkled your nose yet at the thought of a Wheat Pie… well go ahead…as I sure did! All I could think of was the many rolls of “wheat” in the fields… and thinking… who the heck puts grains of wheat in a pie? Well, it seems that Italians do at Easter… and after many years of shaking my head… I finally had a slice… and I was hooked!

My mother in law didn’t often make this pie, but it was usually made at Grandma Minnie’s house every Easter and often more pies than needed were cooked… as she liked to give everyone a taste, and enjoyed sharing with the family. Aunt Nancy usually came to help her mother with the pies…. and it was an all day affair.

easter ingredients

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My recipe for Italian Cream can be found on Letter “I” on Ice Box Cake.

Was there a recipe for this pie in the beginning… NO! It was another family favorite that I had to create a recipe for. I went to watch, measure ingredients, and write directions… after all, Grandma Minnie didn’t need recipes… they were all in her head. Everyone would say, “call grandma and see if it’s 1 cup or 2″... but I wanted a recipe to preserve for the future generations. So on that day, as they cooked, I measured, and asked “lots” of questions… but the one thing I didn’t do that day… that I should have… was to take pictures of Grandma Minnie at the table… in her apron, making pies! I think I did a good job of capturing the ingredient amounts, as I’m told my pies always come out good! That’s a compliment… as I’m “not” Italian!

Note: I try and make my sweet pie crust ahead of time… and make extra, as no matter what I do, I always end up with extra filling. It can be baked without a crust… actually some people do just that, but I love, love, love my sweet crust… it’s just not the same without Aunt Mary’s sweet crust. Grease the pie dish well whether baking in the crust or plain with no crust.

I learned this year that they also sell wheat in a can that has already been cooked… so that means no soaking… or cooking… but until I taste it myself, I think I’ll opt for the original way of soaking and cooking it! If you’ve used the can variety, do let me know!

Continue reading more of the A to Z…  Cooking Famiglia Italian Foods and Memories

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2019: V… A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories: Vongoles with pasta

2019: V… A to Z  Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories: Vongoles sauce over pasta

 I’m back for “Year 4” of the A to Z… April Challenge!

My first year of this challenge had me racking my brain for a writing topic… especially as I didn’t quite understand the process. But finally I came up with 2016: Southern Foods and Memories. They said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.  2017: Conversations with Mama was a somewhat easy one for me as I’d journaled our conversations for years so I researched some of my favorite topics to write on.  2018: All About Nancy Drew has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another to equal it. It literally had me researching every day for over six months… researching, reading and perfecting every post. I was totally consumed with Nancy Drew for months… and still am! I didn’t want to “not” participate this year, but I was drawing a blank. Finally, mid February, I came up with writing on my husband’s Italian family foods and memories. I did my Southern foods the first year, so it was time to finally give his family their due! I’m also participating in the yearly 52 Ancestors 52 Stories this year… I am really feeling over-extended this month. April is a tough month for me, as we usually are traveling to my mother’s and my son in Florida… but somehow I’ll manage!

I think I can safely say that before marrying into an Italian family, I had never eaten any of the foods I’m blogging on this month… such an underprivileged child I was! Growing up in the South where we ate fried chicken, okra, black-eyed peas, butter beans, mashed potatoes, creamed style corn and southern biscuits! Oh My…!

clam dish

Vongoles “clams” over pasta

clam ingredientsclams directions

This pasta dish is from a friend at work who enjoys cooking… and it was delicious! My son makes almost the same dish but often throws in either chopped cherry tomatoes, or a can of crushed tomatoes; his dish is very similar, except he adds no butter or canned clams. All pasta dishes are made with garlic, olive oil, and parsley and then throw in whatever you’d like… cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli rabe… it’s all up to you! Our ancestors cooked with what they had in their pantry!

“Clam Cooking Memories”

Clams (Vongoles) were a big treat in my husband’s family, especially at Grandma Minnie’s house. Uncle Freddy was the official “clam digger” in the family, and living directly on Long Island Sound definitely helped. Freddie loved the water and often walked on the beach at low tide to dig for them… that was the best time, as they loved to burrow down in the muddy bottom. He’d stomp around with his feet until he saw water squirt up… that gave away their hiding places! A full basket was always brought to his mother to cook… but I always wondered if she was as excited to see them or not… as it meant a lot of work for her.

Besides cooking and serving the clams over pasta, Aunt Mary remembers the clam stand her brother Andrew had one summer at Savin Rock; he opened it with Uncle Frankie. Their stand was near the Beach Street pier… not far from their house.

Sadly… Uncle Andrew’s clam puff recipe was never written down…only in his head.

Clams were always the main attraction at the Fourth of July clambake at Aunt Carmel’s house in Bristol, Rhode Island every summer. The clams were gathered early in the morning and layered in seaweed, also from the beach… it helped to steam and cook everything. On top of the clams, they added potatoes, corn, hot dogs, sweet potatoes… and I’m told a big onion on top was a must. Aunt Carmel’s husband Tony had a large brick fireplace in his backyard where he did all the summer cooking… and the aroma of the foods had everyone anxiously anticipating the clambake to be uncovered.

Continue reading more of the A to Z…  Cooking Famiglia Italian Foods and Memories

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2019: U… A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories: Uncle Frankie’s Pickled Eggplant

2019: U… A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories: Uncle Frankie’s Pickled Eggplant

I’m back for “Year 4” of the A to Z… April Challenge!

My first year of this challenge had me racking my brain for a writing topic… especially as I didn’t quite understand the process. But finally I came up with 2016: Southern Foods and Memories. They said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.  2017: Conversations with Mama was a somewhat easy one for me as I’d journaled our conversations for years so I researched some of my favorite topics to write on.  2018: All About Nancy Drew has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another to equal it. It literally had me researching every day for over six months… researching, reading and perfecting every post. I was totally consumed with Nancy Drew for months… and still am! I didn’t want to “not” participate this year, but I was drawing a blank. Finally, mid February, I came up with writing on my husband’s Italian family foods and memories. I did my Southern foods the first year, so it was time to finally give his family their due! I’m also participating in the yearly 52 Ancestors 52 Stories this year… I am really feeling over-extended this month. April is a tough month for me, as we usually are traveling to my mother’s and my son in Florida… but somehow I’ll manage!

I think I can safely say that before marrying into an Italian family, I had never eaten any of the foods I’m blogging on this month… such an underprivileged child I was! Growing up in the South where we ate fried chicken, okra, black-eyed peas, butter beans, mashed potatoes, creamed style corn and southern biscuits! Oh My…!

Uncle Frankie’s Pickled Eggplant

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Hubby and I just happened to stop at Uncle Frankie’s one Saturday afternoon… arriving to find the garage door open and him busy making his mothers famous pickled eggplant. I documented my finding that day… asking countless questions… as I wanted to leave with a somewhat semblance of a recipe!

In Uncle Frankie’s own words…. “My mother made this every year… it was a ritual at our house and always served at the table. She often used my father’s old wine press to squeeze the eggplant dry, but before using that, she only used her hands; the press made the process much faster, especially when making a large batch. When I was old enough, I became the one who helped mother make it every year… I loved helping! Later, when it became too much for her, I took over the job over of preparing it every year… while she supervised! It tasted “just like Mother’s” because I made it so often while she watched… making sure I was doing it right.”

Anytime you’re gifted a homemade bottle of pickled eggplant… it’s a treasure. I took home a bottle that day… and I treasured it… making it last!

Aunt Mary also made it, but in quite a different fashion… but using the same ingredients. Like many things Aunt Mary made… she learned to make in smaller quantities, and she often made only one jar or two at a time… and all by hand, no wine press… squeezing the eggplant dry, wrapped in cheesecloth.

Ingredients Needed:

franks eggplant ingred

Franks directions.jpg

I didn’t note in my recipe, but I believe he skinned the eggplant before cutting in small long strips. I don’t leave the skin on when I slice to fry, as I think the skin is bitter, but many do leave it on. I’m also not sure on the ratio of the red hot peppers vs the green peppers, but it all depends on your taste. If you like foods hot… then add as much as you like. I probably would add more than 2 green peppers which I had in recipe. This is a type of food prepared where there really isn’t a specific amount of ingredients needed… make it to your liking.

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It’s quite a process to make and all hands on deck are needed… as you can see from the photos. We recently inherited Uncle Frankie’s wine press… which was in dire need of repair.

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Uncle Frankie would be proud of nephew’s restoration!

It was on an early September morning in 2002 when I first went about preserving this recipe for the family cookbook I was working on at the time. Uncle Frankie and his friend, “Frank the plumber,” had been busy since about 8 that morning. We had arrived around 11:30 a.m. and found him hard at work peeling the garlic, while “Frank the plumber” was chopping peppers…. and cousin Johnny Jr. was squeezing the eggplant dry with the wine press  I remember Johnny was laughing as he said, “I’m just the rookie here, so I get the low man job.

As I sat watching, Uncle Frankie began telling me the recipe… all from memory… and how he puts it together. It had always been an un-written recipe, but now I was recording it through pictures and creating that paper recipe… finally!

franks making

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As I sat there smelling it… I quickly sneaked a taste before the last bit went into the jars… boy was it good! I managed to cut the recipe down to make a smaller amount of about a dozen jars from what he was making. If you want an even less amount… cut it down as Aunt Mary says… using only one eggplant. She told me her secret ingredient is “lemon juice”… which she squeezes over the eggplant strips to keep them from turning brown.

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Grandma Minnies birthday partyFIX

Grandma Minnie celebrating her 83rd birthday… daughter Cecelia (my mother in law), son Johnny Cambino, son Frankie Cambino.

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Sadly, our family lost Uncle Frankie on May 28th, 2016. We all surely miss this guy… he was one of a kind… with always a story and joke to entertain you! He was called “Gabby” in the Army… you can imagine why!

Thank You for your service Uncle Frank!

Continue reading more of the A to Z…  Cooking Famiglia Italian Foods and Memories

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