Posts categorized as Family

The only mess allowed in an Italian home…

shelled nuts

Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, birthdays, and Sunday dinners at my grandparents’ house – the nuts and fanuk (fennel) were put on the table after supper. This was a “break” period from eating, before the dessert came out (even though you were still eating). It gave the women time to clean up in the kitchen and get the nice dishes out for the finale. When I say nuts, I mean shelled walnuts, almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts. At this time, 35 years ago, I don’t think supermarkets even sold de-shelled nuts, and if they did, […]

tagged in family, memories

In Lieu Of Flowers…

scratch offs

Flowers remind my mother of funerals. I remember her uttering this notion to my father many times when I was a kid. And around the holidays I recall hearing, “Well, so-and-so sent an expensive arrangement but she knows I don’t like flowers.” It’s the standard mixed bouquet in particular that generates “funeral perfume.”  The arrangement consists of dyed carnations, Madonna lily, Peruvian lily, roses, asters, and a few other fillers. The older you get, the more funerals you attend and you start to take notice of these things. And you […]

tagged in mom, moms

Simple And Delicious Italian Zucchini “Bread”


This zucchini bread is a crowd-pleaser. I know because my Aunt Marie brought it to my Easter party last week and it very much pleased us all. Aunt Marie calls it bread. It contains Bisquick, so that makes sense. I thought it was more like a crustless quiche, but wouldn’t that be a frittata? But the recipe does not include milk. What’s in a name? Call it what you will, this recipe is bellissimo! The taste is punchy. The sweet onions and parmesan cheese are rich and dominant. The texture is […]

tagged in recipe, recipes

Dinner Parties and Chicken Cutlets

the perfect fry

Three days of prep for three hours of perfezione. I learned how to throw a party by watching and helping my mother. We go to extremes. We indulge… we’re Italian. Too much food is all part of it. You need abundance so people feel comfortable around the table. You can’t have “Look at me, look at you.” This phrase I’ve lived with my whole life. Grandpa Ralph coined it. Here’s the best way I can explain… There are a few morsels left on the table. No one wants to be […]

tagged in chicken

Grandma Mary’s Tomato Herb Salad

Do brides these days still buy china? I remember when I told my mother I didn’t want china as a wedding gift. She was really annoyed. I explained that I wouldn’t use it often and when I did, I would be so worried I’d break or chip it. Instead without my knowledge my mother bought me a set of wine glasses, champagne glasses and serving plates, hand-painted in Italy with beautiful fish illustrations. Now that is totally me. And I’m happy she did it, because it is a special keepsake. […]

tagged in grandma, recipes

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Since reading the article in The Wave two weeks ago about Annie McMahon, I’ve been thinking so much about my cousin Tommy, who also suffered from Cystic Fibrosis. In the beginning, everything seemed normal with my cousin growing up. My godparents never let on to all the troubles and pain they lived with. Tommy was my cool, older cousin, always messing around and being nutty. I remember the block parties in Brooklyn, on Herbert street where my great aunt lived. I’ll never forget the time I was running down the […]

tagged in family

I’m That Weird Aunt

Teachable moment - 10 yr olds are too old for the park

Last weekend, my sister and two of her children came to visit for a family fun escape to Rockaway. Normally they visit in the summer, but between Covid-19 and the renovation work we’re doing at the house, the timing didn’t work out. In the summer, keeping a 9 and 10 year old occupied is easy breezy – you take them to the beach all day, get burgers and fries at Rippers, and in the evening you walk them up to Low Tide Bar and they dance until exhausted. Done. This […]

Olives, a Dilapidated Park and My 10 Year Wedding Anniversary

Last week my husband and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. I can’t believe it’s been a decade, and on top of that, we’ve known each other for 18 years. Gosh, we were just kids! It was my sophomore year in college at Pratt when my friend Susie suggested we go to Rockaway to see her friend’s band, A Hundred Thousand play at Patrick’s on Beach 113th. Matt was on drums. There’s a video of this night floating around somewhere, believe it or not! Fast forward to 2009. I […]

tagged in memories, olives

Going Up The Country

Cooperstown NY

I went camping last weekend with my family near Cooperstown. Despite feeling like I might be missing a weekend of Rockaway fun, it was wonderful to be in the country air. There were a few notable happenings I’d like to report. Impossible Burger. On the ride there and the way back, my husband and I stopped for the Impossible Burger at Burger King. I’m kind of addicted.  It’s interesting that fast food places are now serving meat alternatives. It’s great. We’re still talking “fast food” and a processed product but […]

tagged in summer, vacation

Whata Week.

rockaway surf club

The week before last was non-stop. It started on Friday night. It was my friend Rob Bryn’s Birthday and the Surf Club opened just for his party. Headlining was the Ye Mighty Wave with special guests from Rob’s main band — Wild Yaks. Speaking of, they have a new album coming out on June 21st entitled Great Admirer! I’ve heard it and it’s amazing! Opening the show was Tiffany Lyons. Did you catch The Wave article about her a few weeks ago?  She sang a few songs and got everyone […]

tagged in family, vacation