The weather is looking good (20 degrees+ from here on in!) and we have neighbours that cook everything on the barbeque. If you are outside enjoying the weather, you are also smelling their dinner. So we decided to top their hamburgers last weekend with pizza on the barbeque. We went with our standard pizza dough recipe with a few twists.
Besides getting that slightly charred thin crust, I love pizzas off of pizza stones (or ideally from real pizza ovens) for that grainy flour texture on the bottom of the pizza and the sound of the paddle removing it from the stone. It reminds me of my parent’s restaurant, sold years ago now, where pizzas came fast and furious from the ovens. There’s something about the smell and sounds of pizza straight from the pizza oven that is ingrained in my memory and heart. Trying out our new pizza stone on the barbeque brought back memories and brought the neighbours over to ask what we were cooking!
40 grams of yeast (or 2 packages of instant yeast)
1 cup of lukewarm water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 cups flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil (plus extra for rising process)
It’s a rainy day, so it’s a good day to look back and reflect. Lucky for me, I’ve found a great trove of vintage Italian-Canadian photos to check out and share with you. Simon Fraser University offers a wealth of images, audio and video that gives a snippet of what life was like for early Italian immigrants to Canada. Here’s a few and there’s more to come…
I was digging through recipes trying to find an Italian breakfast cake to serve my mom for Mother’s Day, when I realized that why would I cook or bake for the best cook and baker I know. It might actually be an insult. (The vintage ad image above is meant to be ironic! Just a note!)
So how does one celebrate an Italian mom on Mother’s Day or Feste della Mamma? Besides a small gift (that I can’t mention here right now), I’ll take the time to remember why Italian mothers are so great and hope my own mother is reading this.
1. The food. Lots of food.
2. Love. Lots and lots of love.
3. Passion. Whether in happiness or in madness, they give their all.
4. Her house is my house. It always feels like home.
5. Advice. They are full of it and always ready to listen.
Don’t take my word for it? Well, there’s been a lot of talk in the media lately about which cultures have the best mothers (Chinese and Jewish for example). Writer Joe Queenan from the Wall Street Journal penned “Why Italian Moms are the Best” and got quite the reaction from even more mothers that think their culture does it better. Here’s what he wrote:
I’m a little behind on the blog already this May – I’m celebrating three weddings, six birthdays, two mother’s days and one 40th anniversary so it’s a little busy. But that’s what comes with big Italian families and I love it just the same.
So I’m just going to go out there and say it. It’s my birthday today. Let’s not get into age (particularly the differences between Italian and Canadian birthdays, where the Italian one always puts me a year older), but let’s just say it’s a day to reflect on what has passed and what’s to come. This blog has been an adventure this year and there’s lots to come from it too. So let’s mix birthday with blogging and here’s what we get.
An Italian-Canadian girl’s birthday wish list:
1. I wish for the days of “just dropping by.” I remember a childhood when everyone – siblings, cousins, friends – just dropped by. My grandparent’s house always had a different car in the driveway and a lot of chatter on the back patio. It’s how I remember a lot of summers. It doesn’t seem like anyone just drops by anymore to anyone’s house or maybe I’m remembering with rose-coloured glasses. There’s always scheduling and calling, checking calendars. Maybe we’re all too busy or maybe it’s all just too much effort these days to get off track by a surprise visitor. But I wish for the days with a full house and people just coming by to chat. I wish that I could make my life open to that.
It’s the beginning of May! I had a lot of lofty resolutions five months ago when 2012 started including a goal to read 50 books by December 31. I’ve made the pile of 50 from my own bookshelf alone as I have an affinity for buying books, constantly, and then never getting around to reading them. Some of the books on my shelf have an Italian-Canadian focus, and given my post a few weeks ago about the new books that came out about the internment of Italian-Canadians during WWII, it got me thinking about creating an Italian-Canadian reading list.
The Italian-Canadian books I already have are definitely on my list of “to read”, and I’ll write about them as I get through them, but I was also interested in finding new books and different perspectives. Turns out, Italian-Canadians do a lot of writing! Fiction and poetry are a big part of this collection, and not just Nino Ricci, which was great to see. While I can find records of journal articles and books about Italian-Canadian life, immigration and services all the way back to 1929, I’ve tried to select books that are a bit more modern (1995 and onward).
Here’s An Italian-Canadian Life’s suggested reading list:
Every month, I’ll cover the online news and items of interest to Italian-Canadians collected from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, online newspapers and more.