It is a little-known fact that millions of Italian families, whose ancestors arrived during waves of immigration in the late 19th and early 20th century, mark an ethnic and cultural celebration in mid-March. Overshadowed by the overwhelming popularity of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th, this holiday and other traditional Italian observances are hinted at in films like The Godfather, where an iconic scene features bystanders lined up along a parade route following a statue adorned with dollar bills. On March 19th, Italians commemorate the Feast of Saint Joseph (Festa di San Giuseppe) with parades and processions throughout the northeastern states and in New Orleans. Bakeries and families eagerly anticipate the sale and purchase of special fried and baked sweets native to the cuisine of Sicily and the Neapolitan region of Southern Italy. This week’s blog honors those traditions and sentiments with an ode to Italian ancestry and a recipe for the Italian confection most associated with “the festa,” zeppole, a sweet delight which holds an honored place in the pantheon of Italian cuisine. — Editor
We like to end each year with an issue in which we look back at the stories, poems, articles, memoirs, and–well, whatever–that we’ve published during the past 51 weeks. And we have a staggering variety this time around.
We’ll share them with you in a moment. We want to stress that these are not necessarily “the best” articles in their category–just the ones that stood out for us personally, sometimes for very subjective reasons. We hope that you have a list of your own favorites.
The Operatunity SIG has provided a fitting and suitably dramatic finale to OLLI Connects’ month-long tribute to holiday foods and recipes. Originally published in 2020 just for SIG member contributors, Beryl Byles agreed to allow OLLI Connects to reformat the book and share a few recipes for our Act III installment of holiday delectable dishes submitted by our subscribers…..along with appropriate opera selections, of course. And, if you want to delve further into the compilation, the entire updated book is linked to this story. — Editor
I am in the checkout line at the Giant Eagle which is Pittsburgh’s version of Publix. While waiting, I skim an article on Christmas family gatherings: a recipe for a Holiday Ham, glazed with brown sugar and rings of pineapple (the way Mom used to make it), escalloped potatoes, lemony Brussels sprouts, and a Linzer Torte. The picture shows the food deftly plated and arranged on a Christmas tablecloth. There’s a vase with red roses, white lilies and pine.
You want the magazine? The cashier winks at me. Later that night, after my daughter, Sydney’s bath, and of course, her bedtime story, I read to my husband, Larry, in bed from the magazine, The Linzer Torte has two delicious layers of rich and buttery, nut flavored pastry sandwiched together with raspberry preserves. What makes this torte so beautiful is the lattice design of the top crust. Read more
Jane Applegate Belzer Photos by Shelly Belzer and author
The holidays are coming and it’s time for me to challenge my baking skills. I know that sounds dangerous because we all want our holiday treats to be just perfect. So why take on a new project instead of relying on tried and true recipes born from family traditions? I am fortunate to have a couple of friends who are very skilled bakers and they never make the same holiday treats twice. Cookies, pies, breads, cakes and candies that dazzle the eyes and the palates. Impressive. So this year I’m taking my cue from them and I’m baking Stollen or Christstollen as it is called in its German homeland. View more
For the holiday season OLLI Connects is featuring food blogs and recipes over the first three weeks of December followed by a discussion of our favorite issues on the final Monday of 2022. Deliciousness is on the menu beginning with Jane Applegate Belzer's beautiful Stollen. And don't forget to visit OLLI Connects on Thursday, December 8th to discover the identity of the To Tell The Truth competition winner.— Editors
Do you ever start thinking about something and head to the Internet to find out more? That’s a silly question! Who doesn’t? As a child my mother would send me to the encyclopedia to “ look it up” when my curiosity would get the better of me. If I couldn’t find what I needed, a trip to the library would be in order. But today, a world of knowledge is at our fingertips, and sometimes I go down a deeper rabbit hole than I bargained for.
Take, for example, my recent quest for a recipe for an apple cake. When our Food! Glorious Food! SIG met last week, Janet Keeler, our speaker, mentioned that she had recently been baking an apple cake that she could not get enough of. Idea planted. Mmm. Apple cake (more…)
If one helping of Theresa Sokol’s blog wasn’t enough for you, we have another savory selection in today’s post. And we have a personal invitation for you at the end. Read on! –Editor
Theresa D’Aiuto Sokol
I know, I know. You think I am referring to the Covid vaccine, and truth to tell the month of January was indeed a relentless and fruitless quest to get vaccinated. Happily we finally scored appointments for our first shot and have joined the fortunate few who have received the first step toward immunity from the disease that has poisoned our lives over the last twelve months.
However, that shot that is not the subject of this latest blog. Starting in early January I embarked on a quest to learn how to pull the perfect espresso shot with my new Gaggia Classic Pro Espresso machine. But let me back up a bit. (More…)