Italian Cooking & Language Blog

Fare La Scarpetta means to wipe your plate clean with a piece of bread.

What else could you ask for?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Italian Easter Specialities

Buona Pasqua! 
Happy Easter!

Philadelphia's 9th Street Italian Market

I love eggs and chocolate, which makes Easter one of my favorite culinary holidays. There are the large Italian chocolate eggs filled with a surprise gift (or more chocolate) and the decorated hard-boiled eggs. And of course we can't forget the sweet, almond colomba cake. Maybe these treats taste even better because you're "allowed" to eat them first thing in the morning (it isn't just because I'm pregnant and want to eat everything all the time.)

This year we picked up our Italian chocolate eggs in Philadelphia's 9th Street Italian Market. Among the pasta shops, butchers, spice and cheese stores, the Italian groceries were filled with Italian chocolate eggs and colomba cakes for the upcoming holidays. Compared to what I've seen in New York, New Jersey and D.C., the prices were great, too.

Let's see if I can wait until Sunday to open up one of the three eggs we bought. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

St. Joseph's Day Pastries from The Italian Store in Arlington, Va.

Yesterday was St. Joseph's Day and Italian Father's Day. We made it over to The Italian Store in Arlington, Va., for the pastries traditionally eaten on the holiday. While I'd only known the cream filled, fried zeppole, they had three choices for the holiday: sfogliatelle, zeppole and genovese. 

These pastries are so popular that we will place our order early next year because they were already out of zeppole when we arrived for lunch. My husband and I each tried a genovese - a buttery, warm pastry filled with cream dotted with chocolate. Delicious! Since there were more zeppole coming in that afternoon - from New York! - we placed an order for two zeppole and returned that evening for our second round of pastries. 

The pastries were a steep $4.99 each. If they need to be ordered from New York, clearly there's a local market here. Who's ready to open a local, Italian bakery?



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happy Italian Father's Day!

Buona Festa del Papa'! Click here for cards you can print out and color to celebrate your father today.

March 19th is Saint Joseph's Day in the Catholic tradition. Saint Joseph was the Virgin Mary's husband and Jesus' step-father.

One of the traditions is to eat the delicious St. Joseph's zeppole. Try your hand at preparing your own with this Barilla recipe. Photographer Melabee Miller shares pictures of the cream filled, fried pastry on her blog today.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Italian Baby Vocabulary

As we prepare for the arrival of a new baby this June, we're also thinking about baby-specific vocabulary. I'd like to speak to the baby in Italian as much as possible to help the baby become bilingual. Below is the list I've been working on. What else should I add? 

pregnancy (gravidanza)
five months pregnant (incinta di cinque mesi)
maternity clothes (abiti pré-maman)
I am expecting a baby girl (Aspetto una bambina)
I am expecting a baby boy (Aspetto un bambino)
beautiful, big belly (bel pancione) 
maternity leave (essere in maternità)

labor (travaglio)
delivery (parto) 
infant (neonate/neonata) 
hospital (ospedale)
to swaddle (fasciare)
onesie (tutina)

mother (madre / mamma)
father (padre / babbo / papa')
daughter (figlia)
son (figlio)
grandmother (nonna)
grandfather (nonno)
aunt (zia)
uncle (zio)
grandchild / niece / nephew (nipote)

diapers (pannolini) 
change the diaper (cambiare i pannolini)
to pee (fare pipì)
to poop (fare cacca)
to spit (sputare)
to cry (piangere)
to throw up (vomitare)
crib (culla / lettino)
doll (bambola)
bottle (biberon)
pacifier (ciuccio)
to breast feed (allattare)
to take a bath (fare il bagno)
lullabies (ninnenanne) 
sing or rock a baby to sleep (ninnare or cullare)
to kiss (baciare)
to sleep (dormire)
to adore (adorare)
to cuddle (coccolare)
nap (sonnellino / pisolino)
child (bimba/bimbo or bambina/bambino) 
to crawl (strisciare)
daycare (asilo nido)

terms of endearment for a baby:
amore mio
piccino / a
when babies are butterball chubby, "che coscia!" (what a thigh!)

For more on raising an Italian baby, you might enjoy this video for the lullaby Stella Stellina

Friday, March 8, 2013

Happy International Women's Day!

Happy International Women's Day on March 8th! In Italy, it is tradition to give women yellow mimosa flowers. This is my bouquet for you, dear reader. reminds us of the history:

Women’s Day has its roots in two events that took place outside of Italy. On March 8, 1857 a strike by garment workers in New York, led to the formation of the first women's union in the United States. Sixty years later Russian women led a strike calling for "bread and peace" during the twin horrors of World War I and the Russian Revolution. In 1945 the Union of Italian Women declared that this special date, March 8, should be set aside to celebrate womanhood across the country.

Read more about the day's history and tradition in Italy, and outside of Italy, here.