Ancestral: 11.18.14

Never mind the ethnic hyphen. My body may have been born in America, but my heart and soul are pure Italian. We are bakers, makers, singers, keepers of tales and talismans, the silliest and most serious people on earth. And we love like there’s no tomorrow.

Posted by Gabriella.

My maternal grandmother was born on the Adriatic coast. She taught me to crochet. My fingers bend slightly at the last joint just like hers. She’s been gone for almost 30 years but whenever I do handiwork I see her hands.

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This is the silver St. Anthony medal she wore from her 30s to her last day. It is 83 years old and worn almost past recognition because now I carry it with me every day too.

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My paternal grandmother was from Bari in the south and had an amazing voice, which I do not, but I sing anyway, and I have even taught myself her songs using sheet music purchased in a dusty old shop in Little Italy when Little Italy still contained Italians. I can’t read music.

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Food is a physical and spiritual thing for us, requiring the ancestral recipes and tools. Below, the baking tray for my grandmother’s calzone, which no other living human on earth can now replicate due to some evasive maneuvers regarding the true ingredients. Don’t bother zooming in on the card, this recipe resists even the most gifted baking outsiders. Followed by my Nanny’s ricotta pie lattice top scoring tool, which I am pretty sure predates the dinosaurs.

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And here is my paternal grandfather Enrico, a Southern man of silences and passions who would have been 117 years old last month, but alas, only made it to his seventies and left me before I could get to know him well. My cat Henry is named after him, and I feel him watching over me still, and always.

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This entry was posted by twotigerscreations.

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