Italian Heritage Week

This week is self-proclaimed Italian Heritage week in the Rana Household. I know, it’s a perfectly inspiring name. (Feel free to give me a better suggestion!). When my Grandma passed away this Spring, I spent hours with my sister and my Mom sorting through Grandma’s belongings, reminiscing, and digging through artifacts of an 89 year life. Having been born and raised in Sicily, Italy, my Grandma and her family came by boat to New York City 78 years ago.

Steamship ticket from the journey to America

Grandma had the privilege of witnessing the majority of the 20th century, lived through WWII, saw the end of segregation, had an email address and eventually owned a cellphone. Having buried her husband and two daughters, she poured all of her love into her brother’s family and her daughter’s family. She spoiled us with homemade tomato sauce and meatballs, trips to TCBY and presents from travels.

Not wanting to lose my Italian heritage with the death of my Nonna, I have instituted Italian Heritage Week chez Rana. Why ‘week’, you ask? As I’ve mentioned, we’re not so good with the traditions and schedules. Somehow, ‘week’ sounded much more doable than ‘day’. So, for our first annual Italian Bonanza, I made homemade tomato sauce (the recipe Grandma taught me when I was old enough to help stir), pizzaiola (meat cooked in tomato sauce) and 1 kg of spaghettini. (I too questioned whether it was moral to make 1 kg of pasta. My love for tomato covered carbs won out).

Proof of a delicious dinner.

Claiming a whole week for my Italian heritage ending up being a great idea. This means there’s very little pressure for a Day of Awesomeness, and we can enjoy pasta for supper multiple evenings. And I get to defrost another tub of cannoli filling. WIN.

What about you: how do you celebrate your heritage? Do you have a favourite family recipe? What have your grandparents taught you that you don’t want to forget?

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gayle
    Sep 28, 2012 @ 16:37:37

    Love it! what a wonderful way to honour and remember your Nonna! Sounds awesomely delicious!

    Can you imagine what we will have experienced when we reach that great age?


  2. Adelle Farrelly
    Sep 28, 2012 @ 17:52:06

    Do you have Italian citizenship? I don’t know how far back they allow you to go, but Dan has his! It’s fun! I love having Italian relatives now!


    • Amelia
      Sep 28, 2012 @ 22:44:59

      My parents are in the processing of applying…I’m hoping to have citizenship in every continent, HAHA

      (yay for italian relatives! i should mention i’ve got tons of cousins in Sicily and Milan!)


  3. M'zelle Marloone
    Sep 28, 2012 @ 19:31:16

    awwwwww how nice ! This would make your grandma so proud !
    You should schedule the last day of the week to make the famous chocolate cake your mom makes so well ;).


  4. Sarah
    Sep 28, 2012 @ 20:48:36

    My family is Dutch and all came over after WWII. I love pulling out my Oma’s recipes from Sunday soup (after church) to delicious baked goods. I about weekly make something that come from my Oma/mother. It is very sweet to enjoy foods I remember eating at my grandparents growing up and my Indian husband has come to love our Dutch treats and our shopping trips to the Dutch store.I also love flowers which has been passed down through the generations. This year I planted gladiolis bulbs in honour of my paternal grandmother–it was her favourite flower. I hope I never live in a world without tulips, dutch cheese and a faith in G-d that my grandparents brought with them after their lives and homes were destroyed during the war. We live in a country of which we are very blessed.


    • Amelia
      Sep 28, 2012 @ 22:45:50

      Wow, thank you for this beautiful post, Sarah. Isn’t it amazing to have smells and memories and foods and loves passed on from grandparents? It sounds like you have an amazing heritage–thanks for sharing! I too hope we always live in a world of faith, cheese and flowers!


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