The Warmth of Minestrone

Minestrone has a rich history dating back 100s of years. Its popularity began to take off in the 2nd Century BC when Rome conquered Italy. During that time, economic growth allowed a variety of new vegetables to flood the market.

Instead of being limited to only a few vegetable crops, Italians could instead enjoy a wide variety. It was this new mix of vegetables, and plates being made, that started the minestrone craze.

Gathering ingredients from leftover meals, Italian peasants would make this “poor man’s soup”. That’s why even to this day, there is no one exact recipe for how this soup should be made.

VIDEO – GRACE NATOLI’S VARIATION OF MINESTRONE

 

Annual Pet Blessing in Honor of St. Francis

Each October, we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.  Born a wealthy Italian, Francis gave up his privileged life and chose to live in poverty and devote his life to the less fortunate.  Francis was also known for his love of nature and animals.  He is the patron saint of the environment and animals because he loved all creatures, and allegedly preached to even the birds.  Many congregations have started to bless pets and other animals as a way to mark this day and honor his spirit.  Each October, a parade of dogs and their owners makes its way down Milwaukee’s Brady Street.  Along with the parade, the canines are blessed in honor of St. Francis of Assisi’s compassion for animals.  Alas, this year, the blessing happens virtually.

VIDEO – BRADY STREET VIRTUAL PET BLESSINGS

 

Ognissanti – All Saints’ Day

All Saints’ Day is a Christian holiday celebrated on November 1 in honor of all saints, and is a national holiday in Italy.  It is followed by All Souls’ Day, on which we honor all loved ones who have passed away.  The day is celebrated with prayers, flowers, and, naturally, food.

Different traditions are associated with these two holidays, depending on the region of Italy.  Read this ARTICLE for more information on how Italy celebrates these two feast days.

 

Giorno dei Morti – All Souls’ Day

For many Italians, the most important remembrance is visiting the grave of their loved ones.  Italians use this special time to tidy up the family plot and decorate tombs with candles and fresh flowers.  The traditional flower choice is the chrysanthemum.  These brightly colored flowers are associated with mourning and are at their peak around All Souls’ Day.

Longtime, very active ICC Member, Ann Romano, shares with us her recipe for this traditional All Souls Day cookie – Ossi dei Morti (Bones of the Dead Cookies). 

The cookies are called “bones of the dead” not only because of the day on which they are eaten, but because their shape greatly resembles that of bones.

VIDEO – OSSI DEI MORTI  (BONES OF THE DEAD COOKIES)

 

 

A Child’s Lesson on St. Francis of Assisi

Each October, we celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.  Born a wealthy Italian, Francis gave up his privileged life and chose to live in poverty and devoted his life to the less fortunate.  Francis was known for his love of nature and animals.  He is the patron saint of the environment and animals because he loved all creatures and allegedly preached to even the birds.  In recent years, many congregations have started to bless pets and other animals as a way to mark this day and honor his spirit.

For more information, visit HERE.

 

Lezione di Arte – Art Class

You can be like St. Francis by caring for your pets and, specifically, for the birds in your yard. 

To honor St. Francis, we will make bird seed cookies to feed the birds and make sure they stay well fed and healthy.

Materials Needed: 2 Cups Bird Seed
Thread / String
Sewing Needle (larger one)
Assorted Cookie Cutters
1 Tbsp Unflavored Gelatin or Agar Agar
2 Tablespoons Cold Water
1/3 Cup Boiling Water (have an adult help you with this step)

VIDEO – BIRD SEED COOKIES

 

Sala di Lettura – Reading Room

il Libro (The Book):  Strega Nona

The wonderfully wise Strega Nona shares the six ingredients that make life magical in magnificent pop-up spreads.

Susie Christiansen reads her favorite Italian-American pop-up book to her grandsons and to you.  Feel free to repeat after her when you hear the words “Ripetete per favore.” 

VIDEO – THE READING OF STREGA NONA

 

Family Event – Halloween Family Day

Movie:  Hotel Transylvania

October 25, 2020 at 3:00 pm.  (movie starts at 4:00 pm)

Bring a carved pumpkin to display in the ICC Courtyard Halloween Pumpkin Display.  Carved pumpkins are encouraged, but not necessary to attend the event.  Our goal is to create a large, beautiful, colorful attraction in the Courtyard.

Costumes are also encouraged. 

Once you drop off your pumpkin, we invite you to the Ballroom to hear a short talk about Italian Culture, All Saints Day and All Souls Day from Christine Conley.

And then … the featured presentation:  “Hotel Transylvania” !!

After the movie, movie goers can go to the Courtyard to see and take photos with the pumpkins, and the children will receive a treat bag.

The pumpkins will remain displayed through November 1st.  For more information, take a look at THIS.