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TANTUM CUM LIBRIS CUM ISTIS USQUE LOQUAR (only with books, only with these I'll speak forever). NE QUID IMMINUAT DAMNOSA DIES (so that the fatal day won’t consume everything).~~~~~~ Sono americana,ma per più di un decennio ho vissuto e lavorato in Italia, in Veneto. I miei antenati e alcuni dei miei parenti arrivano da Brescia e dalla Val Camonica. Adesso vivo in Ohio e lavoro in una biblioteca. Sin dal nostro ritorno in U.S., più di sei anni fa, mi sono impegnata molto nel mantenere il mio italiano - non un'impresa facile,considerando che l'Ohio fu in primis colonizzato da persone di lingua tedesca. Lavorando in biblioteca, cerco sempre di cogliere ogni opportunità per diffondere il mio amore per la cultura e la lingua italiana tra gli americani,che parlano solamente l'inglese,e incoraggiandoli ad imparare una seconda lingua - l'italiano ovviamente!~~~~~~ I am an American from the United States, but for more than a decade I lived and worked in the country of Italy in the Veneto region. I have relatives who are Italian and they live in the city of Brescia and in the Val Camonica. Now I live here in the state of Ohio and I am working in a public library.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Raspberry-Topped Lemon Cupcakes with Limoncello Glaze

Raspberry-Topped Lemon Cupcakes with Limoncello Glaze

Makes 18
2 cups cake flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cups (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp.
4 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup finely grated lemon peel

Glaze and topping:
3/4 cup (or more) powdered sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons limoncello or other lemon liqueur
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel

18 strawberries or raspberries

For Cupcakes: Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Line 18 standard cupcake pan with liners. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large bowl (I used the BIG KA for this) until fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions. Beat in lemon juice and lemon peel. Divide batter among liners.

Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to racks.

Meanwhile, prepare glase and topping: Stir 3/4 cup powdered sugar, butter, limoncello, lemon juice, and grated lemon peel in small saucepan over low heat until butter melts and glaze comes to simmer... (now, don't get scared...this turns out to be pretty easy)...Whisk in additional powdered sugar by tablespoonfuls if glaze is very thin. Spoon 1 teaspoon warm glaze over each warm cupcake. Cool cupcakes completely.

Arrange 1 berry on top of each cupcake. Drizzle remaining limoncello glaze over them. Let cupcakes stand until glaze sets, about 2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tartarughe Piccole ~ Little Turtles

bill the turtle
Originally uploaded by sevenworlds16
Aaron had several of these miniature turtles as pets during the years we lived in Italy. He also had hamsters as pets. It was always a challenge when we would spend a summer in the U.S. (every three years or so) because we would have to find 'pet sitters'.

The mini turtles had a nice home in the bidet of one of our four bathrooms. Just prior to one trip back to the U.S. I found that one of the turtles had passed away and did not know what do do with him/her (do turtles have a sex?). Anyway, I made the decision, as we were to leave soon for our trip, to bring the turtle to a nearby stream, on a street called Via Cantarana (street of the singing frogs). And I informed Aaron that evening when we were praying before bed that his turtle had gone to turtle heaven, i.e., the stream on Via Catarana. Unfortunately, I did not know that in his elementary school class, they had been learning about pollution, and the teacher had told the children that there was industrial waste in the stream on that very street.

I had told Aaron that I thought the little turtle would be happy in Frog Heaven, as they would sing to him. Talk about having to think on your feet ~ whew! I also told him that his turtle would probably become a full-fledged Ninja Turtle ~ that was the popular TV show for kids even in Italy during that time. Our son was thrilled. Don't know if he told the teacher and his classmates about his Ninja Turtle when we came back from the U.S. Hopefully, he forgot about it.

Now is the Time for Drinking

The quote in its entirety, from Horace's Odes:

Nunc est bibendum, nunc pede libero pulsanda tellus.

which translates:

Now is the time for drinking, now is the time to dance footloose upon the earth.

(In this case, the teacup is not appropriate for the beverage at hand. Salute!)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lavoro per Vivere

As an avid NPR listener, I’ve been taken with a small degree of jealously of late as much of the programming this past week has focused on the veritable “V” word ~ “Vacation”. One program in particular highlighted a 2001 publication by author, Cindy Aron. In the book
Working at Play
, Aron, an associate professor of history, traces the growth of vacationing as a family and a social ritual. She examines the tension between the American work ethic and the concept of leisure. Interestingly, I’ve been reading another book that highlights the topic of the American work ethic and leisure. In
Death by Leisure: A Cautionary Tale
, the author, Chris Ayres, a British journalist, chronicles his return from embedded duty in Iraq with a marine unit, to a new assignment as the showbiz correspondent for a London newspaper. Talk about culture shock! This tell-all opens with Ayres getting the sultry once-over from a beauty in a white bikini at poolside, and everything goes wacky and downhill from there with a bogus assignment to cover singer Michael Jackson, his Neverland estate and his sleepovers. Marveling at the perpetually sunny weather of the sci-fi metropolis, and the Tinseltown crowd of Beverly Hills, Ayres quickly becomes caught up in the whole scene, including getting his own piece of the American dream, a house. “I'm a big fan of bubbles ... they're my idea of a good time”, Ayres writes, but when the housing bubble bursts, the American dream soon becomes a nightmare. Ayres’ book is a wry, self-deprecating and offbeat look at the excesses of America over the last few years, disguised as an expat’s memoir of life in California. As for vacation travel, this expat offered some inspiration to NPR when listeners were asked to share stories of successful vacation travel at $100. a day or less. Our family vacations involved some serious math calculations as we traveled throughout Europe each summer for more than a decade, pre-Euro days. Camping was the order of the day, in a tent. Meals were prepared over an open fire. There’s nothing like ‘spaghetti alla carbonara’ prepared and eaten ‘al fresco’. If your vacation plans require a
, our library offers this service. Planning a trip to Italy? Get inspired by watching the film,
A Room With a View
or better still, read
the classic novel
by E.M. Forster. And remember ~ "lavoro per vivere, non vivo per lavoro" ~ "work to live, don't live to work". Buona Vacanza!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Romeo and Juliet

O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I'll no longer be a Capulet.


A hopeless romantic, my all time favorite love story is Romeo and Juliet. Everyone knows that the story takes place in Italy ~ in the historic city of Verona. Verona is in the Veneto, the northeastern region of Italy where we made our family home for many years.

While living in Italy, I spent a good deal of time in our city library in Vicenza doing research and it was there that I first learned that the true author of Romeo and Juliet was a Vicentino, a man by the name of Luigi Da Porto. In 1530, Da Porto wrote the transcript called Giulietta e Romeo. In the original version, he set the characters in Verona, created Romeo and Giulietta and even created Mercutio, Tybalt, Friar Laurence and Paris. It is a little known fact that Luigi was the original writer and that William Shakespeare only adapted it for stage in England through not much merit of his own. The village of Vicenza (or indeed the people in it) hardly forgave Shakespeare after he took all the credit for the literature of their native son. Da Porto wrote the novel in his villa in Montorso Vicentino near Vicenza. The title of the book was Historia Novellamente Ritrovata di Due Nobili Amanti (Newly Found Story of Two Noble Lovers).

There are several film versions of this greatest of love stories, and although there are aspects of the modernized version starring Leonardo di Caprio that are fascinating to me, I shall forever be enthralled with the classic Sixties version of Italian film producer, Franco Zefferelli.

We can be grateful to Mr. William Shakespeare for his momentous contributions to the English language. Shakespeare is a part of our everyday lives. He coined more than 1,700 words still in use in modern English and his plays influence the way we think about the world we live in. In recognition of Shakespeare’s 445th Birthday, this Thursday, April 23, 2009, has been designated Talk Like Shakespeare Day. Get in on the act and unleash your inner Bard!

My Library Thing