In Sicily, they eat this: It looks like baskets of fruit, but it is all made from martorana, which Sicilians will rush to tell you is nothing to do with marzipan. Martorana is made from ground almonds, sugar and a little water, nothing else. Since Sicilians refuse to use anything except the freshest organic almonds, … More What do Dead People Eat?
This event happened when he was six years old, and he lived to tell the tale, obviously. The story startled me, though, as he was so blasé about the whole thing that he only got around to telling me about it last month, after eight years of marriage. He had been hanging about by the … More My husband was nearly shot by the Mafia
I’m excited to find, in mid-2013, that my blog is approaching 1,000 subscribers. I do hope you’re all enjoying it! My readers come from exciting places all over the world. Their blogs are in many language and scripts, some of which I don’t recognise. I even have a subscriber called जागरण मिडिया सेन्टर, and I … More THE GODMOTHER of Sicily, and how to message her on the Auntienet
One of my little boy’s milk teeth fell out recently. He now has two outsize grown-up size teeth at the centre of his mouth, and a space each side of them. He looks like a rodent. “Do you want to leave it under your pillow for the tooth fairy?” I asked him. “Or do you … More What did YOU do with your milk teeth?
In Sicily, if you open your mouth and say something about the Mafia, if you just pronounce the word Mafia in public, the reaction will be sharp intakes of breath all around you and horrified silence. It is a social gaffe even more hideous than meeting your new mother-in-law with your flies undone whilst going … More Padre Puglisi has been Beatified. Can we PLEASE talk about the Mafia now?
My little boy had a fantastic idea yesterday: We should institute an International Joke Day. This is a day when everyone tells every one else a great joke, to cheer up the whole world. I think he is a genius, and so I officially declare that tomorrow, Monday 22 April, is International Joke Day. IF … More International Joke Day
Sorry I haven’t written any posts for so long. I’ve been too busy mopping up puke. My little boy has vomited almost every day for the last three months. The house smells like a bleach factory, and I am buying new mops from the local hardware store so often that the cashier there thinks I … More La Traviata and the Italian Art of being ill Dramatically
This is not something I am writing on a whim. Fair enough, yesterday I went through the trauma of supervising my seven-year-old son while he did his Italian Grammar homework. This was not only traumatic because I didn’t know the right answers. It was also traumatic because he was tired, bored, and doing all he … More Stop Giving Children Homework NOW!
Sicilians have their own unique playing cards. They look like this: The fishermen in my village are always out on the seafront, playing cards on upturned barrels between their fishing excursions. They all shout loud enough to startle the dead at certain card plays. They smack their winning cards down rather like a butcher hacking … More Sicilian card games
In England, Christmas and New Year and all that jazz are pretty much over now. People are ready to think about diets and other unpleasant stuff. Not in Italy. Oh no! The 6th of January is La Befana, the festival more religiously known as Epifania or Epiphany. Christmas gluttony ain’t over till she’s been! This … More This is Not over: The Befana is Coming!
A while ago, I asked my son what he wants to be when he grows up. “I want to be fat,” he answered without hesitation. “Like the Daddy in the Simpsons,” he explained. “Like Obelix the Gaul,” he emphasised. “Like him”, he exclaimed in delight when he saw Japanese hammer thrower Koji Murofushi in the Olympics. … More Are our children beautiful enough?
“I can’t wait for the leaves to turn red and golden and purple when Autumn comes” my little boy announced a few days ago. “Er, they won’t go purple” I said. “Yes they will,” he insisted. “We’re doing Autumn at school and we wrote a poem about the leaves going purple.” Upon investigation of his … More Is Autumn EVER going to come?
“My priest said that if I go to a Hallowe’en party I’ll end up in Hell” I was told by a 10-year-old Sicilian girl yesterday. I was helping her put on her ghost costume and apply white make-up to her face, in preparation for the Hallowe’en party that her mother and I were hosting together. … More God Save us from Hallowe’en!