Category Archives: Learn Italian

San Giuseppe!

I’ve been slacking for a bit on the Italian updates.  But in honor of dear ole St. Joseph, I thought it only fitting that I hop back on the band wagon.  Nothing new in the arena of my Italian citizenship, but hopefully soon I’ll get into gear and find a loophole to move that along.

Two days ago, I celebrated my lack of Irish heritage with a little St. Patrick’s Day fun.  I will celebrate anything. Apparently, March 23 is National Puppy Day. Perhaps that means I should go get a puppy?? Hmmm, I wish.

Well, today is St. Joseph’s Day.  And in honor of my Sicilian heritage, I will celebrate!  The festivities aren’t quite as fun as St. Patrick’s day, but whatevs.  Tonight I will make sfinge.  (Recipe posted here last year.)  I have also been wanting to check out the Italian church in downtown LA.  They apparently have Mass in Italian every Sunday and I’ve never made it down there.  They have a huge St. Joseph’s Table every year and it lasts all weekend.  So, if my plan works out, I will wake up on Sunday morning and venture downtown for some Italian church and food.

And here’s a random Italian phrase to use this weekend… adding this to the pick-up line bank.

Il mio bicchiere si sente solo. Vorresti tenergli compagnia con il tuo?
• My drink is getting lonely. Would you like to join me with yours?

Use it well, my friends.  And Buon la Festa di San Giuseppe!

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Filed under Learn Italian, Mangiamo, Randomness about Italy

All in a day’s work…

I am seriously ridiculous. Somehow I managed to incorporate Italian into most of today. Details to follow… For now, here is the brief summary:

  1. Delicious coffee and cake at Italian bakery
  2. Looked into Italian language schools
  3. Thoroughly researched buying land in Sicily
  4. Came up with brilliant reality show idea allowing me to move to Italy
  5. Wished a couple of people Happy Birthday in Italian
  6. Found a few delicious recipes for classic Sicilian dishes
  7. And finally purchased The Godfather Restoration Set

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Filed under Italian Film, Learn Italian, Mangiamo, Randomness about Italy

Risotto, Bocce and a random phrase

Been experimenting in the kitchen as of late.  Here’s my latest dabble in the art of Italian cuisine: Mushroom Risotto (note, you can check out other awesome recipes too).

In other news, I met up again with one of my Italian groups out here and played Bocce on the beach.  I think I must just be a natural.  My team won with flying colors! Well, it’s either an innate skill or the winds were in our favor.  But I like to think I’m just naturally inclined to win.

Also, my language skills are dwindling, so I bring you a completely random phrase:

Perche lei ha mangiato il mio asino? – Why did you eat my donkey?

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I love to laugh…

So there’s this rumor going around that laughter is the best medicine.  The Italians have a saying that laughter makes good blood or “Il riso fa buon sangue.”  My friend Melia recently wrote an article for the Jackson Free Press:  Laughter, The Best Medicine. Check it out. And one of my all time favorites, Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins (1964):

And lastly, a friend of mine sent me this joke.  I had never heard it before and was pretty entertained. So to ease your ailing immune systems, I bring you a joke entitled “An Italian Boy’s Confession.”

‘Bless me Father, for I have sinned.  I have been with a loose girl.’

The priest asks, ‘Is that you, little Johnny Parisi?’

‘Yes, Father, it is.’

‘And who was the girl you were with?’

‘I can’t tell you, Father, I don’t want to ruin her reputation.’

‘Well, Johnny, I’m sure to find out her name sooner or later, so you may as well tell me now. Was it Tina Minetti?’

‘I cannot say.’

‘Was it Teresa Volpe?’

‘I’ll never tell.’

‘Was it Nina Capelli?’

‘I’m sorry, but I cannot name her.’

‘Was it Cathy Piriano?’

‘My lips are sealed.’

‘Was it Rosa Di Angelo, then?’

‘Please, Father, I cannot tell you.’

The priest sighs in frustration. ‘You’re very tight lipped, Johnny Parisi, and I admire that. But you’ve sinned and have to atone. You cannot be an altar boy now for four months. Now you go and behave yourself.’

Johnny walks back to his pew, and his friend Nino slides over and whispers, ‘What’d you get?’

‘Four months vacation and five good leads.’

That little Johnny… so sneaky.  So for now: Viva Bene, Spesso L’Amore, Di Risata Molto. (Live well, love much, and laugh often.)

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La Mia Famiglia

I’m slightly delayed on this post.  But the last few weeks have brought on alot of family activities.  And being that I’m trying to claim Italian citizenship and embrace my Italian roots, and family is of the utmost importance, I must reflect for a moment.

The Italians have a saying: “A tavola non si invecchia.” Meaning, at a table with good friends and family, one does not grow old.

With all the food, family, and friends I’ve enjoyed the past month, I’m guessing I’ve done more than not grow old.  I believe I’ve actually regressed in age.  I’ll explain in a moment with a story.

The beginning of January started with welcoming a new sister to the family.  My brother Caleb and my new sister Lea were celebrated in great fashion with a massive party.  Family from all sides arrived and literally danced the night away.  I believe my mother actually shocked some of her in-laws with her dance moves.

Aunt Jane (otherwise known as mom) and Aunt Ann dance off (note, they are not twins)

From L-R: Aunt Jane (otherwise known as mom) and Aunt Ann dance off (note, they are not twins)

Quote of the night… My Uncle Desi (my dad’s youngest brother) turns to me in reference to my dancing mother, “Who is that woman? No, seriously, I’ve known her a long while and have never seen her like this.”

Apart from the joyous celebration of Caleb and Lea, I think one thing for sure was evident… our family is blessed with beautiful genes.

After an amazing time at home with family and friends over Christmas and for la festa de Caleb e Lea, I had the obligatory time back in the office before heading back to Louisiana for more festivities.  This time in New Orleans and for the wedding of my dear friends Brian and Gill.  Now I must return back to my initial Italian proverb… family and friends making you younger (basically).

On my flight from LA to NOLA, I, of course, had to go through security.  Handing the TSA lady my boarding pass, I forgot to hand her my ID.  No worries apparently, because she thought I was under 16 without government identification.  Excuse me? Huh? What? Under 16??? Really? Confused and knowing that in ten years I would be highly flattered to be assumed 10 years younger, I pin it on the family and food from the week prior.  Plus, again those Italian genes have yet to do me wrong.

Well, the Italians have another saying, “Chi si volta, e chi si gira, sempre a casa va finire.” Meaning, no matter where you go or turn, you will always end up at home.

The wonderful thing about family is that no matter how often you talk or see each other, you can always go home again.  You can pick up right where you left it.  My peeps in New Orleans may not be part of my genetic pool, however they are family.  And an amazing family at that.  I saw friends I had not seen since we departed that fair city four years ago.  It was a homecoming.  I truly love New Orleans.  And getting to go back for a tremendous celebration for Gill and Brian and have our whole family back together for another big hoo-ra was truly amazing.

One snapshot cannot accurately portray the shenanigans that were had at this extravaganza.  So I’ll just show you the beautiful couple (photo by Jeremy Mau).

Even though we're not related, they seem to benefit from the ridiculously goodlooking genes as well!

Note: Even though we're not related, they seem to benefit from the ridiculously good looking genes as well!

Then, upon returning back home in Los Angeles, I joined another of my many families to celebrate another marriage of two friends – Bryan and Kanako.  No photos from that event, but please note they also will fall into our good gene pool. Plus I ate really delicious lasagna that night… so I’ll call that an Italian event too!

I think two more Italian quotes can finish all this off explaining much of the fun that was had at these affairs.

L’acqua fa male e il vino fa cantare.
– Water hurts and wine makes you sing.

Riempi il bicchiere quando e vuoto, vuota il bicchiere quando e pieno, non lo lasciar mai vuoto, non lo lasciar mai pieno.
– Fill your glass when it is empty, empty it when it is full, never leave it empty, never leave it full.

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Filed under Family, Learn Italian

Italian at the Beehive

In my continued quest to further my Italians skillz, I’ve made a new friend to help me practice speaking.  So my new conversation buddy Federico happens to not only be Italian, but more importantly he’s Sicilian like my forefathers… he even shared my love of traditional Sicilian arancini (which those northern Italians don’t make nearly as good as the Sicilians, no offense intended).

While our first conversation adventure was a little iffy on my part (I kind of need a lot of work), I think it went quite well! Next plan is to have friends studying Italian everywhere, that way I can practice with basically everyone.  But more importantly this will lead to my ultimate goal of having all my friends/family move with me to Italy.

I learned many things this weekend…

  1. Lulu’s Beehive in Studio City is amazing.  Cool name, free wi-fi, good coffee, and possibly good food too.  I can’t vouch for the food, but the fellow next to us had a sandwich that looked pretty good. And word is they have live music at night.
  2. The best way to learn a foreign language is to watch movies or television in that language with closed captioning (not English subtitles).  Federico is apparently going to lend me his Italian copy of High Fidelity. John Cusack è il mio favorito... sigh.
  3. Briscola is a grandma’s game, and if you are under the age of 60, you are a joke.
  4. My grandmother was a Briscola card shark when she was a small child.  Grandmothers everywhere feared that little Bert DiGiglia would hustle them for everything they had… or at least their next batch of cookies.

Ho ascoltato musica pop perché ero misero? O ero misero perché ho ascoltato musica pop?

Translation:  Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?

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Cheese and Pears

As of late I’ve been trying to do more things Italian. Just in general.  I had lapsed on my language studies.  But no more! This past weekend I went down to Culver City to a cute little Italian cafe to join up with members of Fieri to play Scopa and Briscola (two really fun card games, that I hope to teach you soon).  And between my new friends there and other random Italians, I hope to have fairly regular conversation practice.

So, to kick start, I bring back the not-so-weekly edition of useful phrases:

Ambasciator non porta pena.

  • Don’t shoot the messenger.

Al contadino non far sapere quanto è buono il formaggio con le pere.

  • Don’t let the farmer know how good cheese is with pears.

Esse nufesso qui dice male di macuruni.

  • Who speaks badly of macaroni is a fool.

Stavo sognando di voi.

  • I was dreaming about you.

And to note, I might have spilled the beans on the cheese and pear combo. Seriously delicious. See below and then check out coffeeandvanilla.com (recipe below was found there and the site appears to have a wealth of wonderful food combos, ie coffee and vanilla)

INGREDIENTS

3-4 pears (sliced)
100g dark chocolate (chopped)
200g mild blue cheese – I used Gorgonzola Dolce (cubed)
8 crisp rye bread slices

METHOD

Share pears, cheese and chocolate to the plates.
Serve with crisp bread on the side.

Serve 4 people.

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