Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mother's Day "la festa della mamma"

Mother’s Day is an annual holiday that recognizes mother’s and motherhood. In the United States we celebrate Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May. The holiday was created by Anna Jarvis who lived in West Virginia. The year was 1908 and she wanted to accomplish a dream her mother had, which was to have a celebration for all mothers. She kept promoting the idea and even enlisted John Wanamaker, a wealthy business man from Philadelphia. Her persistent promoting finally paid off, President Woodrow Wilson finally make it an official holiday in 1914. Eventually the holiday became so commercially publicized that Anna Jarvis ended up opposing the holiday she helped to create. When she died in 1948 she regretted that it had become a holiday in the United States. Today, Mother’s Day still remains one of the biggest days for selling flowers, greeting cards, and other gifts to celebrate mothers. It is also the biggest holiday for long -distance telephone calls. Carnations, became the traditional flower to represent the celebration of Mother’s Day. Anna Jarvis, chose the carnation because it was her mothers’ favorite flower. As florists sales expanded the more types of flowers were sold. Florists promoted wearing a red carnation if your mother was living, or a white one if she had passed on.

In Italy, Mother’s Day was celebrated for the first time on May 12, 1957, in the city of Assisi. Throughout Italy, it is usually celebrated on the second Sunday in May just like the United States. Italian Mother’s Day is not as commercialized like the United States. It is a day for families and for very personal expressions of love. Italian mothers, traditionally celebrate Mother’s Day by bringing the whole family together. La Mamma is not allowed to do any housework on that special day. She will have breakfast made for her, (fresh pastries and coffee/tea.) Cards are not as popular either. It is far more common for children to write their own poems or thanks for Mother’s Day than buy a store bought card. As for Italian mothers, attending church on Mother’s Day morning is still an important part of their tradition. In Christianity, the word “mother” is referred to the mother church, the giver of spiritual life.

I remember, as a young girl many a Mother‘s Day that my brothers and I would try to make breakfast for our Mother. We always tried to make eggs and toast, or waffles, and if we really got creative maybe some pancakes. I am the oldest plus the only girl so I was the one who was more responsible. Our breakfast was not the best, but it really showed our mother that we loved and appreciated all that she did for us. Then after breakfast we attended Church, and back home for the rest of the family to get together for a dinner later that day. We would include in our guest list, of course my grandparents, some aunts and uncles, cousins and other relatives that may have been alone for the holiday. You see my parents, especially my Mother was always asking the relatives that had lost a spouse or lived alone to join us as well, not only for Mother’s Day but for all of the holidays throughout the year. She just couldn’t have them be alone on such a joyous occasion. That is one of the many attributes that my Mother possesses which is another reason to love her. She is very kind and generous to everyone. Her attitude is always positive and is always trying to make everyone comfortable. Even if she is tired and exhausted, she pushes to make everyone happy. To her, my Dad and the family are so important. Her children and grandchildren are extra special in her life as well.

Well, Mom here’s to you! “Auguri per la Festa della, Mamma” (Happy Mother’s Day) I just want you to know that you are very special to me. You’re my mother, and a friend also. Just want you to know how lucky I am to have you in my life. Thanks for always being there for me and I love you very much. So “Ti Viglio Bene Mamma” ( I Love You, Mother) to you, enjoy and relax. It is your day to celebrate.
 One of my Mom’s favorite foods is a frittata. It’s a thick, Italian omelet with an egg base but adding anything you like to its contents. It is cooked in a frying pan on top of the stove and sometimes it is finished in the oven. Inside of the frittata, it is moist and can be eaten for breakfast, brunch or a light lunch. It is often make up from other ingredients that had been left over from previous meals. The most popular ingredients to add to the egg base is potatoes, onions and cheese. Veggies can be used but diced into small pieces. If you are going to use veggies, they should be cooked first, as the frittata only takes about 20 minutes or so. You can boil, steam or sauté until tender. If using frozen veggies make sure that they are defrosted and are lightly boiled. If meat is your added ingredient, make sure that it’s cooked and diced into small pieces as well. Left over spaghetti or pasta is another ingredient you can add, just as before, make sure it is cooked and then cut into small pieces. A nice crisp salad is a wonderful addition to your frittata meal.

To prepare to cook your frittata, you can heat some olive oil in your frying pan (just enough to coat it.) Heat your oven to 300° Whisk the eggs with some salt and pepper to taste. Then add your cut up veggies, diced meat or what ever you decide to have and mix with your egg mixture. Now pour the egg mixture into the heated frying pan. Leave your egg mixture to set for about 5-8 minutes. Once you see it set up a bit, now you can place the pan in the oven for several minutes until the top is set and is golden brown. Remove from the heat and loosen the frittata from the pan. Slide it onto a serving dish and serve while still hot or leave to cool. And then enjoy!!!! Buon Appetito !!

Another great addition to you frittata with a salad is a very refreshing drink called a Peach Bellini. It is made with an Italian sparkling wine (prosecco or champagne) and a peach puree. It is a very delicious drink to add to your Mother’s Day festivities. The Bellini was invented by Giuseppe Cipriani, a bartender at Harry’s Bar in Venice Italy, in 1934. It was the vivid paintings with pink hues that a painter by the name of Giovanni Bellini created. This painter was the inspiration that Giuseppe Cipriani named his drink after. It was also Ernest Hemingway’s favorite aperitif when in Venice. If you would like to have a Bellini for your Mother’s Day celebration, please go to Barefoot Contessa web site. Ina Garten’s (Barefoot Contessa) recipe for the Peach Bellini.
As I close this post for now, just a wish for all of my readers who are Mothers to have a wonderful and relaxing day. Everyday should be Mother’s Day. Enjoy the Frittata, your Bellini and make many memories with your family and friends. Till next time…….

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