When the Italian’s came to the United States, they developed many customs that were not part of their lives before they came here; creating a culture that is independent of any other. As I continued to think about this, I thought that it would be an interesting subject to share with you my readers about Italy’s cultural icons. Since, my great grandparents came from Italy to the United States I can understand the culture behind my families heritage. It must have been extremely challenging for them to come to another country, with another language and now have to learn how to fit in with other customs that they did not understand. I feel very blessed and honored to have come from a background of exceptionally strong and dedicated men and women to seek a better life for their families. Here are some of the famous Italian Cultural Icons that may give you a better understanding of why Italy is the birthplace of Western Culture and is often nicknamed "ll Bel Paese" (The Beautiful Country)
Visual Arts: Over the centuries, Italian Art has gone through many changes. Italian painting is traditionally illustrated by warmth of colors and light. Famous paintings and figures are Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo’s David, others by Raphael. Donatello, Caravaggio, Botticelli. Many of these artifacts are religious in nature.
Cinema: The Italian film industry was born between 1903 and 1908. Some famous icons are, Dario Argento, Rossano Brazzi, Federico Fellini, Isabella Rossellini, Marcello Mastroianni, Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Anna Magnani, Roberto Benigni and Dino De Laurentiis.
Fashion and Design: Italian fashion is regarded as one of the most important in the world. Milan, Florence, and Rome are Italy’s main fashion capitals. Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana, Ferragamo, Gucci, Prada, Pucci, Valentino, and Versace.
|"Cooking With Nonna"|
Religion: Roman Catholic is by far the largest religion in the country. The Roman Catholic Church (Vatican City) has been separated from the state, but still plays a role in the nation’s political affairs.
Italy is filled with beauty, culture, and history. There is so much more to this boot shaped country and its people. My recipe this week is one that my great-grandmother would make and has been passed down to me. My great-grandmother Sofia came from Calabria, in Italy. This recipe can be a side dish for any entrée or served along side a Frittata for lunch.
“Sofia’s Italian Baked Tomatoes”
6 medium tomatoes (ripe but firm)
2 cups of plain dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup of Pecorino Romano Grated Cheese
3 tsp minced fresh parsley leaves
3 tsp minced garlic cloves
2 tsp of minced fresh basil
Salt & pepper to taste
5 tbsp (plus) olive oil
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Use a baking pan and spray with Pam or coat with olive oil so tomatoes will not stick, then set aside. Cut tomatoes after washing, in half diagonally. Gently squeeze out the juice and the seeds. Be careful not to puncture the skin. Place in baking pan cut side up. Mix the bread crumbs with the basil, minced garlic, grated cheese, and parsley in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, after cooked. As the grated cheese has a salty taste. Add some olive oil and mix with hands. When it feels like a sandy consistency then you are ready to fill. If you need more oil, put in a small amount each time until you get the right consistency. Now take your tomato and top each one with your bread crumb mixture, gently filling them. Drizzle with a small amount of oil evenly on top of each tomato half. Bake, about 30 minutes uncovered, until tomatoes are cooked, (soft) and stuffing is golden brown and crispy. Remove from oven and cool for about 15 minutes before serving.
Yield: 12 halves
*********A wine to pair with your tomato dish would be a Sauvignon Blanc or even a Pinot Grigio.
(Please Drink Responsibly)
Till Next Time………..
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