Saturday, October 29, 2011

November 29, 2011- La Festa Della Castagna... Part 2...

I have been finding such cute things to share regarding the castagna that I just thought need to be shared. My kids thought this one was a lot of fun. :-)

HERE You will find a nice little selection of proverbs (proverbs or quotes which, to be honest, are not very encouraging), indovinelli (riddles), e conte (like rhymes or poems)...

I liked this one which explains why the castagna sometimes grows big: "L'acqua d'autunno fa grossa la castagna." That means "The waters of autumn make the chestnuts grow big." More or less.)

Here is the poem/riddle I memorized with my kids as I was helping THEM to try to memorize it. Hahahah...

Indovinello (title)

Son piccina e rotondetta (I am small and round)
Son dolcina, son moretta (I am sweet and brown)
Son di razza montanina (I am a mountain thing)
dell' autunno son reggina (I am the queen of autumn)
Son dei bimbi (I am a thing of children)
la cuccagna (um... not sure...)
E mi chiamo... (and I am?...)
La castagna. (The chestnut.)

November 29, 2011- La Festa Della Castagna...

Today is La Festa Della Castagna or The Festival of the Chestnut. Towards the end of the harvesting season of the chestnuts, towns gather to have a party. They give away free chestnuts, offering booths to buy other goods and then a band that has been hired plays LOTS of traditional music, and dancing ensues by locals who know the Tarantella and lots of the other tunes. There are people of all ages, of all walks of life, and there is excitement in the air.

I went online in search of some info on the "castagna" (Cahs-tahn-yah... Chestnut), and I found some cute resources for children. I made a copy and had the kids take them to their teachers. Two of my kids returned having to memorize one of the poems. Well, perhaps the teacher had it prepared for them already. I hope so, or their extra work may have been attributed to me. I am glad I can help find some cute, new stuff they can use for their students, though. Call me an over-zealous mommy, but any new helps are worth looking into, in my frame of mind. Keeps life interesting.

Anyway,

http://castagneitaliane.blogspot.com/2010/11/detti-e-proverbi-legati-ai-marroni.html
This site had some neat little proverbs regarding the chestnut or castagna. Frankly, I do not understand them all, but someone out there might appreciate them anyway. Some of them are interesting, though. I would translate them, but many don't translate well and will sound odd if I do. Some could be in an almanac for how they are related to giving clues by how the weather is in January or during the summer... like the weather in those months affect the crop to come. Something like that. By the way, another name for the castagna, I have recently learned, is marroni (mah-rolled r's-oh-neh)

Here they are:

"Quando il vin non è più mosto, il marron è buono arrosto"

"Da Maria a S. Michee la castegna la va o la vee"

"Gennaio secco, castagno ogni ceppo

"Era buona e saporita se ci crede ancor mi tocca di leccarmene le dita per sentir dolce in bocca"

"Quanti necci e farina e polente , e castagnaccio, se ne fan certe pappate da pigliare il calcinaccio…"

“La castagna l'ha la coda, chi la chiappa è la sua” (The chestnut has a tale. It belongs to whomever catches it.) See??

"Castagne verdi per Natale sanno tanto e poi vanno a male"

“Dove son passati i ruspaioli, non si sfaman più neanche i maiali”

“Sei come le castagne, ogni tre un bacaticcio”

“Hai la testa bucia”

“Ha cavato la castagna dal fuoco con la zampa del gatto”

"Cavar le castagne dal fuoco"

“Sole e acqua, gonfia la lappa, acqua e sole gonfia il marrone”

“Gli è avanzato men di una castagna”

“Fare una buona polenta di castagne, cuocere un uovo, fare il letto al cane, insegnare a un fiorentino, sono le cose più difficili”

“Per Santa Maria, 12 Settembre, il marrone fa la cria (si inizia a formare)"

"Nel tempo delle castagne il porco ride e la pecora piange"

“I castagni non fecero mai aranci” (Chestnuts will never make/be oranges.)

“Per San Michele la succiola (castagna lessa) nel paniere”

"Per San Simone e Giuda casca l'acerba e la matura"

“Se piove al solleone castagne tutte guscione”

“Quando piove di giugno la castagna si secca senza fummo”

“Per San Martino, castagne e buon vino”

“Benedetta la castagna e quel frutto che la mena siam satolli io e la cagna e la pentola è sempre piena”

“La donna è come la castagna; nella di fuori, e dentro è magagna”


http://www.proverbi.info/proverbi/castagna.html
Here is one proverb that was not mentioned as those above, so I decided to list it as well.

“A San Michele, 29 Settembre, la castagna è nel paniere”

http://www.proverbipopolari.it/proverbi/Proverbi-campani-Proverbi-della-Campania-Proverbi-regionali.asp?proverbi=campania&pg=1

Here is another proverb not mentioned before:


A San Michele 'a castagna sotto a 'o pere.
A San Michele la castagna sotto al piede.

http://www.filastrocche.it/nostalgici/filastro/castagna.htm

Here is a filastrocca (like a poem) of the castagna written by someone names Simona:


La castagna
(Se vi piace questa filastrocca, dovete ringraziare Simona (29 ottobre 2000).)

La castagna nasce nuda
poi si veste con la spina
lei patisce poverina
ma nemmeno la si lagna
la buonissima castagna!


http://www.filastrocche.it/nostalgici/filastro/fila2.htm
Filastrocca della castagna
Questa è la filastrocca della castagna,
che entra di bocca in bocca dalla montagna.
La castagna non si bagna
quando piove su in montagna;
nel suo riccio imbacuccata
al riparo se ne sta.
Quando poi fa capolino,
il momento è ormai vicino,
la stagione è incominciata
e in un sacco finirà.


http://www.fantasiaweb.it/poesieaUTUNNO.asp#Farina di castagna
Some of these filastrocche were just too cute not to share... These were all found at the same site listed just above.


Farina di castagna
(A.Sforna)
Nel bosco si odono
castagne che cadono
escono dai ricci spinosi
che si aprono.
Poi la dolce polpa
sarà frutta e farina
buona a mangiarsi
e bella in vetrina.


Girotondo dell’autunno
(da “L’Arca di Noè” ed Leonardo)
Giro giro, giro tondo
l’autunno è in tutto il mondo.
Sotto gli alberi giganti
i funghi sono tanti.
Ci son sulle montagne
le noci e le castagne
e poi nella pianura
c’è l’uva ben matura.
Vi sono i bei frutteti
che tutti fanno lieti
mele e pere succose
per le bimbe golose.


Indovinello
(da “Raccogli idee” ed. Tresei scuola)
Son frutto gustoso
ho il riccio spinoso.
La buccia ho moretta
son dolce e duretta.
Se in acqua son cotta
mi chiamo ballotta:
se al fuoco son posta
io son caldarrosta.
Io vivo in montagna
e mi chiamo…
(castagna)


La castagna
(anonimo)
C’è un frutto rotondetto,
di farina ne ha un sacchetto:
se lo mangi non si lagna,
questo frutto è la castagna.
La castagna in acqua cotta
prende il nome di ballotta.
Arrostita e profumata
prende il nome di bruciata.
Se la macino è farina:
dolce, fina, leggerina:
se la impasto che ne faccio?
Un fragrante castagnaccio.


Indovinello
(da “Raccogli idee” ed. Tresei scuola)
Non è per capriccio
se nasco in un riccio.
Son buona, son bella
lessata o in padella.
Son frutto autunnale,
non faccio mai male,
mi trovo in montagna
e son la…
(castagna)


Ottobre
(Anonimo)
Il tuo pennello dipinge
i boschi e i prati.
E’ pieno il mio cestello
di grappoli dorati.
La castagna e il riccio
sorridon tra le foglie.
Viva l’autunno…
e tutto ciò che si raccoglie.


LA CASTAGNA (Inviata dall'Ins. Giusy)
C’è un frutto rotondetto,
di farina ne ha un sacchetto;
se lo mangi non si lagna,
questo frutto è la …….. castagna.


L’AUTUNNO (Inviata dall'Ins. Giusy)
Foglie rosse , foglie gialle,
È arrivato l’Autunno.
Tanti frutti buoni avremo
e noi li mangeremo:
uva castagne e melagrane,
tanto succose e appetitose,
delizia di tutti i bambini golosi.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Homemade Birthday Parties in Italy: M's 1st Birthday...

M had two birthday parties... One on her actually birth date, and the other we had at a local pizzeria/ristorante (restaurant). I did nothing for her birthday at home except make a cake and take a kid picture.

This is M with three of her brothers.



And this is her very simple cake. :-)



Unfortunately... I just realized that the pictures we had of her restaurant party have disappeared from my file. AH! So... I have nothing to show for it. Sniff-sniff...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chestnut Season And Recipe Links...


This image is from http://www.chestnutsonline.com/...

This month, October, is chestnut harvesting season. Chestnuts are called "castagne" (Cahs-tah-knee-eh)in Italian. My father-in-law has already begun harvesting or picking (raccogliendo... Rah-cohl-ee-en-do). I am just getting better after a seriously bad cold (un raffredore... Rahf-reh-doh-reh), so I have not gone yet; but the chances are that I will soon, now that all of the kids (bimbi... Beem-bee) are in school or preschool (Scuola... Skoo-oh-lah). Of course, I will not go when they are home for sickness or any other reason.

Chestnuts are very popular to this particular area of Italy. They grow in trees and are protected by very tough and spiky shells. As they begin to dry, these shells begin to crack, expose the seed which is the chestnut, and often the seed then falls to the ground. So... a harvester goes to pick up those seeds. Sometimes the shell has fallen with the seed inside, and that is when I have just used my shoe to roll it a bit on the ground to encourage it to open.

By the way, wearing work gloves or old dish gloves IS highly recommended as the spikes sure hurt if they poke the skin. And, the only real danger is that there are often splinters in socks and pants left causing irritation at the end of the day due to dried out spikes that have broken off and attached to clothing. Other than that and normal autumn weather, and long hours bent over, of course, it is easy work.

And, at this site, this site, you can find some interesting facts on the health benefits of chestnuts.


This image is from the site http://pearlconcussion.blogspot.com/

The following link is a neat find. A lot of information on one page, easy to browse through. Though it is in Italian.

http://paneamoreecreativita.it/blog/2009/10/100-ricette-con-le-castagne/

It has 100 recipes (in Italian) for using chestnuts. I was particularly interested in the recipe for "Gelato Di Castagne" (Chestnut Ice Cream). Hmmm... May have to figure out how to make that one! I also want to, eventually, make the "Crema Di Castagne" (Chestnut Cream filling).

I have tasted a few different ways that chestnuts have been cooked or prepared. My most favorite is roasted. When done correctly it is just yummy. I will occasionally eat them boiled, after they have been dried. It is super sweet that way. And... there is another way... like a toasted and dried mix which almost makes it taste as if it has been sweeted with some sort of liqueur, but it hasn't. A more acquired taste that way. I have also had a cake roll with a mix of chocolate and chestnut cream, too.

I think that some of my preferences may be due to the fact that some of the recipes including chestnut flour or cream were perhaps not following a good recipe, so I would like to try for myself to see if I will love this healthy and sweet alternative.

For now, I hope that you can utilize some of these recipes. Oh, I have also found a site called chestnutsonline that has information on all kinds of things chestnut, including gluten-free recipes and some "Recipes from Tuscany". I have not looked at the entire site, but found it interesting, so I will pass it along to you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

And This Box Says: Be Afraid! Be Very Afraid!...


"Teme L'Umidità"... Which means in box language... "I Am Afraid Of Humidity! It hurts me!"... more or less. :-)

Woh! Information Overload!...



Image from my friend, Anne's, blog called The Italian Dyes: Based On A True Story. Click on her name to read about her adventures in living in Italy. This pictures made me giggle. I kind of thought that maybe they gave so much information on this roll of toilet paper in case you had nothing to read in your "spare" time. Like saying, "Rest assured, friends. This roll from your toilet paper is eco friendly. Just know that if, per chance, you have to use an outhouse, in a million years, this roll will NOT be there." Not sure, but... it is interesting in an odd way.

It is funny to me that each of my friends who also live here have some very different experiences than I. Anne has a lovely family, a sweet sense of humor, and shares lots of snapshots of their lives through words and photographs. Enjoy!!

The Big Job That's Worth The Effort...


This picture is titled "The Big Job"... Click on title for link.

Disclaimer: I did not choose the picture for any other reason than it made me giggle and I thought it was cute since we were mentioning "The Big Job" and all. So... Moving on...

I have so many things I have been wanting to post here, but have not been able to make it to the keyboard to do so. I did come across this post, and I really just wanted to share it. I am sure that there are many mothers, especially,and, yes, some fathers, too, who can echo what this mother expresses in this post below. I wonder how many, actually.

Anyway, please do take the time to read this post by Medea at Perogies & Gyoza, a Canadian mama in Japan. Just click on her name, and it will take you directly there. It is a post that echoes the challenges of having a child learning two languages and the battle of keeping balance between the mother tongues of both parents. There is sometimes jealousy or hurt involved, but there is also tremendous pride. Medea expresses herself honestly and eloquently, and I just felt it was worth reading.

And, since I am having issues leaving comments right now; Here is what I wanted to say to her, but could not publish...

"You are clearly a mama who cares and is interested in the best for her children. Keep up the good, and hard, work of pouring into your kids. They are sponges, ready to take whatever you have to pour into them, so I DO believe that there will come a day when you will see the fruit of your labor. We live in Italy, go to school here, and are daily confronted with Italian, but my kids also love the English language. I battle with similar things that you are battling, but I am also encouraged that, at their own pace, and in their own time, they are getting it. It may not be the way I hope, but... Don't we spend our whole lives learning? A little maturity, a lot of opportunity, and our pouring into them... it all goes to building up kids who WILL eventually get it. Keep up the good work, Medea mama. You can do it. You are not alone in your journeying."

Okay, if anyone knows her, please DO pass on that message. I cannot for the life of me figure out why I cannot leave her a message. Bummer, but... I did make a post out of it. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Soon!