Archive for 2008

christmas wishes from calabria

Buone feste!

1. Hearting Christmas, 2. Menagerie, 3. Stacks of chocolate chip cookies, 4. Tree topper, 5. Snowman with tree on tree, 6. Cheap but cute glittery star, 7. Candy canes, 8. View of the kitchen, 9. Peanut butter cookies for Santa, 10. Puppy in a stocking, 11. Fancy stocking the second, 12. Baby albero di Natale, 13. Nativity scene.

[Original photo at Old Fashioned Christmas Sugar Cubes.]

Be sure to check out all my Christmas 2008 photos on Flickr!

See you in 2009!

the tradition of little boy & tiger wishes

Grab your favorite warm beverage (I suggest hot chocolate with marshmallows), cuddle up to your favorite snuggler, and enjoy the Bleeding Espresso tradition of Christmas Eve by Bill Watterson:

If you’re having trouble reading the text, go here.

It’s almost time!

What do you have planned for Christmas Eve?

2008 End of the Year Meme

It’s time for the end of the year meme!

I first saw this Year End meme at Sundry Mourning, who originally copied it from Gwen’s Petty, Judgmental, Evil Thoughts back in 2004. I filled it out in 2006 and 2007, and now here is this year’s version:

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? Read several books in Italian, knitted with a loom, wrote 50,000 words in a month, visited Palermo, Messina, Savoca and Tindari (including the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna), ate spleen, wrote a weekly column, went to an Italian dentist.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don’t really do resolutions, but I did make a list of goals, and I did pretty well with them. I’ll do it again for next year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Quite a few expat bloggers had babies, but no one in my immediate family or circle of friends, no.

4. Did anyone close to you die? My neighbor from back home passed away recently, but no one else, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit? Only Italy.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? An all-expense paid trip to the States.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? November 4–Gobama!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? The expansion of my writing career and writing 50,000 words during November.

9. What was your biggest failure? Not completing a novel (yes, I have 50,000 words written, but there were others I could have worked on before November’s NaNo).

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Another nasty stomach virus this year. Seems to be a tradition according to last year’s answer.

11. What was the best thing you bought? I would love to say these boots, but they haven’t arrived yet. Damn you Poste Italiane! These are my Christmas and birthday presents to myself! The items I got from Saponissimo are pretty darn amazing as well…who knew you could love soap this much?

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My mom! She came to visit me!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Could it possibly be the Bush administration for the third straight year? Yes, I believe it is.

14. Where did most of your money go? Bills and groceries. Boo.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My mom coming to visit, going to Sicily with Cherrye, and going to see the Sex and the City movie with the girls.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? TI’s Whatever You Like, because of this stunning performance by the students of Ron Clark Academy: You Can Vote However You Like. H/t Paul.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer? I’m pretty happy, probably about the same as last year, a bit thinner (see #10), and richer for sure. Woohoo!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Worked on my novel.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Huh. I don’t know. Let conservative people annoy me?

20. How did you spend Christmas? As I’m posting this before Christmas, I’ll just have to say with P. That’s a given.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008? Yeah with the usual suspects, P and my girls.

22. What was your favorite TV program? House, Sex and the City (yes I’m a bit behind the times).

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Takes too much energy to hate so I avoid doing it.

24. What was the best book you read? The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? I’m changing this to literary because I don’t think I made a musical discovery…Paulo Coelho.

26. What did you want and get? More writing work.

27. What did you want and not get? A visit from my whole family.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Well it’s not the best film but I sure had the most fun watching it–Sex and the City.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 32, and we had a fabulous dinner of grilled tuna and homemade french fries. Yum!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Same answer for the past two years: if someone in my family or close circle of friends from home would have visited or if I would’ve been able to go home.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? Long live the track suit!

32. What kept you sane? My pooches and the magical world of books.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I’ll be honest here. Hugh Laurie is really growing on me.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? What political issue *didn’t* stir me this year? Hmm….

35. Who did you miss? Other than the usual suspects, this year I really missed one friend from college in particular. I’ve thought about our 8-hour car rides to and from school quite a bit, and I wish we had just *one* more Christmas break to go back to school from.

36. Who was the best new person you met? All the girls in Calabria and Sicily.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008. Relaxing is good.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. The Beatles’ classic, Let it Be. Did you know that “Mother Mary” is acutally Paul’s mother, who passed away when he was young and then appeared to him a dream? And did you know my mom’s name is Mary? I love this song, but it’s especially applicable this year:

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

Let me know if you do the year end meme!

menu for hope V for united nations world food programme

Have you heard of the Menu for Hope?

You can read all about it at Sara’s Ms Adventures in Italy, including the details of how to bid on prizes, but here is a quick summary:

Menu for Hope is an annual fundraising campaign held by food bloggers around the world each December. Bloggers offer fabulous food-related prizes for the Menu for Hope raffle; this year, bidding is open between December 15 and December 24.

Anyone can buy raffle tickets to bid on the prizes. For every $10 donated, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on a prize of your choice. At the end of the campaign, winners will be drawn and announced at Chez Pim.

You can find prize lists at the local hosts’ sites:

Proceeds benefit the United Nations World Food Programme, so you’ll be contributing to a great cause while getting the chance to win great prizes.

Can’t figure out what to get the person who has everything? Why not donate in his or her name? You can even print out Sara’s handy dandy vouchers so you can hand them something tangible!

Now go check out the prizes and bid before December 24!

La Buona Cucina Americana: Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of the most traditionally American foods (and one of my personal favorites) to have around the holidays are Chocolate Chip Cookies — ricetta anche in italiano!

Read on...

Michelle KaminskyMichelle Kaminsky is an American attorney-turned-freelance writer who lived in her family's ancestral village in Calabria, Italy for 15 years. This blog is now archived. 

Calabria Guidebook

Calabria travel guide by Michelle Fabio



Homemade apple butter
Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta
Glazed Apple Oatmeal Cinnamon Muffins
Pasta with snails alla calabrese
Onion, Oregano, and Thyme Focaccia
Oatmeal Banana Craisin Muffins
Prosciutto wrapped watermelon with bel paese cheese
Fried eggs with red onion and cheese
Calabrian sausage and fava beans
Ricotta Pound Cake