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Celebrating Columbus Day. . .

10th October 2011

With a quick salute to our neighbors in NYC’s “real” Little Italy—on and around Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.

Fordham University’s picturesque Rose Hill Campus (home of Fordham University Press) is fortunate indeed to be a short walk from this little slice of culinary heaven. If you find yourself in our neck of the woods on this spectacular Columbus Day, be sure to stop by and stock up on some of the best eats anywhere. Perhaps you’ve seen Zagat’s 2011/2012 NYC Food Lover’s Guide? Our neighbors took TOP honors. In the #1 spot and hailed as the “definitive source” for “homemade mozz,” is Casa Della Mozzarella, while the “shrine” of “sublime” pastas, Borgatti’s Ravioli, comes in second. It is especially notable that these two are among 20 establishments that have earned a near-perfect 29 rating on Zagat’s 30-point scale for their Quality. Other top-rated spots in the Bronx include Arthur Avenue’s historic grocery Teitel Brothers, Zero Otto Nove (Zucca, Salsiccia e Gorgonzola antipasta is a must—and a FUP fave!), as well as Terranova Bakery and Addeo Bakery.

In keeping with the holiday theme, we have some Italian American books to go with your nibble …

italianstyleAmerican Woman, Italian Style: Italian Americana’s Best Writings on Women, edited by Carol Bonomo Albright and Christine Palamidessi Moore is an essay collection which seeks to bring awareness to the successes and triumphs of the modern Italian American woman. With topics ranging from cookbooks, inventions, Jewish-Italian intermarriages, and entrepreneurship, the collection offers an in-depth look at modern womanhood from all angles.

Italian Folk: Vernacular Culture in Italian American Lives is another essay collection that aims to dispel popular stereotypes and illuminates Italian American traditions such as Sunday dinners, parades, and basement kitchens as rituals that lend vitality and meaning to the community. Edited by Joseph Sciorra and publishing in June, the book is “a well-researched, admirably varied, and classroom-friendly collection of essays on Italian American folklore and vernacular culture.” (Tad Tuleja, Princeton University).

Still another essay collection that examines the Italian culture through the tradition of domesticity and issues of gender is Intimacy and Italian Migration: Gender and Domestic Lives in a Mobile World, edited by Loretta Baldassar and Donna R. Gabaccia, adds a new dimension to our understanding of nation-building through its examination of the role of intimate cultural processes.

italiandiasporaLastly, Luigi Bonaffini and Joseph Perricone edited the bilingual anthology Poets of the Italian Diaspora. Approximately 27 million Italians left their home country to live and work abroad between 1870 and 1970, a time of historic upheaval in the small Mediterranean nation. This landmark volume presents a truly international selection of works by more than 70 Italian-language poets who are writing in countries for Australia to Venezuela. The poems are presented in both Italian and English, and are also given critical overviews, and a bibliography for each author, rendering it a thorough and ground-breaking work of literature. You can get your copy next month.

Kate O’Brien-Nicholson