An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Opera in the Kitchen

Tomorrow is the day. The boys are home. Joe has the week off. And Nonna is beckoning us to her kitchen for our annual tradition of making homemade/handmade tortellini. E' un tradizione Italiano.

We make 500 of them...one at a time.

Why 500? Half we eat in a bechamel sauce on Christmas Eve, and the other half we eat in a delicious broth on Christmas Day. And, yes, they all get eaten.

Here's what they look like as they dry on the counter:


It looks like a lot of work, but it really only takes a few hours. The best part is that every year during this time my sons (and truthfully, my husband) get a lesson, compliments of Nonna, on a different opera.

My mother is from Verona, which hosts a huge opera season every summer in L'Arena (an open-air Roman colosseum) so she is well-versed on Puccini and Verdi.

L'Arena di Verona

So far, we've done Turandot,


Madame Butterfly,



and Romeo and Juliet (which takes place in Verona).


This year Nonna has planned Aida.


Let me tell you . . . opera is not boring. Oh, my sons could do without the "mushy stuff", but there are plenty of swordfights, suicides, murders, infidelities, betrayals, and deaths to thrill any boy.

Believe it or not, operas make good stories.

The only problem is when Nonna starts singing . . .

14 comments:

Therese said...

Bia-what a wonderful tradition! I love tortellini-I always looked forward to a bowl of it in broth when I lived in Rome!

Kim H. said...

I cannot believe you make all of those by hand - what a gift - and what a special meal to share with your family - and tradition - and memories. And when Nonna starts singing, just have the vino close by.

Kathryn said...

I love reading your wonderful family traditions, and if I had a Nonna who would entertain us with stories of operas then 500 tortellini would fly by too quickly!

Laura said...

What culture!!
What class!!!
I think you should You Tube the singing.....I would love love love it.

Bia said...

Kim-vino is a good idea...but at ten in the morning, well, we wouldn't want to start any rumors.

Lisa said...

Bia ~ we just love, love, love hearing about your family's cherished traditions! Makes me miss the Italian heritage we somehow lack in our genetic pool! &;o) How wonderful to get a taste of some of some REAL tortellini with opera playing in the background! (We're getting a virtual "taste" just reading about it!)

SuzyQ said...

Mmmm, looks delicious. And the opera, I absolutly love the opera. THe first time I saw an opera "Carmen" I was 12 years old and I fell in love :0)... with the drama, the voices, the atmosphere, the costumes...
It's a wonderful experience isn't it!
Wishing you and your lovely boys an absolutly wonderful Christmas.
And Many Blessings for the New Year :0)

Anonymous said...

Only 500??!!! clearly there was too much singing and not enough workiing going on!

Anonymous said...

I agree your family is too big for 500 to last for two meals! That's ONLY 250 per meal devided by six or seven that's only....35 a piece and they look awfully small I hope there are additional courses. And you know you should always prepare for unexpected guests especially around Christmas safe an extra plate for the priest and all

Laura said...

Tag

Laura said...

Oh and Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I am the nonna who loves having her family around, making tortellini and...singing. What kind of Italian would I be if I did not sing while sharing some of her traditions with her dear ones? As for my lack of talent when it comes to singing, it is God's fault! He simple forgot to give me a melodious voice whe he gifted me with a great love for classical music.....
Buon Natale a tutti.
NONNA Massimilla

alerts said...

It seems different countries, different cultures, we really can decide things in the same understanding of the difference!
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GrandmaK said...

And my favorite is....Aida!!! Though I really love them all!!! Wishing you well! Cathy