Thursday, April 16, 2009


Famiglia: We are blessed. My children have grown up with four grandparents who live twenty minutes away. Four grandparents who raised their children and can just give their grandchildren unconditional love in the way of chocolates, Easter Wheat Pie and affirmations that everything they say is of the upmost importance to them.
Both my husband and I remember two of our grandparents. The fact that my children will always know who their grandparents are is a great joy. I know how lucky we all are. My husband and I are in our fifties. We are - ageing. Our parents also are. They are battling challenges. My father has battled something for three years and is still carrying on the fight. This Easter he couldn't be in great crowds. And my husband's lovely family - is a great crowd. Having not hosted a Haas family celebration in three years, I decided it was time. The downside being - my father could not come. So, the day before Easter, my kids and I went over to Woodbury to color Easter eggs and I brought them a sampling of our appetizers and desserts. My father was so sweet - while we were coloring Easter eggs, he kept peeking under the wrapings to see what goodies were on the platter.
And even though my husband's family is not Italian, I could not have an Easter without an antipasti platter. And - because there are so many of them - I wanted to divide the goodies so the platters could be accessible to more hands. I went Italian - but not extremely Italian. They are German/English Midwesterners. There are some things they don't understand! But even when they don't understand - they are appreciative.
This is what my parents got a platter of:

Sicilian olives, pepperdew, prosciutto, salame, provolone, asiago, mushrooms marinated in lemon, oil and herbs, tomatoes marinated in a champagne vinaigrette, fresh mozzarella marinated in olive oil and Italian herbs. If I was serving a roomful of Italians - I might have been more adventuresome. But I wanted it eaten up - that's my role as cook - to please my guests. As it turns out, it was gobbled up both here and in Woodbury.
Today - the Thursday after Easter, I was craving something - not Italian. And found it on Gloria Chadwick's site - The Foods and Flavors of San Antonio. We had some mighty fine tacos. And they, too disappeared. I am off to Fargo for the weekend (yes, I saw the movie). My son is going to graduate school at North Dakota State University and we are scoping out apartments. Another stage in our life. Another milestone in our famiglia.


Heather said...

i think the best part of italian families is the .... family! i love that it feels like there's people crawling out of the cupboards in my family, and that there are so many generations still around in my family.

that antipasti platter sounds DELICIOUS!

Dewi said...

I always like the antipasti, yours look so good and delicious.

Sara said...

Good luck apartment hunting.

Your anti-pasta platter looks amazing. We aren't Italian but I think I might have to add it to our family gatherings.

Caroline said...

I was fortunate to grow up with both of my grandparents and most of my extended family nearby as well. I got to see both of my grandparents on a weekly basis and my whole family was able to celebrate all the holidays together. I'm so thankful that I was able to have such a childhood!

Your antipasti plate looks delicious! We just got back from having dinner, but looking at your pictures made me hungry again!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I hope your father will soon get better. You are lucky to have such a family... Two weeks ago, I lost my english grandfather and now I have only my grandmother left. I could never see my grandparents on a regular basis as they lived too far away and that's sad...

A gorgeous platter!



Donna-FFW said...

Love your antipasto platter, it is one of my favorite appetizers.. you won my giveaway Ill need your naz.. check my blog. Perfect photo claudia!

Wanda..... said...

Thanks for your visit and comment...My children grew up living close to their grandparents...and now all of my grandchildren live within walking distance to us...makes for many good memories...Love your recipes...have put you on my reader.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing antipasti platter! I haven't had one in a long time - yum!

Tangled Noodle said...

The antipasti looks delicious! I so enjoy posts like these, not only because it reiterates the importance of family but also how food can expand our horizons while also bring us closer to home. My husband's family is solidly Midwest (IA, NE and MN) of Croatian and English/Irish heritage, so you can imagine how it shook things up when he brought home a Filipina (albeit thoroughly Americanized)! Fortunately, all of my in-laws are adventurous and game for anything new.

Wishing your father well!

joe@italyville said...

What a great post. I hope you had a wonderful Easter... and it sounds like you did.

unconfidentialcook said...

We sometimes have "cheeseboard" for dinner (as Emma calls it)--and it's really good! Yours looks perfect!

Sara said...

I love antipasti platters, yours looks so good! My parents just live 6 miles away, I feel lucky that we live so close.

Claudia said...

Heather! Paul's family is not Italian but it reminds me of my NYC family - indeed there are children in the cupboards!

Elra and Sara: I think the fun part of the antipasti platter - is you can do anything!

aroline: I love hearing how grandparents were a part of your lives. When I was single I was amazed to hear people say, "Oh! I have to go home for the holiday." I relished it.

Rosa: I am sorry for your recent loss - I had a faraway grandmother and I adored the time I had with her because it was infrequent. I didn't take it for granted.

Donna: What? I won something???? Me???????

Wanda: How wonderful that you can walk to your grandchildren! My son is thinking of settling in CA - so I guess I shall have to winter there!

Five Star Foodie: You wouldmake the most exquisitie antipasti platter and put mine to shame - you are so beautifully visual - as most of you are.

Tangled Noodle: I love the mixing pot of families - learning ne traditions - introducing my children to the Haas and Gresio foods and customs.

Joe: Thanks for the well-wishers. It looks like you also had a joyous Easter.

Unconfidential Cook: My kids learned to do a "spread." Cheeses, pickles, strawberries. Basically, they would forage the house and stick everything on platters. I miss that.

Sara: I stared and your antipasti platter (and Donna's) a lot! I do cook from all your blogs. I had better start taking photos - at the end of th month, I will do a wrap-up!

Pearl said...

oh wow!

Elyse said...

Your kids are so lucky! I've only really known my Nana, but she is enough for 4 people. Talk about a force to be reckoned with. She's totally fabulous. I'm so glad that you were able to have Easter celebrations with both families. By the way, your antipasti platter--totally fabulous!

Claudia said...

Elyse: My grandmother and her daughters (including my mother) are always described as a "force of nature." I love your description of your grandmother. So strong. So Italian.

Unseen India Tours said...

Wow this is so nice !!