One hundred years ago today, my great-grandparents, Pietro and Domenica Amateis, arrived in America from the Piemonte region of Northern Italy. The picture above is of them many, many years later, after they'd had nine children. It is one of the few pictures we have of "Nona" smiling. She had a very hard life here in America, but because of her courage to leave her home in Volpiano, Italy, she gave her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren (and there will be many more!) a better life.
This is my great-grandfather, Pietro, on the far left. Wasn't he a handsome guy?
And here is their name at Ellis Island.
In celebration of our family coming to America, we are having a family reunion this weekend, a time to get together and visit and reminisce. We'll be having some traditional Italian fare, food that has been a part of my memory for as long as I can remember.
There will be homemade raviolis made from our homemade salami. We'll have bagna cauda, literally translated to mean hot bath, which is a hot dip made of garlic, anchovies, olive oil, and butter and then you dip vegetables, meat, bread, or whatever else you'd like. It's a regional speciality from Piemonte.
We'll also have polenta (well, I won't since it's not one of my favorites!) and homemade salami. I still remember when our family would get together and make the salami. It was definitely a family affair since it took a lot of people to put everything together.
Besides our traditional Italian food, we'll also have a lot of conversation! That's one of my family's favorite things to do - get together and talk about the old times. I love listening to stories of my great-grandparents. It will be a bittersweet time for me since I lost my grandfather almost two months ago. But I know he will be with us in spirit.
Here's to my great-grandparents, for braving a new world, for leaving the old and familiar behind, and for embracing America!
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