Thursday, August 5, 2010

l'arte d'arrangiarsi

The art of making something out of nothing...
My grandmother taught me this. She learned it from her mother-in-law. I never really knew this was part of my Italian heritage. I thought this was something that my family did out of necessity. My Great-Grandmother, Nonna, came here with her husband in 1923. She was pregnant with my grandfather. They came from Sicily, a town called Fiumedinisi, to Ellis Island. I can't imagine what that boat ride was like, especiallly being pregnant. They went from New York to Washington D.C. My Great-Grandfather, Pop, was a barber. And Nonny work several jobs to help support their family of seven. That's the Sicilian way, work hard. Maybe that's why Sicilian women are so feisty and rugged!

So when my Grandmother married my Grandfather, she was made an official part of the family. Nonny taught her how to cook and how to be a Sicilian. I think she wanted to make sure my Grandfather was taken care of "properly", the way she took care of him all of his life. The blessing in this is that my Grandmother learned the ways of this culture and she passed that down to my mother and to me. 

So, the art of making something out of nothing...
My grandmother first taught me this when we cooked. She said Nonna showed her how to take a small amount of food and feed a family of seven. She showed me how to use things we already had to make my home beautiful. It's something I try to teach to my children, so hopefully they will learn to be content with what they have and pass this valuable skill down to their children.
I'm reading "Eat Pray Love". I heard her mention this in the book. It was one of the things she learned in Italy. She said anyone with a talent for happiness can do this. 

How are you making something out of nothing?? 
Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear.