A Day about Italians Should Be Called Just That

By John M. Viola, President, National Italian American Foundation

For the past few years, as summer fades into autumn and October approaches, I’m inevitably inundated with calls from media to talk about the great elephant in the Italian American room: Columbus Day.


In recent years, communities around the nation have begun to explore the possibility of replacing one of the oldest American holidays with a new celebration called Indigenous Peoples Day.  Fueled by ever more accessible, and ever more complicated histories of the Italian explorer and his exploits on the American continent, voices from many quarters (including many Italian Americans) have called for a re-examination – if not a complete abandonment – of Columbus’s hero status. Far be it from me, a non-profit community leader, to opine on the nationwide trend for tearing down the heroes of the old order. After all, this same exercise has occurred all over the southern United States in relation to confederate leadership.

In my role as the President of the National Italian American Foundation, the nation’s most active organization representing 25 million Americans of Italian descent, I don’t have the luxury of exploring the positives and negatives of Columbus’s person or his historical imprint.

I have the responsibility of focusing on what columbus-day-paradeColumbus Day has become, more so than what it was intended to be, and what it has become is a celebration of our Italian American community, its luminaries (past and present), its accomplishments in this great nation, and the core values that Italian Americans continue to cherish and identify with.

Believe me, I can understand, coming from a group that did not have a necessarily easy transition to the United States, how important it is to have that point on the calendar where a community can revel in their shining piece of the great American mosaic.  That said, no community deserves more attention and examination than the indigenous peoples of the United States; a group that has faced an incredibly complex and often times sad historical narrative.

Certainly the rest of our nation should seek greater awareness of the numerous tribes dealing with issues that the average American citizen doesn’t face.  But in the battle for Columbus’s legacy, we Italian Americans run the risk of becoming collateral damage in a struggle that has unfortunately pitted two communities against each other.

There is no chance of healing old wounds by opening new ones.  I’m sure my counterparts in the Indigenous American community can understand my concerns that these worthy efforts which they are undertaking lose a great deal of their virtue when they ignore the damage that is being done to the Italian American community.

Facing this onslaught in community after community, while having to serve as the sole defenders of Columbus, is hard enough, but is made all-the-worse by the continuing inability of the leadership of the myriad of Italian American organizations around the country to come together and form a single response or strategy.

Last year our Foundation hosted a forum (which quickly descended into a screaming match) and about the only conclusion we could come to was that there were countless dsc_4676webopinions throughout our community (ranging from those who thought it was our responsibility to fight for Columbus on behalf to those who wished to do away with the holiday completely) but no chance of consensus.  As for me, I think the middle road is always the best.

I think that the Italian American community and our leadership around the nation need to be fighting to make sure that those municipalities that feel uncomfortable with the celebration of Columbus’s legacy have only one option for replacement of Columbus Day and that should be Italian American Heritage Day.

After all, Columbus Day, from its earliest inception, has been a holiday filled with political undertones: first anti-British and eventually even fascist, as well as a day set out to celebrate exploration and immigration, which has by default become a celebration of our keep-em-coming-34great Italian community.

So needless to say, tying the experience of proud Italian Americans and their innumerable ancestors to the biographical circumstances of one figure, completely removed from our general Italian American experience, leaves something lacking to begin with.

So I’m calling on these municipalities and Indigenous leadership around the nation to join me in a strategy that will leave room for everyone to celebrate and explore our various heritages.  If Columbus Day must go, let it be replaced by Italian American Heritage Day and let’s work together to find an alternative time of the year for Indigenous People’s Day, so that we can celebrate (and for most of us learn) the history of the first peoples of this incomparable nation that has welcomed so many cultures to its shores in search of a better life.

To me this day isn’t really about one man, be he famous or infamous, but about millions of men and women, overlooked and unsung, whose courage and self-sacrifice allowed Italian Americans the chance to have this better life.


John M. Viola is the President of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to preserving and protecting the Italian American heritage and culture.

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Un Giorno con Gigi (A Day with Gigi)

Captured (written) by The Recipe Hunters in Calabria, Italy

We’re sharing a blog post from our guest blogger team, The Recipe Hunters, of an adventure they had while traveling through Calabria as they searched for authentic, Italian recipes. You can read their original post (and get access to this adventure’s recipes) here. Happy reading (and cooking)!


We are staying at Anthony’s family apartment in Marina di Caulonia, in Calabria, Italy. Every morning Anthony wakes up at 6 AM, takes a run and then a swim in the ocean. I lay in bed until I am conscious enough to bribe myself awake with a cup of Italian espresso and hot milk. By the time I get out of bed, Anthony is usually dripping wet, sandy feet, and smiling. We enjoy our morning espresso together practicing Italian before we plug into our computers.

We have spent the past five days typing up people’s stories and trying out the recipes we have recorded. I work on the veranda in the mornings where I can hear the fish peddlers and the waves crash against the shore at the end of the street. When the sun gets too hot I retreat inside to the cool fan. We play the local radio station hoping to absorb Italian by img_6777auditory osmosis.

Yesterday and the day before, the internet did not work, so Anthony and I went into the town looking for kind people to teach us the local, traditional recipes. So far we haven’t had much luck. We spent about two hours yesterday talking to a woman in a herbal shop and I swear I have never heard anyone talk so fast. I could not understand a word she was saying, I felt like my brain was one of those jackpot slot machines that just keeps spinning until it finds a bilingual match.

From what I can understand, her hippie cousin, who lives in trailer on the Aphrodite Campground by the beach, is someone that we should meet. She tells us, “At this hour, he is sure to be found sitting outside of his trailer with the light on, the guy with the really dsc_0068long grey beard, you can’t miss him.”

…So off we go to meet the serial killer (well, not really, but my mind tends to wander to dark, scary catastrophic places). We stop to pick up groceries for dinner and after being attacked by a stray spider that crawled up my arm from the chicory (not a good sign), we finally arrive at Aphrodite Campground.

At the entrance, Anthony sees a woman in her nightgown smoking a cigarette. We approach her and ask if she knows Luigi (Gigi) Briglia. She nods and asks us to follow her. I don’t remember her leaving, but I remember walking down a dirt pathway towards a beaming fluorescent light ahead of me, feeling like a transfixed moth.

There, sitting below a drooping canopy, is a grey-bearded man in a black t-shirt, faded jeans, and sandals. There are two lawn chairs scattered in front of him. As we approach, he rises to greet us. As he smiles and reaches his hand out, I sense his kindness in the crinkles near his eyes. He asks us to sit down, offers his chair and moves the folded laundry off of mine, sweeping it clean from any dust. I look over to Anthony and let out a deep sigh of relief as he tells the man that his cousin, Claudia, sent us and starts to explain our blog, Made with Love. He listens intently before getting up and walking into his camper.


I look over at Anthony and smile as I often do when things go better than expected. Luigi (Gigi) returns bearing a portfolio and three large manila envelopes. He hands one envelope to Anthony and one to me. I open the envelope and a stack of photographs falls onto my lap: black and white photographs of the city dating back 30 years, from before we were born. There are men stacking wood to make coal, women mouths wide-open, singing for glory, an old wrinkly grandmother pensively staring out of a window longing for the past, and a little Italian girl in her ballerina outfit stretching towards her toes. Incredible!

These photographs are the most beautiful photographs I had ever seen. We spend the next dsc_0114hour thumbing through photo after photo of festivals, families, and traditions.  We leave with one of his photography books and an invitation to return to his family’s home in the town of Caulonia Superiore during the day of Saint Hilarion (Sant’Ilarione) to make a recipe with his sisters, Manu and Dita.

We meet Luigi at the corner of our street on the morning of the day of Saint Hilarion. We hop in his car and drive the ten minutes to Caulonia Superiore, where the festival is being celebrated. We arrive in the small town atop a hill and park the car, entering the piazza to see a large crowd of people gathering in front of the church.dsc_0034Luigi explains that everyone in the town gathers inside the church for Mass before embarking on a procession where the relic and statue of St. Hilarion are carried on the dsc_0033shoulders of 15 men. As the men bare the statue, they sing in unison with the community members to the sounds of the marching band that follows ensuite.  The priest carries a silver arm containing the ulna bone of St. Hilarion behind a transparent piece of glass, giving people his blessing while they kiss the holy relic.

The procession stops right outside of the gates for 15 minutes as fireworks blast and the singing continues, before they begin their descent into the valley. The parade ends when they reach the abbey about 3 miles down the road. Everyone returns to town for an evening celebration full of good food, music, and joy.


After the parade, Luigi invites us to his home to make Zeppole, Tarassaco e fagioli cannellini (wild chicory with cannellini beans), and homemade pasta con la buca (fusilli) with his sisters, Dina and Emanuela, (“Manu” for short). Everything Dina and Emanuela cook dsc_0170is organic: they harvest their own olives for olive oil, they forage their own wild plants, they have an incredible garden overlooking the fertile olive orchard and citrus fruit valley, they make their own soap, make their own pasta, and try to be as self-sufficient as possible.

We laugh a lot, eat incredible food, and end our meal with a surprise dessert of lemon cake shaped in a heart by Manu! We leave feeling full, happy, and gracious that we are able to become friends with such inviting, loving people in Anthony’s nonna’s hometown.

dsc_0764dsc_0369 dsc_0648-2dsc_0809

This blog post is courtesy of our NIAF Guest Bloggers, The Recipe Hunters – Anthony Morano and Leila Elamine. Learn all about them and their other adventures here!

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Scholarship Stories

At the National Italian American Foundation, we believe in supporting future generations of our community, which is why we have provided over $7,860,400 in scholarships and grants since 2009. Every donation to our Foundation helps us to not only protect the history and culture of Italian Americans, but also continue the education of our younger generations.

We’d like to introduce you to Nicholas Angelo Strada, from Brown University, Class of 2022- and the recipient of a NIAF Scholarship, to learn more about the deserving students that we support. 


As a person who is very proud of his Italian heritage, I have always wanted to learn the Italian language, and this class not only taught me the basics of the language but also engaged me in the culture and pushed me to converse in a new language in a way that was out of my comfort zone.

However, I am always aware of the financial burden of attending Brown and being a part of the eight-year PLME program.  I fully realize that with any endeavor such as this come costs and sacrifices.  And so, I am extremely appreciative of the financial support from NIAF and the scholarship I have received.

Because of the eight-year program, the financial burden on my family is large, and the money I received from the scholarship helps ease this burden.  I am passionate about my studies both within and outside of the field of medicine, and I appreciate the ability to pursue these goals every day.

NIAF helps to ease the burden and adds to my appreciation for all those who make pursuing my dreams a reality.


For more information on our NIAF Scholarship Programs, click here.

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Scholarship Stories

At the National Italian American Foundation, we believe in supporting future generations of our community, which is why we have provided over $7,860,400 in scholarships and grants since 2009. Every donation to our Foundation helps us to not only protect the history and culture of Italian Americans, but also continue the education of our younger generations.

We’d like to introduce you to Amy Grudier, from Cedarville University, Class of 2017 – and the recipient of our NIAF Lido Civic Club Matching Scholarship, to learn more about the deserving students that we support. 


The experience of applying, interviewing for and winning the scholarship two years in a row has given me a much deeper appreciation of my Italian heritage. My father was the first person in his family to earn a college degree, so the opportunity to be able to do the same is definitely a great privilege. My first two years at Cedarville can be summarized as full of opportunity.

I have had opportunities to interact with incredible people, learn from phenomenal professors, participate in several community service projects with my peers, and grow in my passion for emergency medicine by getting my EMT certification freshman year and Stethoscopevolunteering as an EMT sophomore year. Receiving my EMT training was made possible through the NIAF scholarship, as the additional financial commitment it posed would not have been affordable if not for the NIAF scholarship.

Through the generous support of those in the NIAF, my first two years at Cedarville have been filled with many memorable moments, and the opportunity to grow in my knowledge of and passion for nursing, emergency medicine, and care for people.


For more information on our NIAF Scholarship Programs, click here.

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Italy’s Earthquake: A Call to Action

Italian American Relief Fund

To the Italian American community:

On Wednesday morning, August 24, 2016, a large part of central Italy was struck by a devastating earthquake. This tragic disaster has claimed the lives of hundreds of people, and words cannot convey the deep loss that has affected so many of us. Our hearts and prayers are with them and the rescue workers who are frantically trying to save the remaining victims trapped under the rubble.

Please help the National Italian American Foundation, and our partners throughout the Italian American community, to raise funds for our Italian family. To help in ANY amount, please visit www.ItalianAmericanRelief.org.

As developments unfold, we will continue to update the above site. We are in contact with local authorities as well as the Embassy of Italy to finalize the details of the relief fund, and as soon as we have any updates, we will share them on our website and social media. Although immediate relief is crucial in the aftermath of the earthquake through organizations such as the Red Cross, it will also take years to rebuild these stricken communities, and all donations we receive will go towards those people in need and returning their lives back to normal.

The generosity of our Italian American community is evident in the donations we have received so far, but we must keep the momentum going. We can do a great deal of good in the coming days and weeks, and we hope you will be a part of this effort.

Please pass this along to as many friends and family as you can and please join in our prayers for our Italian family.

I am, as always,

Yours in Partnership,

John M. Viola

President & COO of The National Italian American Foundation


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Scholarship Stories

At the National Italian American Foundation, we believe in supporting future generations of our community, which is why we have provided over $7,860,400 in scholarships and grants since 2009. Every donation to our Foundation helps us to not only protect the history and culture of Italian Americans, but also continue the education of our younger generations.

We’d like to introduce you to Brandon Abranovic, from Arizona State University, Class of 2017 – and the recipient of our NIAF Intel Scholarship, to learn more about the deserving students that we support. 


While many students nowadays must struggle to balance school and work and are burdened with debt after graduation, the NIAF Intel Scholarship has freed me from financial worries and allowed me to focus exclusively on academics and extracurricular activities.  This has allowed me to engage in many extracurricular activities that have greatly enhanced my educational experience.  For example, during my freshman year, I was offered the opportunity to be involved in a program called EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service).

Through my involvement in EPICS, I was appointed the leader of a small group of engineering students working on a design for an affordable digital high power microscope.  Over the course of a semester and several design iterations, the design developed by my team was successful in developing a working prototype that is now being evaluated for commercialization and large-scale manufacturing.

I believe that this microscope has the potential to enhance education opportunities for millions of low-income students around the world.  My team is currently preparing a technical paper for publication as well as pursuing a patent on several elements of our design.

The NIAF Intel Scholarship is helping me earn credentials and continue to explore the many applications of Chemical Engineering, but most importantly NIAF is allowing me to further my commitment to educating myself and getting me one step closer to my ultimate goal of becoming a professional engineer.

Ellis Island platformBeing Italian American means a lot to me. I am honored and proud to be part of this nurturing and wonderful community – a community that gives me a collective identity, while helping me forge my own individuality by giving me the comfort, security and a sense of belonging to a community.

These historical contributions that Italian Americans have bestowed upon the US are of great importance. Their hard work, traditions and values throughout the history of this country have had an enormous and positive impact and, one day, I hope I will be able to add my own experiences and endeavors to the ever expanding book of the Italian American accomplishments.

Piggy bank

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We want you to know the staff working behind-the-scenes here at the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), so we are taking the opportunity to introduce you to one of our staff members! This week, we introduce you to Julia Streisfeld, our Assistant Director of Programs:

Meet the Staff Julia 2

How long have you worked at NIAF?

I started working at NIAF in late September of 2015, in the midst of the madness of the Pope arriving in Washington, D.C., and three weeks before NIAF’s 40th Anniversary Gala! I moved here after graduating with my Masters in Italian Language Culture and Literature from University of Connecticut.  It’s strange to think that almost a year has passed.  Moving down here for my job at NIAF is one of the best choices I’ve ever made!

Why do you like working at NIAF?

The quote, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” could not even begin to sum up how I feel about working at NIAF (except for if it added in something about having fantastic coworkers).  I have always had a passion for the Italian and Italian American culture and now I get to work among a family of amazing DSC_5453people who share that enthusiasm and for members who truly appreciate what we do here.

I loved teaching Italian and working with my Italian American students at a university level – in fact, there are certain parts of teaching that I miss immensely, but now I get to apply what I learned in my academic career and share what I taught in an exciting, real world setting. My coworkers especially have made the transition to a new work environment and a completely new city a smooth one after moving almost 400 miles.  Their passion, humor and encouragement are what really make our work environment special. It’s like being adopted into a huge, welcoming family.

Also, working with college-age students is something I truly enjoy. I spent a total of 4 years working as a Resident Assistant and in the office of Residential Life.  Working in student affairs is where I discovered my passion for making a difference in students’ lives during one of the most pivotal and stressful periods of their lives.  This June, I had the opportunity to attend a scholarship reception for one of the matching scholarships that NIAF offers where I met a bunch of the scholarship recipients.  Actually meeting the remarkable students that we are helping was extremely fulfilling. My job not only allows me to promote my heritage, but also allows me to make a positive impact on the lives of outstanding students, all at the same time!

What is your favorite Italian dish?pesto

It’s so hard to pick just one! I would have to go with either arancini or pesce spada arrosto in salmoriglio.  I’m also a sucker for almost anything with pesto Genovese or prosciutto.

Give us a random fact/event/skill thousands can know about you:

One of my favorite hobbies is making jewelry and I try to sell some of my work on Etsy.  I am in awe of gemstones and the way that the earth can produce such a wide variety of colors and shapes of stones and I love that jewelry is basically a wearable form of art.

What is your favorite Italian tradition and why?

By far, my favorite Italian tradition is the procession through town after a couple gets married. I love the idea of being able to celebrate a wedding with friends and family as well as the entire community.

What is your favorite Italian piece of art/music/literature?

danteThis is quite possibly the hardest question I have ever been asked, especially after 6 years of studying Italian culture, but here it goes! There is no way that I can choose just one piece, so I will have to go with my three favorite Italian literary works: La Divina Commedia by Dante Alighieri, I Malavoglia by Giovanni Verga and Ossi di Seppia by Eugenio Montale.

Why is being Italian American important to you?

There is so much to be proud of as an Italian American. Italian Americans are the Statue of Liberty arrivaldescendants of a culture of excellence in every aspect ranging from literature, to art, to music, to the scientific advancements that Italians have provided the world. Being Italian American is important to me because it means not only coming from this rich culture and being a part of a group that has produced so much history, but also coming from a long line of people that have succeeded in the face of adversity.
With my ancestors coming from Castellemmare del Golfo to New York, I am fiercely proud of, and grateful for, my Sicilian background and all of the sacrifices that my ancestors had to make in order to get Castellemmare del Golfomy family where they are today. When I think of what it means to be Italian American, I think of my great-grandparents fearlessly leaving their homes in search of better lives and a better future for the generations to come, and the countless hours that my grandparents worked to provide for their family.  My Italian American identity is important to me because it instilled in me the importance of perseverance, hard work, sacrifice and the unquestioned importance of family.


Stay tuned for more Meet the Staff blog posts, coming your way soon!

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Book Review – My Father’s Daughter: From Rome to Sicily

In need of a good beach read this summer? Check out Gilda Morina Syverson’s travel memoir, reviewed by NIAF in our Ambassador magazine

My Father’s Daughter cover

My Father’s Daughter: From Rome to Sicily

By Gilda Morina Syverson

“Dad,” I said, “I’m giving everyone something to be in charge of.”

…“You’re in charge of the language,” I said, unsure what his response would be.

Dad’s mood could change in a second, and we have been known to come head-to-head over the simplest comments. The Italian language is so natural to my father, though, that it seemed like a reasonable undertaking and a fair request.

Dad burst out laughing. “You’re kidding?”

“No, Dad. I haven’t had time to practice. So can you take on the language?”

Still snickering, he said, “I thought that was why you were bringing me to begin with.”


At age 50, Gilda Morina Syverson knows it is time to transform her relationship with her father by casting off her role as argumentative child and by healing the rifts that divide them. “My Father’s Daughter” tells the story of that inner transformation that slowly unfolds with discoveries about ancestry, family, culture, and connection to Italy.

From Rome to her father’s hometown of Gualtieri Sicaminò, then her mother’s hometown of Linguaglossa, Syverson uncovers clues to her parents’ past, placing her own Italian Lemon GroveAmerican childhood in Syracuse, N.Y., in greater context. A garden full of lemon and orange trees; a shed where her father stole chicken eggs, sold them, and gambled away the money; the “passion and bewilderment” felt sensing her grandparents’ presence at a mass in San Nicola di Bari church in Gualtieri, and other moments reveal to Syverson that her pilgrimage home is not only a journey to the old country but also to the new world of her adult self.

A Novello Literary Award Book finalist, “My Father’s Daughter” is a mosaic of travel memoir, identity writing and family stories. Syverson’s stories will resonate with millions of Italian American Baby Boomers who grew up influenced by Italy in their most intimate family relationships.

— Review by Kirsten Keppel


This review appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of NIAF’s Ambassador Magazine.

My Father’s Daughter: From Rome to Sicily by Gilda Morina Syverson
Divine Phoenix Books; 292 pages; $17.95


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Rosa’s Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

Captured (written) by The Recipe Hunters in Calabria, Italy

We’re sharing a blog post from our guest blogger team, The Recipe Hunters, on a recipe for Eggplant Parmesan that they learned while traveling through Calabria. You can read their original post here. Happy cooking!

35. Eggplant Parm

Eggplant Parmesan or Melanzane Parmigiana is a symbol of Southern Italy. Southern Italy is known for its robust agriculture, it’s delicious eggplant dishes, tomatoes, and, more importantly, it’s traditional cuisine.

There is no better time in Italy than eggplant season! There are thousands of ways in which southerner’s large, delicious, and plentiful eggplants are used in cooking. When asking a southerner what they miss the most from mom’s cooking, it is usually met with a response “Ohhh my mom makes the best melanzane parmigiana.”

Eggplant parm is found throughout all of southern Italy, but each house has their own unique way of making it with little tricks that make all the difference. We had to find a grandma of our own to show us her recipe. Check out the Calabrese Eggplant Parmesan recipe made with love by Rosa in Monasterace, Italy!

Ingredients for Rosa’s Eggplant Parmesan

  • 800 g Whole Peeled Tomatoes

  • 1 Red Onion

  • 1/2 cup Water

  • 3 lbs Eggplant (1.4 kg)

  • Olive Oil

  • Vegetable Oil

  • 2 handfuls grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana

  • 1 handful grated Pecorino Romano

  • 1 lb (450 g) of Mozzarella -sliced (mozzarella di bufala is the best!)

  • 100 g thinly sliced prosciutto (1/4 lb)

  • salt to taste

Recipe for Rosa’s Eggplant Parmesan

  1. In a medium sized pot add 1 diced red onion with 2. Once oil fizzles, add tomatoes1/2 cup of olive oil and heat over medium-high flame, stirring occasionally so that the onions do not burn.

  2. Once the onions begin to fizzle in the oil, add 800 g of whole peeled tomatoes, 1/2 cup of water, and a pinch of salt and stir.

  3. Turn the heat down to low, slightly cover the pot and allow the sauce to simmer while you prep the eggplant.

Prepping the Eggplant11. 1 cm thin

  1. Remove the green part of the eggplant and wash the eggplants under cold water.

  2. Cut the eggplants lengthwise in half, then face the eggplants white-side down and slice horizontally into 1 cm thin slices.

    Made with Love Tip: If you do not like the peel, you can cut the skin off but I like the way it tastes.13. Adding seasalt after every layer

  3. Lay the slices of eggplant in a large bowl and after every layer sprinkle the eggplant with seasalt, repeat this step until the eggplants are all sliced.

Removing the liquid from the Eggplant slices:

  1. Once all of the eggplant slices are in the bowl, firmly press down on them with your hands, add a plate on top of them, and over the plate place a heavy weight.

  2. Every 5 minutes, remove the weight and turn the eggplants, adding a little sprinkle of seasalt as you move them around.16. Rosa adds salt

  3. Once you can see a pool of brown clear water at the bottom of the bowl and the eggplants are soft, remove the weight and bring them to close to your stove-top (approx 30 min).

Frying the Eggplant slices:

  1. In a large frying pan add 1 cm height of vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat.23. Once oil is hot enough place slice

  2. Prepare a large straining bowl with a double layer of paper towel to collect the excess oil from the fried eggplant slices.

  3. Once the oil is hot enough (place a slice of eggplant in the oil and if it sparks and pops, then it is ready if not wait until it does) place a layer of eggplants in the pan and brown the eggplants on both 25. The fried slices being drained of excess oilsides.

  4. Once both sides are browned, place them on the paper towels in the bowl to drain the excess oil. Repeat this step until all slices are browned.

Layering the Eggplant Parmesan in a Large Deep Pan (9-by-9-inch, 10-by-5-inch or 10-by-6-inch baking pan):

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (176° C)29. Start layering the eggplant

  2. Add a layer of olive oil in a large deep pan

  3. Now layer the following…

Tomato sauce,

Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana,

Grated Pecorino Romano,30. And layering

Bread Crumbs,

Fried eggplant slices as close together as possible,

Prosciutto slices

Thinly sliced mozzarella.

  1. Continue to layer until you have run out of ingredients.

  2. Once you are done layering, place the eggplant parmigiano in the oven for 45 minutes.

  3. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving

  4. Remember to eat your Eggplant Parmesan with Love!

36. Final Product

This recipe and blog post is courtesy of our NIAF Guest Bloggers, The Recipe Hunters – Anthony Morano and Leila Elamine. Learn all about them and their other adventures here!

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Un Minuto Con…

Fascination between two countries

By Rosario Mariani, http://www.europebychoice.com

With the U.K.’s recent “Brexit” shifting European relations and economies, Italy’s long-standing love of all-things British have come to light. Italians seem fascinated with everything English.

In fact, in recent years, young Italians have flocked to London (despite the English weather) to work there Big Bensince the economic situation at home was not favorable.  Bright and ambitious young men and women sought opportunities in this great metropolis, although how the U.K.’s departure from the European Union will affect this is still uncertain.

Today, London has a sizable Italian-born population that has brought the flair and sophistication of the Italian lifestyle with them. The newcomers are well-educated and have quickly assimilated to the traditional aristocratic British traditions. On my first trip to London in 1972, it was virtually difficult to eat well anywhere.

Today, the “Cucina Italiana” inspires some of the finest restaurants in town.  Gelaterie and Cafes are almost in everyespresso corner to satisfy, not only the tourist, but also Italians living in town, still clinging to their traditions. Conversely, the British seem to have slightly moved away from their traditional afternoon tea to the enjoyment of having an espresso.

In retrospect, 400 years ago this past April, William Shakespeare was born (and died) and the British bard must have been equally as fond of Italy.  Many of his 38 plays were set in “this sceptred isle” of Britain, but 13 of them were based in the sunnier climate of Italy.

From the lovelorn streets of Romeo and Juliet’s Verona and Julius Caesar’s murderous Juliet's Balconymachinations in Rome, to the frothy mix of sex, money and intrigue in Othello’s Venice, Shakespeare’s fascination with Italy is a constant undercurrent of his work. His Italian settings are so crucial to his plots that they have become characters in their own right – and his influence is felt in Italy to this day.

Buon compleanno (a little late) to Guglielmo Shakespeare! We will have to see how the U.K. and Italy’s relationship evolves after this recent development in European Union politics.


Rosario Mariani is the owner/CEO of Europe By Choice, which promotes travel to Italy and other select European countries. He has more than 40 years of experience in the travel industry, previously serving as Director of Italy Product for Italiatour and Club ABC Tours, and also in other positions with EuroFly, Alitalia and Air France.

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