Sunday, May 1, 2011

Memories and The Italian Garden Project

Growing up, the garden in our backyard was a source of embarrassment to me every summer.   No other house in our neighborhood had a garden.  My mom spent countless hours digging, planting, weeding and picking.  My dad mostly watched and supervised.  I thought it was a weird kind of ethnic thing that made us stand out; there were not a lot of Italians in Munhall.  Coupled with my last name of obviously Italian ethnicity, which I thought was even weirder, I spent most of my youth embarrassed and wishing my dad could do something more normal for a living, like work in a steel mill and that my mom would stop spending so much time outside, wearing a sunhat, digging in the garden.  
By my late twenties, following a trip to Italy with my father that involved visiting his hometown and the hometown of my mother's parents, I discovered that ethnic could be cool. 
Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip District hosted a slide show presentation by the Italian Garden Project, "Come Back to the Garden:  Italian Gardens of the Pittsburgh Region."  Unfortunately by the time I read about it, it was over.  It seems that now I am in my 50s, the whole Slow Food, CSA and home garden movement is totally trendy.  The Italian Garden Project, based in Sewickley, is planning tours this summer of some of the better ones in the area.  And on June 25, there will be a presentation at the Public Market from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on "Italian Wedding Dances and Wedding Cookie Recipe Exchange."  The photograph of the cookie table at our wedding is one of my favorite photos (remember my first word was 'cookie')  See   

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