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My name is Olivia D’Onofrio, formerly Figliomeni, and I have decided to embark on a journey to document the traditions that my grandparents and extended family have instilled on my family and share them with the world. Why you may ask? I fear that our generation has not taken the necessary time to learn from and retain all of the knowledge our nonni have about the world, food, culture and tradition. I am fortunate enough to still have 3 of 4 grandparents who are happy healthy and very much willing to teach us the ways. If we do not take the time while we’re so very blessed with their presence and health than how will we ever ensure our children and children’s children have the same values, traditions, and most importantly get to experience Nonna’s great cooking. And here we are today.

To dig a little deeper on this,  I recently got married, and going through the wedding planning process has taught me a lot about family and honoring traditions. Though we were having a modern wedding featuring *gasp* a first look prior to the marriage ceremony, I still wanted to maintain a very traditional wedding. After all, a lot of my favorite memories are those of family weddings, a time where everyone travels near and far to celebrate the special love of two people. No matter how busy life gets, weddings were always the one thing you can count on to catch up with your distant family. As kids, we used to run around the dance floor eventually passing out on multiple chairs pulled together while the parent’s did shots at the bar and danced the night away. Along with weddings came the very special traditions like Schreiber sandwiches at the bridal shower, enough cookies to feed an army, wedding cake wrapped in doilies, a multi-course meal to die for, traditional tarantella dancing and the all-time classic Ti Amo ballad.  As many of friends were also getting married and planning weddings it occured to me how much I truly value and love upholding our families traditions.

Skip forward a bit within my first three weeks married we were missing out on the Remembrance Day, festa San Marino, aka the traditional Zeopple fry. I knew everyone was going to be posting pictures and indulging in the deliciously amazing fried goodness so I asked my mom to send me the recipe. Now, not many people make these, we heavily rely on our grandparents to make a big batch and invite us all over which they do every year. After I followed the recipe to a T it still didn’t match the consistency I had known from watching my nonna’s all those years. Que, phone a friend, I called my Nonna Pina, who mentioned she forgot to tell me to add a bit more water, classic, she really doesn’t follow a recipe because it’s ingrained in her beautiful mind. She was so proud of me and I was pretty proud of myself too. Here I am, living downtown Toronto newly married and trying to make and successfully making Zeopple!!

Celebrating Generational Traditions

The next day, I started on a journey to capture italian traditions for the new generation. The journey will take us on a culinary and cultural adventure, exploring everything from the basics of tomato sauce 101  to advanced sweets only that one aunt twice removed makes. From sweet to salty and everything in-between look out for the all the stories that go along with these traditions.

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