Tag Archives: tradition

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup – America

American Flag

This week we are exploring typical winter dishes from around the world. Tonight we visit America and the most common plate you will find in the winter here is tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich. There are many recipes for tomato soup, however most people here buy canned which requires that you add milk and warm it up until at a desired temperature. Americans will recognize this iconic image:

tomato soup

Grilled cheese is generally made by putting butter on one side of sliced bread of any kind and placing the buttered side on a griddle before adding cheese of your choice (usually American) and closing it off with the other slice of bread butter side up. You then flip to grill on both sides and melt the cheese.

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The soup makes a great dip for the sandwich and together they make a terrific warm, filling meal.

How do you make your grilled cheese and tomato soup?

Until next time,

Traveling Sam xo

La Befana!

Hello there! I just can’t seem to let go of Christmas so I wanted to share with you a tradition from Italy that can be traced all the way back to the thirteenth century. It is the legend of La Befana.

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The legend of La Befana is that of an old witch lady with a big red nose and slight hunch, dressed in a jacket of colorful patches and she is often pictured with a broom. 

Legend has it that on the 12th night of Christmas (January 5th) the 3 Wise Men, on their search for the baby Jesus, asked La Befana to join them in their quest.   She initially declined, stating she had too much housework to do.   She later changed her mind and went looking for the 3 Wise Men and the baby Jesus, but was unable to find them.
Each year, on the night of January 5th, La Befana will travel on her magic broom to every house in Italy in search of the baby Jesus. She brings candy (“caramele”) or fruit to the children that were good and black coal (“carbone”), onions or garlic to the children that were naughty by climbing down chimneys much like that other guy we know ;-).   The children will leave out their stockings, and even their shoes, hoping to awake on the morning of January 6th to some “caramele”.   Similar to the Santa Claus tradition, many of the children will write notes to “La Befana” and even leave out food and wine for her, even sausages and broccoli in some parts of Italy.

It is a tradition that is still strong in Italy with many stores selling stockings, mostly red, but sometimes even sand-colored, for the children to leave out for “La Befana”.   It is a fairy-tale story of the good witch / bad witch, depending on how you behaved during the past year.   After her arrival, there are many parties and Italians will celebrate going from house to house celebrating the bonds of family and friends.

Here is an Italian nursery rhyme that the children will sing for La Befana

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La Befana vien di notte
con le scarpe tutte rotte
col cappello alla romana
viva viva la Befana!

Rough Translation

The Befana comes at night
wearing old broken shoes
dressed in Roman (hat) style
long live la Befana!

There have been many children’s books written about La Befana, however if you are looking to add one to your child’s library I recommend this one by Tomie DePaola.

La Befana

Here is a Pinterest page if you would like to have some fun with this with your kids tomorrow night. Enjoy! http://www.pinterest.com/dawndelz/befana/

Until next time,

Traveling Sam xo

New Year Traditions

Happy New Year!

I would like to share some of the photos I received about New Year traditions and I would like to thank those who shared despite not having been visited by me yet.  Remember, you can contribute even if I am not visiting you, I want to hear from everyone!

The first comes from a teacher friend who uses the extra time away from work to watch the entire Harry Potter series from start to finish, usually over 2 days.

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It’s done over the holiday break, after Christmas and before returning to work, not necessarily on New Year’s Eve.

Next is from another family that stays comfy and safe at home, ringing in the New Year with Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper on TV (in America).

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Oh look, I did sneak into this one! I must have been extra sleepy because I do not remember being there.

Moving on to Baltimore where shellfish is a must on New Year’s Eve.

Yum!

Yum!

And in Southeastern Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvanian Dutch / German tradition of pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day for prosperity in the New Year

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How did these food traditions start? I asked myself this question and found this website that not only has the meaning behind the food choices but recipes to make some New Year cookies for yourself. I wish you all a prosperous new year and I hope that I will get to visit you soon!

xo

Traveling Sam