Category Archives: Tid Bits

“Cent’anni” – “May you live for 100 years”

A favorite toast amongst Italians at a wedding or at any of life’s happy occasions is  “Salute e Cent’anni”. There is a good chance that in Italy you might very well reach 100 years old and possibly more.
Sardinia has the world’s highest recorded percentage of people who have eclipsed a century.  In Montemaggiore Belsito, in the province of Palermo in Sicily, celebrating the 100th birthday is a very common occurrence. However, in the town of Acciaroli, in the province of Salerno just south of the Amalfi Coast, with a population of 2,000 inhabitants, 300 persons have reached the age of 100, and 60 of them are pushing 110 and enjoying it.
Is it the Mediterranean diet, wine, olive oil, herbs, fish, climate, location, low-stress, and long walks?  The answer is all the above and the Italian way-of-life.
Ernest Hemingway frequently visited Acciaroli, and got inspired to write the “Old Man and the Sea”.
One ingredient in their diet is rosemary, it grows everywhere, it is used to flavor their dishes and its use prevents diseases like Alzheimers, and improves blood flow to the brain.  Anchovies, high in Omega 3, are equally effective in preventing heart and cardiovascular diseases.  On a recent visit to Cetara, on the Amalfi Coast, just 50 miles north of Acciaroli, I saw the locals placing their catch of anchovies in a small wooden barrel and putting a heavy weight on it.  The pressure, over a long period of time, allowed the oils of the fish to drip into a container, which they called “la colatura”.  A few drops of this fish oil added to any salad or to any main dish is all you need to get your daily dose of the amazing Omega 3.
It seems that the fountain of youth is in Acciaroli.
I wonder if the 110 year olds still complain that their 85 year old kids are still disrespectful after all these years?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

The “Twelve Days of Christmas” carol that has always baffled everyone. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won’t come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas? Here’s why!
From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality the children could remember.

      -The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

      -Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

      -Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.-

     -Four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

 -Five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

     -Six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

     -Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold  gifts of the Holy Spirit–Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

   -Eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

   -Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

    -Ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

    -Eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

   -Twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.


Lost in Translation

When traveling abroad always keep in mind that the locals do their utmost to communicate with the visitors. However, at times their literal translations distort the intended meaning. Here are some signs translated into English:

  • “Please use escalator on your behind.”
  • “Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see the manager.”
  • “Open seven days a week, and weekends too.”
  • “This hotel is renowned for its peace and solitude. In fact, crowds from allover the world flock here to enjoy its solitude.”
  • “In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.”
  • “The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.”
  • In a Rome laundromat: “Ladies, please leave your clothes here and spend the rest of the afternoon having a good time.”
  • “Do not run on the stairs – use handrail”
  • In a department store: “Dresses for street walking”
  • “Our stockings cost more but they are much better on the long run.”
  • At a hotel reception desk: “Please leave your values at the front desk.”

The “Big Cheese”

Are you a “Big Cheese” or a “Big Wheel” amongst your business friends?

Either way the terms of envious respect originated in Medieval times for those who could afford to purchase an entire wheel of cheese instead of just a few grams at a time. Expense was an issue and only the wealthy and powerful could show off. It is not any different today. Just for your information a wheel of Parmigiano weighing 80 lbs., 18 inches in diameter, 9 inches high and aged 24 moths could set you back $2,500.
As delectable as it is impressive, the show-stopping wheel of Parmigiano from Parma is sure to make a statement of well being at any gathering including at your office party to show your staff who is the boss.