Monday, October 8, 2018

Giorno di Dio?

It's been our tradition this time of year to question the appropriateness of Columbus Day. As an Italian-American, and specifically a Ligurian-American, I have long maintained that Columbus, whose treatment of the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere was horrific, is not an appropriate standard-bearer for my people and our culture. Today, Dr Zoom at Wonkette wrote a post articulating this, a post similar to my typical posts on the topic.

I usually propose better representatives of Italian culture to replace the problematic Columbus. This year, how about Italian-American singer Ronnie James Dio? Signore Dio started his career as a teenager in the band Ronnie and the Redcaps. Here's il giovane Dio singing about a missing angel:

Later in his career, he discovered that the missing angel had become a holy diver:

Signore Dio's album covers typically depicted occult themes, which many critics might chalk up to a crass attempt to boost sales due to controversy, but my guess is that Ronnie was paying tribute to Dante Alighieri's most famous work- Dante being, after all, the person most responsible for the formulation of the formal modern Italian language.

Since the man grew up in Cortland, New York, the best way to celebrate Ronnie James Dio day would be to cook some spiedies, the jewel in the crown of Southern Tier Italian-American cuisine:

Perhaps the best thing about changing Columbus Day to Dio Day is that the Spanish translation would be Día del Dio.


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mistah charley, ph.d. said...

1)yeng chan's letter offering the hack geeks services has one error that i'm tempted to write to him about - descrete - he means "discreet" although he may more often have encountered the homonym "discrete"

2)i have nothing against mr dio, but i have never been a fan of his - italian-american male singers who have received a lot of radio plays and who seem aligned with family values include perry como or dion dimucci

3)here's something related to the encounter between the hemispheres:

also known as
Population Displacement Pudding

“It’s sort of like pumpkin pie, without the pumpkin. And without the pie.” – a description of Indian Pudding to a young relative at a Thanksgiving dinner

A personal note: In honor of our New England ancestors, I served Indian Pudding at our family’s Thanksgiving dinner this year. There’s a LOT of stirring involved. After the holiday I wondered if someone had developed a microwave adaptation with LESS stirring. Here it is, from Nancy’s Kitchen.

About the traditional, but anachronistic, name of the dish: The recipe was adapted from the English “hasty pudding”. What’s “Indian” about it is the cornmeal, formerly called “Indian meal”. The original inhabitants of North America had neither dairy products nor molasses, although they had developed maple syrup as an ingenious indigenous equivalent for the latter. The molasses used by the colonists was produced on West Indian plantations by the unpaid labor of involuntary emigrants from Africa, who were found to be more suited to such work than the people in place there when Europeans arrived. Anyone wanting a new name reflecting a contextualized historical and multicultural perspective could call it Population Displacement Pudding.

With best wishes,
Fannie Farmer (Mrs.)


2 c. milk
1/4 c. cornmeal
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. molasses
1 tbsp. melted butter
Vanilla ice cream
Pour 1-1/2 cups milk into 1-1/2 quart bake dish. Cook on 50% (simmer) for 5 minutes. Combine cornmeal, sugar, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Stir into hot milk. Cook, uncovered, on 50% for 4 minutes. Stir well. Beat egg, molasses and butter. Stir a small amount of milk mixture in egg mixture. Return to dish. Stir well. Cook uncovered on 50% for 6 minutes. Pour remaining cold milk over top of pudding. Don’t stir. Cook, uncovered, on 50% for 3 minutes until set. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm topped with ice cream.

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