How 3 Generations Of One Italian-American Family Are Reconceiving Tradition

Dec 21, 2019 491

BY: Emma Banks

There’s an old Italian proverb that rings particularly true during the holiday season: A tavola non si invecchia (“No one grows old at the dinner table”). It’s a testament to the enlivening effect of a delicious meal eaten while surrounded by friends and family — and it’s a sentiment that Tiziana Alesci knows all too well.

As an Italian immigrant arriving in New York in the 1960s, Tiziana found herself instantly isolated — at 10 years old, she didn’t speak a word of English, and she felt a deep sense of loss for the close-knit neighborhood she and her parents had left behind in Rome. Throughout that time, it was food and family that gave her a sense of community: homemade pasta shaped by her mother’s instruction, sweet Italian sausage and prosciutto, green lentils with parsley and fennel, and, of course, Italian wine.

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