Put It On The Windowsill by Marcia Brennan

Put It On The Windowsill: An Italian-American Family Memoir

The Italian-American family is a unique and wonderful cultural entity. From the bond between generations, to collective responses to adversity, to its overwhelming love of food – the family is central to Italian-America.

Sharing stories of her extended Italian-American family in this personal memoir, Marcia Brennan shows how cultural histories can be deeply interwoven with the magic of blessings, curses, and other forms of creation. From the rituals employed to ward off bad luck, to the mischief of older family members, to Italian toasts and swear words – Put It On The Windowsill shines a light on the multi-faceted world of Italian-American people.

Both humorous and poignant, the book is filled with stories and insights from the author’s upbringing that will be familiar to Italian-Americans across the world. The book draws on rich details of cultural history to evoke the intimacy of spirit presences. These presences extend from the memory of previous generations to encounters with sacred objects, near-death experiences, and transcendent visions.

The author also describes how whole worlds were created out of almost nothing, while the magic of the home served as a stage for sacred expressions of love. The book includes over 40 traditional family recipes, which represent both expressions of Italian-American cultural heritage and practical forms of creation.

Table of Contents

(There is a detailed Table of Contents at the bottom of this page)

I. THREE WAYS OF APPROACHING A WINDOWSILL: THE MULTIPLE LIVES OF THE STORIES

II. BOTH ITALIAN AND AMERICAN: MULTIPLE LIVES IN MULTIPLE WORLDS

III. YOU COULD EAT OFF THE FLOOR: HOW MY GRANDPARENTS CREATED A WORLD, AND HOW THEY TOOK THAT WORLD WITH THEM, WHEREVER THEY WENT

IV. I THINK WE WOULD KNOW IF THE BED WAS ON FIRE: MY PARENTS’ GENERATION

V. THE DONKEY AND THE CUCUMBER: HOW WE LEARNED TO CURSE FROM THE MASTERS

VI. THE ONGOING LIFE OF THE LIVES: THE BLESSINGS OF THE STATUES, THE VISIONS, AND THE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES

EPILOGUE: THESE THINGS MEAN A LOT TO US: THE STORY AFTER THE STORY

MORE RECIPES


Author: Marcia Brennan

Published November 15th 2019 | ISBN-13: 9781911121763 | Print and eBook formats will be available.

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Detailed Table of Contents

I. THREE WAYS OF APPROACHING A WINDOWSILL: THE MULTIPLE LIVES OF THE STORIES
If You Want Good Weather…
Slam the Window Down, Hard…
Spinach Pie
Recipe: Spinach Pie
Recipe: Bread Dough
Window Magic
Why Blessings, Curses, and Recipes Are All Spiritual Stories
Family Trees

II. BOTH ITALIAN AND AMERICAN: MULTIPLE LIVES IN MULTIPLE WORLDS
See – She Knows!
What Could My Answer Be, But Yes?
Holding Onto the Best
Pa Would Have Loved You Kids
That’s How That Worked
Thank God We Made It Without Being Blown Up
My Great-Grandfather Could Write
I Can Feel a Part of Them, Too

III. YOU COULD EAT OFF THE FLOOR: HOW MY GRANDPARENTS CREATED A WORLD, AND HOW THEY TOOK THAT WORLD WITH THEM, WHEREVER THEY WENT
No Sporcaccione!
Hello Gal!
Will You Be My Maid of Honor?
Everything Was Like a Miniature Work of Art
Recipe: Italian White Cookies
Shoveling a Path to the Wedding
Good Friends Are Better Than Money
Like Shiny New Pins
Go Out to the Garden and Get a Handful of Parsley
Recipe: Pickled Tomatoes or Peppers
You Can Always Put Something In, But Once It’s In, You Can Never Take It Out Again
Recipe: Meatballs
Giambotta: If You Could Eat It, It Was a Blessing; If You Had to Clean It Up, It Was a Curse
How Not to be Stingy or Greedy: Some Minor Epiphanies
The Angel Wings at Christmastime
Recipe: Honey Cookies
The Little White Wicker Tree
The Cordials in the Bedroom Closet: My Mother Was Like a Detective
Recipe: Christmas Candy
The Arch: A World Within a World
My Grandfather’s Fig Tree: It Was the Thing to Do
You Only Have One Family, You Don’t Have More
You’d Just Show Up, and You’d Be Welcomed
He Was a Marine: Uncle John
Everybody Would Always Win Something
We Would Have a Banquet
Recipe: Nannie’s Stuffed Rice
She Would Always Have Something Good For Us
Recipe: Gooma Rose’s Chinese Chews
Coda: Having Tea with Transcendence

IV. I THINK WE WOULD KNOW IF THE BED WAS ON FIRE: MY PARENTS’ GENERATION
The Shoe-Make
In That Same Bedroom
The Diamond and the Bicycle
Recipe: Lentil Soup
Recipe: Pastaefagiole
The Companion Salt Dishes
Recipe: Pork Chops à la Aunt Minnie
Would It Be Alright If I Gave You Some Ravioli?
Recipe: Chicken Soup with Pastene
Recipe: Manicotti
That Girl Would Rather Have Soup Than a Steak
They Had the Devil In Them
Ladies First
He Was a Brother
The Mayor of Arch Street
The Top of the Arch
Stay For a Quick Cup of Coffee
I Think We Would Know If the Bed Was On Fire
Pistachio
From Windowsills to Waterwheels

V. THE DONKEY AND THE CUCUMBER: HOW WE LEARNED TO CURSE FROM THE MASTERS
Wipe the Floor With It!
The Wedding in Worcester: The Frames Were Too Tight
Ghostus!
Like Close Cousins Who Live Across Town
Catch-a Benny!
I Don’t Need That Cataplasma!
They Made It Stink!
’Bout-a-Time!
A Jackass of a Cucumber
The Evil Eye
Gouge in Culo
He Saw More Ass than a Toilet Seat
One Hundred Years!
I Thought You’d Never Ask!
Goodbye, I Go!
Testing the Brakes
You Hold It Tight, and I’ll Go Get the String…
Wait a Minute—I’ve Got to Put My Glasses On
If He Liked You, It Was Another Story
Don’t All Small Children Get to Drink Black Coffee with Their Fresenes?
Recipe: Fresenes
The Infant of Prague

VI. THE ONGOING LIFE OF THE LIVES: THE BLESSINGS OF THE STATUES, THE VISIONS, AND THE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES
The Stories of the Statues
How I Started Working With Wood
It Sits In a Place of Honor
My Aunt’s Rosary Beads
A Lady All Dressed In Blue
Through a Thick Glass Window
In Showroom Condition
The Bright Light All Around
Dad Will Be Coming To Visit
Like Red Velvet
Multiple Names, Multiple Lives, Multiple Worlds
I Just Had to Show You That Rose

EPILOGUE: THESE THINGS MEAN A LOT TO US: THE STORY AFTER THE STORY

MORE RECIPES
Nannie Never Used a Recipe
Recipe: Cream of Carrot Soup
Recipe: Rich Brown Soup
Recipe: Eggplant Parmigiana
Recipe: Tomato and Eggs
Recipe: Pizza Dough
Recipe: Sweet Dough
Recipe: Date Nut Bread
Recipe: Lasagna
Recipe: Ricotta Dumplings
Recipe: Stuffed Cabbage
Recipe: Spitz-i-olse
Recipe: Braciole
Recipe: Veal Cacciatore
Recipe: Baked Stuffed Peppers
Recipe: Sausage and Peppers
Recipe: Baked Stuffed Lobsters
Recipe: Crab Cakes
Recipe: Baked Scallops
Recipe: Almond Crescents
Recipe: Chocolate Raisin Nut Cookies
Recipe: Butterballs
Recipe: Pumpkin Pie
Recipe: Easter Dolls
Recipe: Easter Pies
Recipe: Dough
Coda: When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
Recipe: Traditional Irish Soda Bread

 


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Another Italian-American book that will delight you!


Book Categories: Autobiography, History and Italian-American.