Welcome to my world - a blend of passion, taste, and old-world traditions.

Benvenuti nel mio mondo - un mischio di passione, gusto e vecchie tradizioni.

Friday, January 5, 2018

My Italian Immigrant Home: 2 kitchens and a Cantina (La mia casa di immigrante Italiana: 2 cucine e cantina)

Being a first generation Italian immigrant my home has two kitchens: one on the first floor and the other in the basement.  Why two kitchens you may ask?  To me, the basement kitchen is a liberating space:  a place in which I can cook, do laundry, crafts and move freely as I please without having to feel constrained or worry about cleaning the stoves and mopping the floor. 

Basement kitchen
It's a practical space:  to do messy food preparations and seasonal food preservation and finally, it provides direct access to the cantina.


What is a Cantina
Cantina is a small, dark room below the ground level where our cured meats, damigiane di vino, jars of pickled food, canned tomatoes and other Italian staples are stored.

Cured Meats


Why first time Italian immigrants have a cantina?

La cantina represents the importance of food to Italians and a way of bringing Italy into our American homes.  Similar to a basement kitchen, it's the control center or the heart of the house.  It shows how hard the immigrants work and the pride we have and share with the family.  Like our obsession with the fig trees, la cantina represents tradition, continuity with the past and, above all, identity.

La cantina is disappearing but it will forever remain a link to our roots and to our history.

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