Mozzarella Mamma versus Tiger Mother

September 22, 2011
By | in Being Mamma | 5 Comments

According to author Amy Chua in her “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” there are 7 points which distinguish a Chinese mother from a “typical Western overscheduling soccer mom.” Instead, I would like to contrast these 7 points with how I see the warmth and coddling of the Italian “Mozzarella Mamma”. I suppose if I […]

Walk on Cadavers and Sell Your Mother

September 21, 2011
By | in Women in Italy | 3 Comments

A recent television interview with an Italian escort who allegedly spent the night with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi reveals an unusual idea of how to be successful, “walk on cadavers and sell your mother.”  Her comments are interesting because they reveal an attitude towards life I’ve never heard before in Italy.” But first a […]

What does it mean to “have horns” in Italy?

September 20, 2011
By | in Language and Gestures | 16 Comments

Italy is the country where instead of giving someone the traditional finger in the car, you can really insult them by giving them the ‘corne’ or horns.  That is the index finger and the pinkie raised to look like horns.  If you say in Italian that someone has corne, it means that his or her […]

Madonna and Eve

September 17, 2011
By | in Language and Gestures | 11 Comments

According an Italian, whose name is preferable for an exclamation, Madonna or Eve’s? My adolescent daughters have adopted an Italian teenage expression. They pepper their conversations with the exclamation: “‘Maaaa – ddonnnnn– aaaa”. That would be “Madonna”. My Italian, and Catholic husband, Gustavo, does not like this one bit and every time he hears it he […]

LEI – Language Confusion

September 15, 2011
By | in Language and Gestures | 9 Comments
LEI  – Language Confusion

  When I moved to Italy many years ago, my husband tried to make the whole formality issue simple for me.  In Italian ‘Lei’ is the formal ‘you’ and ‘tu’ is the informal ‘you. “Use the LEI form with everyone,” he said. “That way you can’t go wrong.” A few weeks later I found myself […]

Porcini Mushroom Adventure

September 13, 2011
By | in Food Fiascos | 5 Comments

Food is nearly always top priority for Italians. A certain delicacy may even be worth physical risk.  One example is the behavior of Roman cameraman Massimo Mariani.  According to the story recounted to me by CBS producer/editor Jos Mason, Massimo was in the back of a jeep headed with a CBS crew down some rough […]

The Tailhook and the Elegant Dinner Party

September 10, 2011
By | in Being Mamma | 13 Comments

There have been exciting moments on the job at APTN that I could use to surprise Italians who might have believed in my ‘Brava Mamma Italiana’ act. During the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, APTN frequently sent us onto aircraft carriers from which fighter jets were flying bombing missions.  Getting flown onto an aircraft carrier […]

Linguini and Luscious Legs

September 7, 2011
By | in Women in Italy | 30 Comments

The summer in Italy is a particularly trying time for a woman, especially in the sunny South.  Rome is boiling hot in July and August, and Romans clear out of the city, heading for the mountains or beaches, leaving the tourists to swelter as they plod from the Coliseum to St. Peter’s Square.  Anyone who […]