Cooking with Love

with Gianna Conte (Jan)

Cooking with Love

with Gianna Conte (Jan)

January Newsletter 2021

What a year it's been. Don't have to remind you because we're all in this together. Let's go back in time when I was growing up. The holidays are almost over. In Italy the children received gifts on January 6. In Italian folklore, La Befana is a good witch who brings good children treats on the morning of the Epiphany, January 6. But if you were bad, look out – you may wake up to a lump of coal.

Here she is...La Befana, the Christmas witch

One Christmas while we were still living in Italy, my sister Graziella was treated to a bag of coal. She had been so bad that year, my mother was going to teach her a lesson. She still brings it up after 65 years.


When I moved to America in 1956, the New Years festivities were so much fun.  My parents treated New Year's Day like Christmas.  Mom would make lasagna or homemade manicotti.  Of course there was an antipasti before the meal.  After the pasta entree, mom would serve a big roast, it may have been a Leg of Lamb or a fresh ham, or a roast beef.  Mom did not know how to make the roast beef.... many times, we would have very well-done beef. Along with the roast, there were roasted potatoes, or sweet potatoes.  A tossed green salad was served as a digestive. 

Sit back - there's more.  To aid in the digestive, roasted chestnuts, fennel, roasted whole nuts, e.g., walnuts, almonds, brazilan nuts. We shared the nutcrackers.  

Mom's lasagna was made with fresh dough. It was soft and tender....

Delicious fennel...crunchy and tender like a celery with an anise taste...

Sweet potatoes ready for butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt

Pizza Dolce (Italian Cheesecake) on our table.

Tasty Lamb cooked to perfection. My dad insisted it was well-done.

My father took great pride in how he roasted the chestnuts. They were so tender and hot....he had the magic touch!

Recipes can be found on my food blog -