Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A long way from LA...and a Sicilian Family Recipe

This week I am on the East Coast visiting family.

I am here for my grandmother's 90th birthday party. And I have to admit, I feel a little like a fish out of water. I have gotten so used to living in Los Angeles that coming back home is a little of a cultural shock. But, it's great to reconnect and one way to do that is through food!

And yes, I am eating a few too many whoopie pies and Sicilian treats, but as you will read on my Bold and Beautiful blog, I am working out to make sure I keep my figure. (it should be up sometime today, click here to see it)

So because I am home and around my huge and very loud Sicilian family, it seems totally appropriate to post a recipe! Afterall, don't you want to know what I am eating? I know this is a departure from my blog norm, but... oh well.

Sicilian "S" Cookies
My Great Great Grandmother, Concetta, lived in Militello, Sicily with her daughter Sebastiana when she taught her the “S” cookies recipe. In 1905 the recipe was brought to America by Sebastiana and later taught to her daughter, Josephine, (my grandmother that's turning 90!) who gave it to her daughter, Dolores (my mom), who in turn gave it to her children (I'm one of them!).

This is the recipe written by my grandmother's handwriting...her instructions are brief to say the least. To make the "S" shape just roll the dough in your hands. And any shape works, so get creative, if you like! Let me know how it turns out. And don't forget the powdered sugar! That really makes the cookie...


sam bell said...

hey jen
i love those s cookies there so cute!

i will try to make them and if they turn out ok ill take a photo and show u lol but if they suck or if i burn them then no photo for u
i dont know if i can do the s shape but ill try

its a really good photo did rebecca take that?

and wow ur granny is turning 90
i hope she has a great birthday, its great she lived a long time so she can see u grow up and see all ur successes, i bet shes proud of u! i am!

and ur family tree is awsome its so interesting

have a great time with ur family

love sam

Mike© said...

Thanks for posting this recipe. I am Sicilian and Puerto Rican, and my Sicilian Nana would make Cuccidatti cookies when I was younger(yum!).
Looks like you are in Amish country - do they really have "Amish Friendship Bread" back there? I have the starter for it and will be baking it in a few days and giving away 3 bags of starter to continue sharing it.
Have a great visit!

Joke Devos said...


I've never heard from "S" cookies.
I will try make.

Wow your grandmother is turning 90
I wish her a very happy birthday And many fine years


Vera said...

Happy birthday to your grandmother wow 90 years old.. That recipe sounds very delicious......And trust me sicilian food/sweets is the most delcious sweets in the world and yep they beat malta in it, it goes back to nearly 100 years, and runs in the family, that is wonderfull..

I hope that your granny has a wonderfull b'day and many more years, and that you enjoy everysingle day with your family!!

BTW i dont leave far from sicily 1 hour far by plane and 2 by boat!!!

dj ashrafi said...

Wish your granny a very happy birthday from my side and you have a wonderful time back home ....

Logan said...

Hmmm...in Pennsylvania? In what is referred to as Amish Country?
I live in PA. Lancaster County.
Wow your grandma is gonna to be 90!
Good for her! :)

Mon said...

Hi Jennifer.

The cookies does look cute.I would love to try the recepie out but I am no baker.I would mess it up,I´m sure.

happy birtday to your grandmother,90 years old...If we all could experience an age like that.

Carolyn said...

Hi Chickie!

Great picture of the three men going down the road. I'd love to know what they were up to. It's a very relaxing picture.

Welcome back to the East Coast! I also love the S cookies. My mom and dad would always take us to the Italian Bakery to get our Easter Candy and when we wanted some good pastries. God, that was good stuff!! Rum cakes, the chocolate, canolis - all of it homemade. I swear, my father's mouth would water just thinking about making a trip to it. Unfortunately, they've closed. So sad because another hasn't opened like it since. That makes getting the recipe all the more special.
It's very cool you shared it with us. Thank you!

You can't go wrong with recipes that have been passed down that long. I have one for a pumpkin pie that an English professor, who is now 86, gave me that his mother used to make. Without a doubt, her pumpkin pie can not be topped. Of course, it was made with real sugar pumpkins. Love to cook, but hate to bake. Although, I do cook and freeze pumpkin this time of year so that I'll be able to have it year round. Ya know how when your man screws up, you get flowers? Well, when I screw up, which of course is Hardly Ever!, I make the pie for him. Works like a charm!!

So did the snow fly yesterday where you were? It did here. We had a couple of inches on the ground in Northwestern CT. Halloween's supposed to be beautiful weatherwise. After yesterday, we lost a lot of leaves. I hope you were able to see some pretty colors upon your return. Love LA, but there's nothing like the four seasons. Do you miss them? I would miss the cold at Christmas if I didn't live in this area.

That's sweet of you to have taken time out of your busy schedule to be with the family for your grandmother's birthday. I'm sure she appreciates it very much. Not sure how often you're able to get home, but I imagine not very often between taping, school work, and working out.

Read your other blog on the B&B site. Funny that people were trying to figure out why you look so familiar at the gym.

As to what do I predict that will happen in the show...I'll state it here because I can't remember my password to the other site.

I think Donna will be left high-n-dry by Eric to return to Stephanie. He doesn't seem to think you have much compassion for Pam in light of her medical condition, and right now Stephanie is looking like kindler, gentler person with regards to people's feelings. What's in store for Donna next? It'd be a good scandal to have her hook up with Ridge or Nick. Owen will move on to someone else by the time Donna is free to love someone again after her relationship with Eric falls apart. I'd like to see a feisty Donna return weaving a web to get what she wants. Pam turned her into a bit of a whimp, but now that Pam's been outted, let the games begin!

Enjoy your vacation and thanks again for taking the time to write to us. It's a lot of fun for us fans.

Take good care,

Scott N said...

Hi, Jen:

Wow, you must be excited about celebrating your grandma's 90th birthday. It sounds like you're a close family with stuff like your passing the recipes down in your family, so I'm sure this is an important time for everyone in your clan.

To echo the others' thoughts, how has the weather been by you? Here in New York City, we have not had any snow yet, although we did get a storm front with a lot of winds and rain for a couple of days and the temperatures dropped into the 40s and even 30s at night. It's supposed to get warmer over the weekend, though. But I know some of the other East Coast states (like Connecticut where Carolyn is) had some snow, so I know you might have seen some of the flaky white stuff.

That brings up a question for you. At last year's fan event, I asked William deVry how East Coast life compared to living in L.A., especially where stuff like snow was concerned. With your family being back east, I'm sure you can make the same comparison, so is there anything from the east coast area you were raised in that you miss now that you're living in L.A.?

Janis Petzold said...

Jen-hope you are having a wonderful time visting your family for your Grandmother's birthday. I love italian food alot too. My favorite place is Maggianos. I love Pizza and Pastas. I can't pick what pasta would be my favorite-they are all good. Hope you get back to L.A. safely. When do you have to go back to the studio again? Have you heard from William DeVry Lately? I write to him and he wrote to me with an autographed photo. I also have Susan's autograph on a birthday card from last year. How do you like your current Storyline? What is it like to work with the famous Betty White?

vito said...

i can't belive ...your grandmother lived in Sicily ???
Oh my god wonderful news because i from Sicily ( i live in Eolie Island's - Lipari).
So i'm sure you know the wonderful sicilian foods...for exemple almdonds cookie's or " cannolo siciliano " or " cassata siciliana " your grandmother know that :)

Ciao from Sicily

Jennifer Gareis' Blog said...

Happy Halloween!

sam- This blog had two photographers. My dad took the three men in the cart and Rebecca, my sis, took the "s" cookie photo. My mom and Rebecca made the cookies, This blog is a family affair. My grandmom is amazing! She loves all of her children and grandchildren so much! But also, she is Sicilian…which means she has a very tough side too! And in the kitchen, forget it. You have to follow her rules or ELSE!

mike@- Yes, they do have Amish bread here in Dutch country. I do not know where or how it "really" started. Maybe one of our readers can answer that one. My mom made it often when I was young and it is good. We also have cool jelly and jams here. And last night my dad made homemade chicken soup. Delicious! Lots of chickens here…

joke- Thanks joke...I cannot believe it either. My grandmom is 90 years young! Her sisters will be there to help us celebrate this weekend.

vera-Tell me about "beat Malta in it" please. Tell me where you live. Do you live south of my homeland Sicily, in Malta?

djashrafi- Thank you so much. Teach me a dance for her party! I am going to send you a picture of the girls and I getting in touch with our Bollywood side…They are better than me and they can sing really high. I’m not so good, but I sure do try!

logan-Where do you live in Lancaster County?

mon- Can you believe that my mom takes her swimming.....still! My grandmom is one amazing woman. She taught me to jump "double-Dutch" rope when she was 60 years old! And she also taught me all the Sicilian Swear words too…oh yeah. Even though no one knew what I was saying, deep down inside I did!

carolyn- Where was that bakery? One just opened near my mom and it is so delicious!
It was so warm and lovely here on the East coast. Mom called it an "Indian summer" Then, overnight the cold wind moved in and the leaves blow all over and the rain came down. It glued all of the wet leaves to the ground. Better weather is coming and it should be beautiful again for Grandmom's birthday this weekend.
Thanks again for the comments. You are correct, I cannot return to see my family too often. But when I do I try to visit everyone. That is always a challenge. I came home this summer and everyone got together. Mom had a REALLY full house for the week. We had so many people for meals we had to eat in shifts. Kids first then adults later!

scott n- If you were at last years fan event I met you!!!! YES?
If you ask me what I miss the most from the East coast, I would say , "My Family!" I can get most anything else in L.A. except my family. The nieces and nephews change the most. If I do not see a young child for six months they look and act like a different person. The youngest one in the family was just six months old this past summer. Wow, she will soon be one year old! What did Will say?
BTW will I see you at Summer 2009 fan event?

janis petzold- Maggianos...I love that restaurant, and it is next to CBS. We have our "actor dinner" once a year where all of the cast of BnB come together and enjoy their great pasta and other specialties.
About Will- I will always consider him my brother and he just finished a publicity tour in Europe for us.

Vito- Yes-My grandmother is from Militello in Val di Catania, Sicily. I plan on visiting there this coming year. My family was there last spring. I had to work and could not come with them. They brought back tons of photos and presents for me. I am going in 2009! Have you ever been? My family also vacations in Naxos and Taormina. It’s lovely there. I love the pastries—they are simply the best. My uncle has a place called Bar New York in Militello. Do you know this place? Best ice cream!

Joke Devos said...

Happy Halloween.

Thank you so much for your comments. You make my great day.


sam bell said...

hey jen
so around ur place i guess ur grams is the head chef? lol

it sounds like ur having a great holiday!!!

i was going to make ur s cookies this weekend but i burnt myself today badly
i slipped over while i was carrying a kettle of boiling water and burnt my left arm and hand
i put photos on facebook if u wanna see lol
but ill be alright
so i will have to make ur s cookies next week
if they turn out alright i will take a photo and show u

i made my jack o latern the other day for the 1st time ever
it turned out alright it wasnt great tho
but i did make pumpkin soup and that was great!
it was the 1st time i had seen a jack o lantern ive only seen them on tv/movies and pictures so i had to guess how to make it, so i guess i did alright

u will have to post photos of ur halloween i would love to see photos of a real american halloween that would be awsome!
dont watch 2 many scary movies!
i wonder what u will dress up as? i cant wait to see ur halloween photos

have a safe trip back to the west coast!!
ur halloween card and package i sent u will be there waiting for u
i hope u do like it
happy halloween again

love sam

Vera said...

Oh what i meant its that, sicilian sweets are more delicious.... Not saying ours nope!!

Im from Malta and its in europe... Its not in sicily nor in italy, we're under it. Everyone thinks that Malta is in italy but its not, were so small that you could barely see it. But its a dot!!!

Logan said...

I live in Mount Joy. Which is right outside of Lancaster. About 15-20 minutes away.
I grew up in Elizabethtown which is next to Mount Joy.
My stepmom and dad live in Willow Street.

Jennifer Gareis' Blog said...

sam bell-You asked if anyone knew who I was....well someone asked, "Are you Jennifer Gareis?" I replied, "Yes, I am Jennifer and Cleopatra (my costume) too!" So, I guess they did not believe me.

vera-I did not go out with my coworkers this year instead I went "Trick or Treating" with my nieces. In California we made a big deal out of this holiday with parties for the adults. I had to supervise my nieces more, but the dress-up was more fun. We started to get dressed up the night before. We went to the attic and pulled out dresses from LONG ago. We had the kitchen table, chairs and bureaus pilled high with costumes. Then we decided what we would wear. I wrote to above (to sam) that I decided to be cleopatra. It really looked so good.

robert c. The children really did not eat most of the candy they got. Actually hey enjoyed the dress-up part the best! Since we started the night before, they had all chosen their costume. Everyone put on a costume, and we took photos. As far as the candy, their mom has trained them well...seriously, they picked perhaps one inspected it and then asked mom if they could eat it. That was it! Impressive!!!!

joke-My mother and aunt were there to help celebrate. They both wore old dresses. The birthday party went wonderful! I had a great time with my aunts and cousins (who I do not see that seldom). My sis took video...wait until I post it, very funny stuff!

Jennifer Gareis' Blog said...

oops...I just posted the wrong comments here. I will post the right ones...

Jennifer Gareis' Blog said...

Joke-I am always glad to hear from you. Thanks!

sam bell- Thanks for the message. Yes, I love Halloween. I usually celebrate it with my friends by going to parties. This year I celebrated it with my nieces and we went out "Trick or Treating." It was a different experience and fun too.

vera- I would love to visit Malta. They say that my grandfather's family originated from there. Maybe I should check this out! Know any Farruggio's?

logan- Yes, you live near to my parents. We send you Lancaster greetings!