Antepasto? Let me show my opinion right off the bat. Ante in this case, means before, not against. You will see it most commonly called antipasto, but as a writer I chose the ANTE. It really depends on whether you obey the Latin or the Greek root. It’s the course before the big meal, traditionally, that’s right—pasta! It opens up the taste buds and prepares you for the pasta. I love to open things: topics, cans of worms, emails, garlic cloves, jars of marinated artichokes, hearts, and pints of ice cream. So, let me be your Antepasto. Auntie Pasto? You get the idea.
I would like this blog to be a source of enjoyment, and once in a while—a place to learn something new. As I edit my current middle grade novel called Black Licorice, I realize that so much of my writing is rooted in the beauty and power of food. There you go: another reason to title my blog page Elaina’s Antepasto. Curls and ribbons and dots. Salami, cucumbers, and mozzarella.
All of my main characters have Italian names. You can put money on it that my novels and picture books are likely to feature an older Italian woman in the mix. I was very close with my two grandmothers growing up. Everyone says that, but I really was. I made it a point to visit and sit with them every single month for years from the age of 18 until my mid thirties when they both passed away. (98 and 91 years old). I can remember the smell of their skin. Sometimes I smell them on my daughters. I think they like to hover around my house once in a while. Grandma Yola likes to visit when we are in our pajamas, and Josephine Battista likes to mess with the kitchen lights.
Now let me circle back to the antepasto. My grandmothers, aunts, mom and cousins—We all rolled the salami. We sprinkled in the olives. We sliced the mozzarella. It’s what I grew up watching and eating. I would eat a jar of the artichokes for breakfast if you let me. And then I would regret it at age 42 as I moan from acid reflux. And now, of course, as a mom—I order a tray of antepasto for special occasions. Shop Rite is better with the details than I am.
The purpose of my blog will probably depend on my mood, or whatever it is that I am listening to, watching, or reading. Like now—I am reading The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden. It is powerful. She references Cumberland Farms more than once. The story explores what it means to have a lot of responsibility at a young age. Zoe will inspire many young readers. Once I finish, expect a glowing review.
Check back for updates. Let me leave you with this link. It’s currently my favorite thing in the world for no other reason than the way it makes me feel. It is the main song on the soundtrack for my middle grade novel in revisions. NEW LINK