Tag Archives: Nina Groppo
St. Joseph pasta-making day began with Franco and the gentlemen heading over to Gloucester Fraternity to make huge batches of pasta dough with the Fraternity’s new mixer machine. Thanks were given to the club’s Mario for making it possible. Back at the Groppo’s kitchen, Nina and Fina were making steamy hot vats of homemade ricotta on the stovetop to serve for breakfast to all the helpers. Friends and family arrived in waves throughout the day and all were there to lend a hand making pasta.
After all the St. Joseph Day pasta that was needed was made, an extra batch of pasta was made for we pasta-makers. Nina heated up her divinely delicious tomato sauce that she had canned over the summer, with tomatoes from her garden. We had a wonderful lunch feast and as I looked around the table at the many generations gathered, I thought of the memories being made that will be cherished by all, created from this very special community tradition of honoring Saint Joseph each year at the welcoming home of the Groppo Family.
Last batch, fini!
When you get to spend the day with these wonderful friends. Lots of photos to post later ❤
Enza and Layla
A draft of the coveted 10 year master arts and culture plan for the City of Boston dropped in May a dud, despite– or because of –its $1.2 million price tag. There’s a lot of pressure riding on Boston Creates final report, postponed until this coming Friday, June 17th. Boston is not alone in its struggles over funding and competing demands. Boston Creates and the ‘Art Czar’ fever did contribute to a climate of planning mana mania that found its way into Gloucester and other cities and towns. Boston Magazine writer Patti Harrigan profiled the year of Boston Creates, warts– no all in the article, “Boston’s Creative Crisis”:
“Marty Walsh’s $1.4 million Boston Creates plan was supposed to turbocharge the city’s arts scene. A year after its launch, are we ever going to get anything other than a series of kumbaya sessions and generic platitudes?”
She does a good job covering some of the reasons. I can add more. Another perspective was an op-ed piece penned by Clara Wainwright for the Boston Globe. You may know her work with the celebrated 1998 quilt series: “Protecting the Oceans That God Has Created,” by Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association members including Lena Novello, Angela Sanfilippo, Fino Sanfilippo, and Nina Groppo. I am confident you have heard about another iconic project she established.
First Night founder and artist with Gloucester ties, Clara Wainwright, weighs in on Boston Creates. Her column “A Way Forward for Boston Creates” was published on June 2, 2016, excerpt below:
“Members of the arts community are praising Mayor Walsh’s Boston Creates, a 10-year master plan for the city’s cultural life, but are concerned about funding. The result of interviews with leaders of large and small arts organizations, and of community brainstorming in Boston’s neighborhoods, the Boston Creates report was directed by Julie Burros, the Mayor’s new cabinet-level chief of arts and culture. In presenting a draft of the report (the final is due to appear June 17), Burros pointed out the broad, rich scope of the plan, but warned that there was minimal funding to carry out some of its goals. I was again reminded of the recent Boston Foundation report that placed Boston last of 10 major cities’ support for the arts. Why such a sad warning, when Boston’s arts organizations and artists have been so clever and resourceful over the years?
In 1970 the Institute of Contemporary Arts invited city agencies and community organizations to come up with projects. The parks commissioner wanted a huge bell on Boston Common, which children could ring by swinging on its rope; a community health center wanted a mural for its waiting room. Artists were invited to choose one of many project ideas or submit a dream of their own. A large array of their ideas were exhibited in City Hall, which then had an art gallery. Mayor White’s Office of Cultural Affairs and the city’s financial community were encouraged to fund those selected. Boston Gas saw Corita Kent’s proposal for a billboard and commissioned her to paint a mural on one of its tanks.
Currently, Artists for Humanity provides instruction and small salaries to 200 high school students in a state-of-the-art building in South Boston. Zumix gives East Boston children musical instruction, the opportunity to perform, and a recording studio and a radio station. Both organizations were initiated by dynamic young women in the 1990s on minimal budgets. Some of their funding today comes from corporate commissions for murals, graphic work, and performances.
This year the Groppo’s are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Saint Joseph honoring Nina’ s mother, Di Gaetano Vincenza. Tomorrow night, Thursday, the nine day novena begins and all are most sincerely welcome at the home of Nina and Frank Groppo.
Saturday is Saint Joseph pasta-making day at the Groppo’s and it is the most fun, with everyone lending a hand, from the oldest granny to the youngest child.
Caffe Sicilia’s Maria Cracchiolo is returning from vacation on Saturday and special orders for her beautiful bread can be placed then. You can see a demonstration of how she expertly shapes the Saint Joseph altar bread here.
Hats off to Lenny Linquata and his Gloucester House team for a smashing inaugural party!
Mayor Sefatia and grandchildren AJ, Bianca, Emma, and niece Lia
Nina, Frank, and Senator Tarr
SEE MORE PHOTOS HERE Read more
The annual Discover Gloucester holiday and awards party was held today at Latitude 43. A delightful luncheon was served followed by the award presentation. A stellar group of Gloucester can-do citizens was in attendance and it was a pleasure and honor to be amongst so many who have dedicated themselves to doing tremendous good for our community, especially where so much of their work is done behind the scenes and goes unsung. Thanks to Joey for suggesting that I cover the event for Good Morning Gloucester. He wished so much that he could be there to honor Kay, Bob, and the Mayor but it’s that time of year when work at the dock is nonstop.
A rising tide lifts all boats!
Mayor Sefatia Romeo Thekan was awarded the Discover Gloucester Heritage Award, which recognizes a person, business or organization that works towards ensuring that our maritime and cultural heritage remains current and relevant.
Bob Ryan, owner of Ryan and Wood Distilleries was awarded the Golden Sou’Wester Award, recognizing a person, business or organization that has jumped into tourism to add a new dimension to Gloucester’s diverse destination.
Kay Ellis, co-owner of the Schooner Thomas E. Lannon received the “Good On ‘Ya” Award, which recognizes a person or organization that has helped create a destination that is a wonderful place to visit and to live.
SEE LOTS MORE PHOTOS HERE Read more
International’s Women’s Day, or Festa della Donna, held last night at the Gloucester House Restaurant and hosted by Figli di Trappeto was, simply put, a smashing fun time. In attendance were an amazing group of Gloucester community-minded women and it was an honor to be with such a group, and all gathered under one roof!
Crocetta Groppo gave a heart felt speech honoring Gloucester’s first Sicilian-American woman mayor, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Thekan. The guests included State Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante, Angela Sanfilippo, and Mayor Romeo Thekan’s sisters Rosaria Floyd and Marianne Pacquette. The Gloucester House was transformed into a charming country western club with cheery red and white checked tablecloths, golden yellow sunflowers, red bandanas, milk bottle vases, and rustic touches abounding. After a delicious dinner of fried chicken, ribs, succotash, and macaroni and cheese, dancing ensued well into the night.
Stetson Hats Off to organizers Crocetta Groppo, Geri Parisi, Kathy Numerosi, Faye Pavia, Josephine Taormina, Fay Puopolo, Enza Taormina, and Nancy Millefoglie!
Last night we strained and bottled (and sampled!) out-of-this-world-delicious limoncello. The first time I had ever tasted limoncello that I found to be enjoyable was while filming at the Groppo Family’s Feast of Saint Joseph celebration. Nina serves her icy cold homemade limoncello in the traditional tiny glasses and I think it is so much better tasting than commercially bottled preparations. The flavor of her limoncello is intensely lemony fresh, sweet, and tart all at the same time, without the alcohol burn on the way down.
The limoncello doesn’t look that appetizing in the pre-bottled stage.
As part of the film’s sequence on Feast preparations, Nina and friends Cathy Gunn, Kathy Pratl, and Jane Beddus very graciously agreed to allow me to film during the different steps of limocello-making, along with inviting me to participate and make my own batch! Nina and her family and friends have been so wonderfully helpful and accommodating with Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project and I will be eternally grateful. Making limoncello with these sweet ladies has been so much fun and a wonderful reminder of the delight and joy that comes from sharing a project with friends.
Catherine Gunn, Nina Groppo, Janer Beddus, and Kathy Pratl
After bottling, we sampled each other’s batches, the reason being that they were all made in slightly different ways; several types of lemons were used, some had more vodka, and some had more simple syrup. Kathy pointed out that the because the recipe is so super simple, the only real error in making would be if you were to grate the lemons to close to the pith, which would make the beverage bitter.
Needless to say, we had a ball sampling all, as well as indulging in the beautiful array of cookies and treats prepared by Nina. To see more photos visit Jane Beddus’s FB page here.
The sieve we found to be the easiest and most effective for straining the pulp was a simple wooden flour sifter, used with cheese cloth, that Nina had purchased in Italy (see below in the Vine).
Left to right, front: Nina Groppo and Kathy Pratl; back: Jane Beddus and Catherine Gunn
This past weekend filming continued on the Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project. Nina and Frank Groppo serve the most wonderful homemade limoncello during the Feast and we decided back in March to include limoncello-making in the story of how Saint Joseph’s special day is celebrated in Gloucester. Nina, Kathy, Catherine, and Jane not only graciously agreed to allow filming, but also included me in the preparations and you’ll see what fun we had in the forthcoming film!
While at the Groppo’s garden you can’t help but notice their amazing crop of cucuzza (pronounced ku-koz-za, also goo-gootz), hanging from their handmade arbor. Cucuzza is an Italian squash that from what I understand, in English, means something like “super long squash.” A single squash can grow ten inches in one day!
For our first of several limoncello-making days, Nina created a beautiful lunch. She served cucuzza soup, made from both the fruit and the leaves. It was fabulous and delicious and like no other soup I had sampled before. She also baked wonderfully fresh hake filets and prepared a lovely tomato salad, with heirloom tomatoes from her garden.
Nina described how she hand pollinates the fruit ~ Each plant produces male and female flowers. She explains that it is easy to identify the female flowers as they have a small swollen fruit (ovary) on the stem, just behind the flowers. She plucks the male flowers off the vine and gently brushes together the male’s anther and female’s stigma, the flower’s reproduction parts, which insures good pollination. By removing the male flowers from the vine, you are not eliminating any potential fruit because the male flowers don’t bear fruit.
I have been planning an arbor for my garden patio for sometime and after seeing and tasting the Groppo’s fabulous cucuzza, I am not waiting any longer to build one!
Thank you dear Nina, Kathy, Catherine, and Jane for your continuing help with the Saint Joseph Film Project!
Yesterday, March 19th, The Feast of San Giuseppe was celebrated in Siciliain-American homes throughout Gloucester. Filming concluded last night for Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project at the home of Nina and Frank Groppo.
I arrived shortly after 9:00 am to the Groppo home, already packed full of friends and family prepping and cooking and organizing the house to accomadate the multitudes expected. For fear of missing any wonderful moments, I was sorry to leave even briefly, but I needed to pick up the exquisite Sicilian cassata cake created by Maria, Nina, and Domenic at Caffe Sicilia.
Returning to the Groppos ~ After days of preparation, cooking was in high gear, with enormous pots of Saint Joseph sauce simmering, vats of oil bubbling, and everyone working at their jobs. One of the most amazing aspects of the Groppo feast preparations is that no one person is giving orders; everybody just knows what to do and does their job perfectly!
At 11:30 guests began to arrive, and arrive they did! Literally hundreds of friends and family poured through the Groppo’s welcoming doors throughout the day.
After the extraordinary feast–extraordinary for the variety of, and deliciousness of, traditional Sicilian dishes, a feast for several hundred guests, I should add–many stayed for the afternoon; for conversation, coffee, desert, more wine, and tidyng the house for the next wave of family and friends, which began to arrive at 4:30.
The most beautiful of all prayer services was held at 5:00, where at the conclusion everyone stood shoulder to shoulder, holding hands, singing, and praying. Nina gave a most heartfelt speech of thanksgiving and then everyone embraced. The loving spirit of Saint Joseph, and the love and kindness of family and friends sharing a tradition together, was felt by all. And then we ate again, the second feast of the day!
Filming at the Groppo Family’s Saint Joseph Feast was simply beyond wonderful and I have a trunk full of memories I will treasure all my life. My most heartfelt thanks to Nina and Frank Groppo, and to their their extended Family and Friends for more than just allowing filming during their cherished Feast of Saint Joseph preparations, novena, and feast day, but for for making me feel welcome and completely at home! The thing is, they make everyone feel that way. Many come to the Groppo’s Feast straight away from work, fisherman and marine railway workers eat alongside businessmen in suits, and all are welcome at the Groppo table.
Words cannot accurately express my gratitude and appreciation to all the families that participated in the filming of Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph community film project. My sincerest hope is that the film will hold stories and moments for all to treasure.
I think the most challenging part of the upcoming editing is going to be in following the documentary’s screenplay, which I wrote several years ago, about the history and significance of the traditions, while weaving together everyone’s stories, and including all the priceless, spontaneous moments captured on film.
This post is a little hurried and I would like to write more, but it is my son’s 21st Birthday celebration tonight. Time for birthday dinner cooking to get underway. Viva San Giuseppe!!!
Updates will be added periodically to the film’s website: Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Film Project
Filming continues for Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph community film project, today at the beautifully warm and welcoming home of Nina and Frank Groppo.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart Groppo Family and Friends. I could not have felt more welcomed. Your kindness and good-heartedness reflects the true spirit of the Feast of Saint Joseph tradition.
I arrived at Nina and Frank’s home early this morning, just as Groppo friends and family were beginning to stream through the door, with everyone carrying armfuls of breakfast treats. The first order of business was starting several batches of homemade ricotta cooking on the stove. After filming the ricotta-making, I headed to the garage where the men were getting set up for making pasta. They had prepared the dough the night before and were spreading white cloths on the tables and setting out many hand pasta cranks.
All morning more and more friends arrived to lend a helping hand. There were perhaps 50-75 people there in the kitchen and in the garage, and all working at super high speed shaping, rolling, flouring, cranking, stacking, and cooking. Mid-morning and it was time to take a break. Nina and her crew fed the entire pasta-making team steaming bowls of the most amazingly delicious fresh ricotta. I had never had freshly made ricotta and after observing how it is made, I would love to give it a try.
One of the tables that Frank and his crew had set up in the garage was for drying the pasta. As batches of pasta were rolled, cut, and floured, they spread the pasta on the tables to dry. The first batches quickly filled the tabletop. The men then placed wooden blocks on the table and retuned from the shed with a new tabletop to stack on top of the first, covered that with a fresh white cloth, and spread the next batch of pasta. This happened eight times, to total a tower of pasta nine tiers high. Extraordinary!!!
After all pasta-making was done, amidst much dancing and merry-making, it was time to eat again! Frank and his crew cooked pasta in the garage, while Nina and her team prepared a large stockpot filled with sauce, which she had made from her homegrown harvest of tomatoes. Everyone crowded around the stove for beautiful aromatic bowls of pasta and red sauce, topped with freshly grated cheese.
Continue here for several more photos ~
Many, many thanks and our deepest appreciation to the Frank and Nina Groppo Family for agreeing to be interviewed and for allowing us to film their beautiful St. Joseph celebrations. While interviewing and during the feast, their wonderful home was overflowing with family and friends, joy and grace. Thank you Groppo Family and Friends!
Left to right front row: Eleonora D’Angelo, Angela Sanfilippo, Agata Groppo, Fina Briguglio, and Maria Sanfilippo.
and Nina “Crocetta” Groppo sitting on Agata’s lap.
Click portrait to view full size image.