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The Italian American Podcast

The Italian American Podcast



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IAP 184: The Gold Star of Italianess Listener Awards

• 51 min

Presepi, pomodori, produce and pane on Pasqua— what ties these alliterative phrases together you ask?  Well, they are some of the ways in which three very special Italian American Podcast listeners have worked to revive and celebrate beloved hallmarks of our Italian American heritage. During this unique, meandering episode, co-host Patrick O’Boyle is recognizing three listeners with the “Ordine della Stella d’Oro d’Italianità,” (The Order of the Gold Star of Italianess), his very own award of merit to listeners who have taken strides to connect with and preserve their heritage on a deep, personal level. Our first guest is Christopher Francese, a listener from New Jersey who decided to construct a Neapolitan Presepe (nativity scene) this past Christmas season as a way to bring that storied tradition into his family’s annual holiday observances. Chris tells us about how he worked to incorporate the life of his family’s ancestral hometown in his scene and why it was so important to him to reclaim this tradition for his family. He also shares his plans for his art for years to come. Our next awardee is Mike Giordano, a listener from New Jersey who took his family’s fruit store from a small mom and pop to a booming business when he inherited the business shortly after high school, and this year decided to bring back the tradition of jarring tomatoes with his family. Mike tells us about how the Italian American Podcast inspired him to reclaim this tradition and how he plans to make it an annual celebration of his family’s heritage. He also shares lessons about what he learned along the way and how connecting with the earth connects a person to his or her family’s past. Finally, our third honoree is Teresa Pascucci Cordelli, a listener from Pennsylvania who has lovingly reconstructed her family’s recipes to hand them down to younger generations. Teresa shares how she has perfected family recipes for items such as edible Easter baskets, traditional breads, and more. She also shares her family’s Umbrian Italian heritage and what it means to her to keep these traditions alive. Do you have a story you’d like to share with us, or someone you know and love who deserves a nomination for this prestigious-ish new award? Email us at and maybe they’ll be featured on our next “Order of the Gold Star of Italianess” Award Show episode! This episode is sponsored by Mediaset Italia.

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