Italian-American

04/25/07 | by JAdP | Categories: Personal

A friend from way-back in high school, and also an American of Italian heritage, whose mother and mine grew up on the same block, forwarded the following email to me. Some of this resonates, some doesn't.

Italians:

"I am sure for most second generation Italian American children who grew up in the 40's and 50's there was a definite distinction between us and them. We were Italians, everybody else, the Irish, the Germans, the Poles, they were Americans.

"I was well into adulthood before I realized I was an American. I had been born American and lived here all my life, but Americans were people who ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on mushy white bread. I had no animosity towards them, it's just I thought ours was the better way with our bread man, egg man, vegetable man, the chicken man, to name a few of the peddlers who came to our neighborhoods. We knew them, they knew us.

"Americans went to the A&P. It amazed me that some friends and classmates on Thanksgiving and Christmas ate only turkey with stuffing, potatoes, and cranberry sauce. We had turkey, but after antipasto, soup, lasagna, meatballs and salad. In case someone came in who didn't like turkey, we also had a roast of beef. Soon after we were eating fruits, nuts, pastries and homemade cookies sprinkled with little colored things.

"This is where you learned to eat a seven course meal between noon and four PM, how to handle hot chestnuts, and put peaches in wine. Italians live a romance with food.

"Sunday s we would wake up to the smell of garlic and onions frying in olive oil. We always had macaroni and sauce. Sunday would not be Sunday without going to mass. Of course you couldn't eat before mass because you had to fast before receiving communion. We knew when we got home we'd find meatballs frying, and nothing tasted better than newly fried meatballs with crisp bread dipped into a pot of sauce.and some hot peppers on the side.

"Another difference between them and us was we had gardens. Not just with flowers, but tomatoes, peppers, basil, lettuce and "cucuzza".

"Everybody had a grapevine and fig tree. In the fall we drank homemade wine arguing over who made the best. Those gardens thrived because we had something our American friends didn't seem to have. We had Grandparents.

"It's not that they didn't have grandparents. It's just they didn't live in the same house or on the same street. We ate with our grandparents, and God forbid we didn't visit them 3 times a week I can still remember my grandfather telling us how he came to America when he was young, on the "boat".

"I'll never forget the holidays when the relatives would gather at my grandparent's house, the women in the kitchen, the men in the living room, the kids everywhere. I must have fifty cousins. My grandfather sat in the middle of it all drinking his wine he was so proud of his family and how well they had done.

"When my grandparents died, things began to change. Family gatherings were fewer and something seemed to be missing. Although we did get together usually at my mother's house, I always had the feeling grandma and grandpa were there.

"It's understandable things change. We all have families of our own and grandchildren of our own. Today we visit once in a while or meet at wakes or weddings. Other things have also changed. The old house my grandparents bought is now covered with aluminum siding. A green lawn covers the soil that grew the tomatoes.

"THERE WAS NO ONE TO COVER THE FIG TREE..SO IT DIED.

"The holidays have changed. We still make family "rounds" but somehow things have become more formal. The great quantities of food we consumed, without any ill effects, is not good for us anymore Too much starch, too much cholesterol, too may calories in the pastries.

"The difference between "us" and "them" isn't so easily defined anymore, and I guess that's good. My grandparents were Italian-Italians, my parents were Italian-Americans. I'm an American and proud of it, just as my grandparents would want me to be. We are all Americans now...the Irish, Germans, Poles, all U.S. Citizens.

"But somehow I still feel a little bit Italian. Call it culture...call it roots...I'm not sure what it is. All I do know is that my children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, have been cheated out of a wonderful piece of our heritage.

"PASS ON TO YOUR ITALIAN FRIENDS"end quotation
-- From an email Forwarded On 2007 Apr 25, at 16:30

I never considered others American and Italians not. I never thought of anyone as an American, except, perhaps, some hypothetical WASP type depicted on TV. Going to a R.C. parochial school, I had never met any. &#59;) Poles, Germans, Spaniards, etc. were just that. The only problems were Irish, some were friends, some were enemies. One family in particular would have their youngest brother "call me out" in the school yard. Luckily it didn't prejudice me against the clan.

My parents shopped at A&P. Thanksgiving was Turkey, filling, cranberry sauce from a can [shudder], etc. My grandparents and parents jumped on convenience food. This did lead to some odd hybrids, like gnocchi made from instant mashed potatoes and ricotta. Very strange, really. Christmas Eve, Christmas and Easter were more Italian food holidays, with many courses spanning several hours. There were no peddlers coming to our neighborhood, and the old Italian neighborhoods of my grandparents' generation were mostly turning to other heritages and mixing, and my various family members were scattered around southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware - other than my father's youngest sister and her family who lived next door to us. I've discovered that the dish with lots of ricotta, few layers of pasta that I grew up with as lasagna is an American bastardization. Mom did make spaghetti and meatballs most weekends, though a roast chicken with potatoes and lima beans cooked in the roasting was more likely on Sunday. Dad always made one supper each week of a thin steak or liver, with sautéed onions and mushrooms, mashed potatoes and [canned] creamed corn. I still think of these four meals as comfort food [though I tend to use fresh fava beans and add fennel to that chicken dish, and my lasagna is not my parents']. :p

Actually it struck me as weird when I lived in areas near and around Boston, Chicago and Wilkes-Barre, to discover people who lived at most two blocks from where they grew up, had the same friends as adults that they had made in grade school, and had never lived any further away.

Sunday meant Mass less and less, and stopped altogether by my junior year at the Prep.

Holiday gatherings at both grandparents did gradually die down by the time I hit college. Too many grandkids begetting great-grandkids and doing their own thing with their new extended families or becoming insular with their nuclear families.

My grandfathers and father had gardens. Dad still does. When his father fed me peas right out of the pod still on the vine, out in the garden when I was about six... wow - I haven't eaten a pea any other way since; canned, frozen or still in the pod from a produce stand. The sugar just starts oxidizing as soon as you pluck that pod and by the time you get them to the kitchen, peas are bland starch balls. Forget about any further separation from the vine.

Grapevines yes, fig trees no. No mention of dandelion wine or home made red, which were favorites of Uncle Nanu. [Yes, really... a nickname though.]

My paternal grandparents house did get covered with aluminum siding, but that was well before Grandmom died at 96. BTW, that Grandmother ate peanut butter on toast or biscotti nearly every breakfast of her life, as do I - though I go with organic, unsalted, unsweetened, 100% valencia peanuts.

Actually, I'm much more into trying to rediscover my Italian heritage than my parents; or my grandparents, who wanted to "blend in". That's why I collect Italian cookbooks with regional stories and history, research old recipes, and reach out to bloggers like Gianugo Rabellino, who not only blogs about open source software, as do I, but about his Sunday cooking and the importance of food to his Genovese lifestyle.

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White Bean and Ham Soup

04/14/07 | by JAdP | Categories: Food and Drink

Now that you've made many ham and swiss on rye sandwiches, ham frittatas, Denver omelettes, and whatever else, from your leftover Easter 2007 ham, and you're down to the bone, what's next?

Soup, of course

'Tis my understanding, taken from Zuppa "Soups from the Italian Countryside" warning: Amazon Link by Anne Bianchi, that there are eight types of Italian soups:

  1. Zuppa - rich and complex, usually served over a large slice of crusty bread, that has been brushed with olive oil and maybe garlic or an appropriate herb, and toasted on that side
  2. Farinate - a porridge or gruel, made from a savory, often vegetable, stock with polenta, buckwheat or farina (flour made from durum or semolina wheat, barley or farro, rice or chestnuts)
  3. Minestrone - a "big soup" with many, many ingredients [my family's minestrone is ham, cabbage, green beans, salami or pepperoni, potatoes and savories]
  4. Minestre - much like a zuppa but with rice or pasta, rather than being served over bread
  5. Brodi - a broth, possibly served over a large crouton, as with a zuppa, or croutons, or not
  6. Pancotti - bread soups
  7. Passate - purees made with a food mill
  8. Creme - cream soups

So, rather than the minestrone that my parents make, or a simple navy bean soup, here's what I'm doing with my ham bone today...

Minestrone di Castagne e Fagioli Cannellini

A big soup of chestnuts and white beans adapted from Anne Bianchi's book
  1. If using dried cannellini [small white beans] and dried, peeled chestnuts, pick over for stones, wash, and soak together overnight as usual, one pound of chestnuts and an half-cup of beans
  2. Put the ham bone and whatever meat is left into a stock or crock pot with a properly studded, sweet, yellow onion
    Onion studded with bay leaves attached using cloves
    Click to view original size
  3. Cover the ham, bone and onion with vegetable stock; simmer for four hours
  4. Add the soaked, drained, and otherwise prepared beans and chestnuts, and simmer for two hours
  5. Add a bunch of kale, chard or spinach that has been cleaned and soaked in cold, salted water for an half-hour, two tablespoons of a soffritto made from diced onion, celery and carrot, cracked black pepper, and coarsely chopped parsley, lightly (literally boiled in oil) stewed in olive oil and butter, until the vegetables are very tender, a grind of nutmeg, crushed pepper, and salt to taste, cook another 20 minutes
  6. an half-cup of white arborio rice may also be added at the same time as the greens and spices for a very hearty soup

Serve piping hot with crusty bread and white wine and... Enjoy! :p

 

Easter 2007

04/08/07 | by JAdP | Categories: Food and Drink

As I've said in the past, Easter is my favorite holiday for food. As such, we very much follow tradition from year-to-year. This year was no different, but as many food oriented traditions, the amounts eaten and the time taken to eat are both much less than in previous generations. When my grandmothers served an holiday meal, it would start in the morning and proceed into the evening meal. Now, we had a two three course brunch.

The Italian "breakfast" course

Mazzarelles

Mazzarelles are one of my favorite things to eat, but are only made for Easter. Stefano, who owns and rents a villa in Abruzzo, provided me with the correct spelling in a comment [lost apparently when we blacklisted angelfire.com for spamming, rats, fixed it now] in 2005. There are many individual variations of this dish in my family. Dad made them this year, and his have more tomato sauce than mine do, but it's very good. Here's my recipe.

  1. Clean, devein, trim and properly prepare the heart, kidney and liver from an unweaned lamb. Likely you'll need to know a shepherd/ess [I used to know a shepherdess in Mendocino, but long ago, and I've lost touch] to obtain this; if not, use calves' liver.
  2. Slice the organ meat into julienne strips.
  3. Sauté the strips of meat in olive oil with garlic and crushed black pepper until just browned
  4. Remove the meat
  5. Deglaze the pain with white wine and reserve for the sauce
  6. Wrap some [about two ounces or a small handful] strips of each type of meat in two leaves of romaine lettuce, with a trimmed, whole green onion and a sprig of Italian [flat-leaf] parsley [Plus - added 20120407: seeing sprig of marjoram as well, tried it this year & very good], tie each packet with the green stalk of other green onions or chives that have been soaked in room temperature salted water; they'll need to be very flexible or you'll get frustrated [of course, the traditional tie is cleaned lamb intestine, or butcher's twine]
  7. In a large, flat-bottomed, high-sided pan, simmer three glasses of the dry, white wine that you'll be serving with the meal.
  8. Add the lettuce packets of lamb organs, and one roma tomato per packet that have been peeled, halved cross-wise and seeded; the packets should be just covered with liquid
  9. Simmer for an half-hour, then place in a 325°F oven for two hours, checking to assure that the pan doesn't dry out or the packets blacken; add water, baste and cover if needed; salt to taste about half-way through
  10. Remove the packets with a slotted spoon and place in the serving dish
  11. Stir the sauce, and cook down if needed; the sauce can be passed through a food mill if desired, but I prefer to just spoon it over the packets
  12. Serve hot with spiniad and frittata
Parsley, walnut, & garlic frittata
  1. The leaves from about an half bunch of Italian [flat-leaf] parsley, cleaned and left to dry, then chopped fine with a mezzaluna
  2. 10 whole, large eggs, beaten with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, a teaspoon of very cold water, 3 tablespoons of ricotta, the parsley, salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  3. Crush a clove of garlic and sauté in a tablespoon each of olive oil and unsalted butter [this gives a higher smoking point temperature than either alone] until just starting to brown
  4. Remove the garlic, and pour in the egg mixture
  5. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and check after 10 minutes to assure that the eggs have set; if they are, loosen the frittata from the bottom of the pan by banging and judicious use of a spatula
  6. Place a dish that is a bit larger in diameter than your pan over the top of the pan, placing your hand firmly on the bottom of the dish, lift the pan by the handle and, holding it all tightly together, flip over so that the frittata is on the plate
  7. reheat the pan over medium-high heat, add a bit of butter if needed, and slide the frittata, pale side down, into the pan, to brown that side; repeat this operation several times until the frittata is nicely browned on both sides, but don't overcook; the interior should be moist
  8. This dish is normally served at room temperature, so you can make it right after putting the mazzarelles into the oven

Spiniad [Easter bread]

Spiniad, at least that's what it sounds like my grandparents would say, is an Italian Easter Bread. The paternal side of the family would make it in a coffee can, so that it puffed out the top, much like a Christmas panettone, to look like a chef's hat; the maternal side made it in a ring, with one hard-boiled egg - still in the shell and boiled in holy water - set in place like a jewel decorating one corner. They're both very rich in eggs and slightly sweet, reminiscent of challah. Dad made a variation this year in his bread machine. You can find a more traditional recipe on the web. Unfortunately, I don't have either of my grandmothers' recipes.

Pizza or Torta Rustica

We didn't make this dish this year, but my maternal grandmother would always serve this with Easter brunch. 'Tis like a quiche in that it has a pie crust. The filling is ricotta based, mixed with egg, some chopped parsley, grated parmigiana, salt and pepper, and poured into the pie crust, studded with chunks of fontina, prosciutto, and salami, and baked. Served at room temperature.

The American "lunch" course"

Ham basted with cola and white wine, glazed with fresh pineapple, ginger marmalade, nutmeg, paprika, stone ground mustard and turbinado sugar

Jewell yams with butter, turbinado sugar, allspice and pecans

French green beans almondine

Potato salad

Desert

What? You think that you can't eat any more. Try to resist, just try.

Pastiera

[also known as Neapolitan Easter cake, although ours is with rice not the traditional wheat berries, even though it comes down from my Neapolitan, maternal great-grandmother]

  1. Make a pie crust of 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cold and cut into 7 ounces of unbleached flour mixed with 1 tablespoon of turbinado sugar [crushed], knead into the dough 3 large egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of whiskey or dark rum and form into a ball, cool for an half-hour and roll out, line a 10-inch spring-form pan, reserve the remaining dough
  2. Make the filling of

    • 15 ounces of ricotta
    • 3 whole large eggs, beaten
    • 3 drops of pure bourbon vanilla extract
    • zest from one lemon and one orange
    • grind of nutmeg
    • one half cup [dry, pre-cooked measure] of brown arborio rice cooked in sweetened milk or coconut milk
  3. Pour the filling into the crust
  4. roll out the remaining pie-crust dough, and cut into half-inch wide strips, and make a basket weave over the top of the filling
  5. Bake in a pre-heated, 350°F oven, checking after 45 minutes, and then every 15 minutes, until a clean, stainless-steel knife inserted half-way between the edge and the center of the pan, comes out clean; if the crust begins to over-brown, cover with aluminum foil
  6. After removing from the oven, let stand at room temperature for two hours, and remove the spring-form pan
  7. place in the refrigerator, but remove at least an half-hour before serving
  8. serve cool with...
Coffee with Anisette

My grandparents would also serve that at the end of a meal. I do it a bit differently than they did. A good pot of Joseph's blend, brewed for five minutes, in a French Press using filtered water right off the boil, and served laced with warm milk, turbinado sugar and Sambuca Black. Oh, yes, very nice.

I might come back later and update this post with some details, but I started cooking 10 hours ago, and now, I think, 'tis time for a little nap.

Updated on 2007 April 14 with recipes and links.

 

Leftover Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipes

03/18/07 | by JAdP | Categories: Food and Drink

Or tomorrow's leftovers today - which is somewhat of an in joke. A company where we worked, changed its name to Nextira One. My partner, who is Philippina, thought this was very funny as tira is Tagalog for leftovers, so we figured that next tira one would be tomorrow's leftovers today. Not a great slogan for a VAR. &#59;)

Anyway, back to the solution for what do to with all that leftover St. Paddy's day corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. These are very simple recipes.

Make a Hash of It

Corned beef hash is easy to make. Cut about a pounds worth of corned beef from the left over chunk. I use a mezzaluna, but you can use a chef's knife, or even a food processor. Mince the meat very fine. For the potatoes, you could use the leftovers from yesterday, but I prefer to keep those for the bubble & squeak below. I also like to fry my hash very crisp. Both these criteria lead me to grate potatoes as for latke. Using the wide holes on a box grater, grate long strips of potato into a bowl. For one pound of corned, beef, I use two potatoes. Squeeze as much water as you can from the potato strands. You'll be amazed how much comes out. Mix the dry strands of potato with the minced beef. Mince two slices of sweet yellow onion [or not, or more if you like], and, over low heat, in a tablespoon of oil, butter or bacon grease, sauté until the onion is just transparent. Add the meat and potato mixture to the pan, stirring in the onion. Pat the mixture down evenly. Raise the heat to medium or medium-high. Crisp the hash on one side, flip, and crisp on the other. I like to serve it with poached eggs and the Irish Soda Bread from yesterday.

Bubble & Squeak

Also very simple, and like the hash, using some sweet yellow onion, is optional. Cube the leftover cabbage and potatoes from yesterday. Heat a heavy pan over a medium-high flame. Sauté some diced onion, if you like. Mix the cabbage, potato and onion in a bowl, and smash it down and flatten into a large pancake. Crisp on each side. This can be served with the corned beef hash, or on its own, as a side dish, or with eggs. I like it with sausages or bangers.

Reuben

The Reuben is a wonderful sandwich. The best that I ever had was at the Hawk & Dove in D.C. Oh, it just struck me. When we're presenting at Campus Technology 2007 this summer, I may be able to get back there. [Hey, Cos, is the H & D still there? You, Bunkey and I went there with Father Paul a couple of decades ago.] Now, I'm excited. :p

Lean corned beef, and a great pumpernickel or rye bread make the Reuben. You don't know what a Reuben is? Let me explain. A Reuben is a grilled deli sandwich, made on rye, sometimes pumpernickel bread, with Russian dressing on the inside of both slices and butter on the outside, piled high with corned beef, sometimes pastrami, sauerkraut and swiss cheese, and grilled until the cheese melts, the bread is crunchy, and the meat and kraut are hot. I've seen some places that don't have a grill offer a steamed Reuben. Don't order it. Don't order anything from such places - just leave.

Here's my version.

  1. I buy my bread, and most pumpernickels that I've tried out here seem to have a burnt taste, so I use Grace Baking's N.Y. Deli Rye
  2. Russian Dressing:
    1. 1 cup freshly made Mayonnaise
    2. 1/4 cup vinaigrette made by whisking the XV olive oil into the red wine vinegar slowly to blend
    3. 1/4 cup chili sauce
    4. 2 tablespoons minced sweet yellow bell pepper
    5. 2 tablespoons minced roasted red pepper or pimento
    6. 1 tablespoon minced yellow onion
    7. 1 teaspoon Fred's horseradish
    8. 3 tablespoons black caviar
    9. Blend all ingredients together thoroughly
  3. Trim the fat from your corned beef, and slice it very very thin
  4. Slice the bread a bit on the thin side, not so thin that it can't hold the filling, but not so thick that you can't eat the sandwich
  5. Slather the outside of the bread slices with butter and the inside with Russian dressing and arrange half the slices dressing side up
  6. pile the bread high with sliced corned beef
  7. top with three tablespoons of drained, rinsed sauerkraut
  8. cover with thin slices of a holey, swiss-style cheese - I use Emmentaler
  9. top with the other half of your bread slices, dressing side down on the cheese
  10. lay the sandwiches gently on a flat grill, and put a sandwich press or heavy pan on them
  11. grill until the cheese is melted and the meat and kraut are steaming, lower heat if needed to keep the bread from burning

You can always serve this with bubble & squeak, but I can't eat more than the sandwich &#59;)

Enjoy your week of leftovers

I bought a whole brisket of corned beef, and have enough for a week's worth of hash, bubble & squeak and Reubens. I hope that you do too. If not, Betty's Ocean View Café in Berkeley and the various Max's spun off from Max's Opera House in San Francisco, have good corned beef hash and Reuben sandwiches respectively. The only place I know of that served bubble & squeak was the English Tea House in El Granada - gone now though. /sigh Wherever, however, enjoy.

 

Corned Beef and Cabbage Buono Sanctus Palladius

03/17/07 | by JAdP | Categories: Food and Drink

What's an Italian doing celebrating Saint Paddy's day? Well, first, the holiday is much more an American holiday not Irish, right up there with Thanksgiving. Second, Palladius a.k.a. Patricius a.k.a. Patricus a.k.a Naomh Pádraig was possibly born in Roman Brittania or maybe Gaul, likely in the early 400's C.E. and thus, arguably had some Italian genes. &#59;) And third, where else am I going to get the raw materials for wonderful Reuben sandwiches and glorious corned beef hash?

Corned beef has no corn in it, but is named for the salt that is used to preserve the meat. Some say that it is so-called because the salt used are corn kernel sized crystals, and others that the salt exudes out the meat as it cures, looking like kernels of corn on top of the meat. Whichever, if you can, find a butcher who corns their beef the old fashioned way, without chemicals. The beef will be more grey than rosy. Most corned beef is the brisket cut, though a beef round, or, in California, the tri-tip [sirloin] is also used. I stick with a brisket.

If the corned beef you buy is very salty, you might want to soak it overnight in water or milk - ask your purveyor. Allow at least an half-pound of beef per person for the supper, and a quarter-pound for each sandwich you'll want to make next week, and a pound for the hash to go with the poached eggs for Sunday's brunch. :p

  1. Make up a Bouquet Garni of dried bay leaves, allspice nuts, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cloves and black peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth that's been doubled.
  2. Rinse and wipe down your meat; place it a large, heavy pot that is large enough that the meat can be covered with liquid.
  3. Place the Bouquet Garni on top of the meat and a whole, peeled sweet yellow onion.
  4. Pour a bottle of brown ale, steam or stout slowly over the Bouquet Garni; living in San Francisco, I generally go with Anchor Steam. A true Irishman would never waste stout in the pot, but would drink it whilst cooking - he might be willing to waste a Newcastle brown ale though :)) Maybe not.
  5. Cover the meat with water, the pot with its lid, and set on a high flame to achieve boiling and set to boil for 10 minutes
  6. Take off the lid, reduce the flame to low, skim fat and particulates from the water, set the flame to simmering, replace the lid, and simmer for 4 hours
  7. Remove the beef and let it sit on a plate. Some folk like to brown it in an oven, or even glaze it. I don't.
  8. Taste the cooking water. If it is greasy and salty, reserve a cup, throw the rest away, and fill the pot with fresh water, salting to taste, and bring to a boil; if it has a nice, delicate flavour use as is.
  9. Clean and quarter a cabbage or two or three, so that you have a quarter cabbage per person for supper, and an half-cabbage left over for bubble & squeak.
  10. Clean, peel and quarter red potatoes, one medium or half-large per person plus leftovers for hash and squeak. If there is any green on the potatoes assure that you remove it all, as this may be an algae that can cause food poisoning.
  11. Boil the potatoes and cabbage 10-15 minutes until fork tender
  12. Slice the cooled beef thin or thick as you and your guests like it, but only enough for the meal, as you'll want to cut the remainder differently for hash or sandwiches.
  13. Toast some caraway seeds in a fry pan, and then add butter, cooking until the butter just browns, pour over the cabbage quarters.
  14. Set out prepared mustard and grated horseradish, or sauces made from them, and serve it all with plenty of Irish Soda Bread and stout. Enjoy.

By the way, I like the last Irish Soda Bread recipe from the "Himself" (Ed O'Dwyer), but substitute one cup each of oat and barley buckwheat, not barley - what was I thinking - flours for two of the cups of stone ground whole wheat flour in the last recipe, and add currants that had been soaked for an half-hour in dry sherry [called "Spotted Dog" according to the Himself, the BookGuy. I also use Bob's Red Mill flours.

I never have, but I should ask a friend of mine for his recipes. He's a fine Irish lad, who is off this weekend cooking, in his words "Irish soul food" for his southern Baptist in-laws.

Éirinn go Brách.

Update: The mustard was Sierra Neveda Stout & Stone Ground Mustard, and the horseradish was Fred's, and here's what it all looked like...

Irish Soda Brown Bread on the board with Corned Beef sliced on a plate and Cabbage with Potatoes in a bowl
Click to view original size

 

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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

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