Monday, March 30, 2015

I Wish I Were

As a woman, I wish I were more like a man - simple & uncomplicated. Men are up front and focused at one task at a time. When they are working, they are totally concentrating on work, not on how their actions may be affecting those around them. Women seem to focus on their work but also on everythign else that is going around. We are known to multi-task and do it well. Don't take my word for it, take a look at the men around you, whether at work or at home.

Why am I bringing this up? Because, in sixty plus years, I have noticed that give a man a job and he will probably do it well to the detriment of anyone around him. As bosses, most of them see the "light"dollar signs at the end of the tunnel and travel in darkness until they reach the end. I have had many male bosses in my life and not one of them considered what they were doing to the employees and their morale. The almighty dollar was the goal and usually for their benefit not the employees. Women bosses tended to create a more family atmosphere and were more inclusive with decision making and profit.

I know I am generalizing based on only my experience, but this is after all my blog. Most of all of the information is based on my experience, so you can agree with me or disagree. That's what I want. Your opinion. If you can tell me otherwise, I am open to your input. I strive to be simple and uncomplicated, but I assure you the struggle is severe, for after all, I am a woman.
 © Natala Orobello

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lobster Left Overs!

Many people eat their delicious baked or broiled or boiled lobster and then throw everything away. Years ago, I realized we were wasting perfectly good lobster shells! "Stop!! Don't throw them away!" I shouted. My husband stopped and wondered what I had in mind. I told him we should make Lobster Fra Diavolo on Sunday. So, we saved the shells, and we have been doing this ever since. We have lived happily ever after!

Ingredients for four:

Left over Lobster Shells
*1 lb. cleaned shrimp
*12    small clams
*12    mussels
2 lg. cans tomato sauce
1/2 onion - chopped
2    cloves garlic - minced
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2     basil leaves - julienned

Directions: Enjoy your lobster but try to save some full shells (if you can - if not don't worry), and all the other shells.
In heavy saucepot pour olive oil, add onion and garlic. Braise till tender and translucent. Add your sauce and then add the lobster shells. Cook for one hour or more. Remove lobster shells. Add your shrimp, clams, and mussels and basil. Cook for another half-hour.
Serve over spaghetti.

* not necessary but add to the dish

© Natala Orobello

Monday, March 23, 2015

Right to Work: A misnomer!

Most states in the United States are a "right to work state." The law provides, " the right of employees to decide for themselves whether or not to join or financially support a union..." ( The law was meant to help workers from being forced to join a union, but the law has now expanded to mean much more. Now, it appears the law extends more rights to the employer and less to the employee. Some employers give less salary, less benefits, and then demand more hours. Employers have taken the law one step further and fired individuals without reason for termination. That means the employee has no voice whether he or she remains employed. An employee can do everything right, have outstanding reviews, have impecable credentials, yet if the employer does not like the employee, then the person can be fired on the spot without an explanation.

However, this is not declared within the law. And, this misconception needs to change. According to Donna Ballman,  AOL Jobs Legal Affairs Blogger and Employment Attorney:
        A common misperception is that, like my reader's question says, they mean an employer
        can fire employees for any reason or no reason at all. Right-to-work laws have
        absolutely nothing to do with this. What you're talking about here is at-will

        Every state but Montana is already an at-will employment state. At-will means your
        employer can fire you for any reason or no reason at all. Whether your employer doesn't
        like your shirt, wakes up in a bad mood, or just feels like it, they can fire you at-will
        unless you have a contract or union agreement saying otherwise.
       A union can bargain to change this. Many union agreements have requirements that 
       employers only terminate for just cause.

She also determines that, "right-to-work states tend to have lower average wages, spend less on education, have higher worker fatality rates and have lower standards of living. President Obama says this about right-to-work supporters, "What they are really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money."

Nothing changes if workers don't ask for change. We can love our jobs, love our collegues, and love our company. That may be wonderful, but Pollyanna attitudes did not and will not provide better jobs, better wages, better wages, and safer working conditions. If we want change, then we need to speak up.

 © Natala Orobello

Friday, March 20, 2015

Il Scolio

We came to the United States from a small town near Messina, Italy. WWII had come and gone and left not only Italy desolate but also its people desolate of income or home. Many friends and relatives left for America, but my father and mother wanted to hold on. They didn't want to leave the land where they were born, grew up, married, and raised a family. Yet, after years of saying no, my father acquiesced to his brother's pressure and we came to America.

We immediately became Americanized even though we spoke little if any English. We adopted America as our home yet our culture, faith, and ties hold on to that little town with its beautiful vistas of mountains, castle, and sea.

The Rock

America’s streets are lined with gold
Sicily’s are dirt bare.
We eat from God’s bounty
Nothing more.

Yet, we are surrounded by beauty
Our home sits high
To the left a fifteenth century castle
To the right country mountains
Our terrace view?
The Mediterranean sea!

Young and old dive into the deep waters
Swimming till they reach
the distant rock
Symbol of strength and endurance.

Yet, we leave beauty behind
To put money in our pockets
Food in our bellies
And shoes on our feet.

America becomes our home
Sicily pumps within our veins
Never forgetting our roots
the distant rock.

© Natala Orobello

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sesame Seed Cookies

Imagine a cookie that brings back memories of growing up Italian, going to the local Italian Bakery and ordering a pound or so of heaven. Think about biting into a crispy exterior and soft interior with delicate flavors of lemon, cinnamon, and cherry. This is what you will experience when you eat a sesame seed cookie.


1          cup crisco
¾         cup brown sugar
½         cup white sugar
3          eggs
½         tsp. lemon juice
½         tsp. cherry juice
½         tsp. cinnamon
 pinch salt
3          cups flour
3          tsp. baking powder
½         lb. sesame seeds

Mix the first three ingredients together and then add the remainder; continue mixing till mixture has cookie dough consistency (like play dough).  Place a little oil on palm of hand, take some dough the size of a thumb and form cookies into either round or oval.  Dip top in sesame seeds and bake in preheated 3750   oven.  Do not grease pan.

© Natala Orobello

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sage Advice

      Every nationality has Mama’s sage advice. As a Sicilian, born and raised, I learned that we Italians have a “proverbio” for everything. I’m sure there are similar proverbs in every culture, but I can only discuss the one’s I heard as I was growing up. Unfortunately, I don’t remember too many, but here are a few imprinted in my brain.
      Here’s one I was raised on, “Poveri si, sporchi no!” Poor yes, dirty no! My mother and father raised six children on a meager salary. In Italy, my father designed and tailored suits for men and women, dresses, skirts, blouses, shirts, and more, and most of the time he received bartered items instead of cash. Often, we had just enough to pay the bills and purchase food items. We owned a round bathtub housed outside the home in a type of closet. We washed everyday and took long baths once a week.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Pane Duro - Home Made Crispy Bread

Have you noticed how very Italian this blog is, especially the food section? Well, today's recipe is probably one hundred years old and very Sicilian (that's where I'm from). When I was growing up, my mother made homemade bread, but it's not like the Italian bread you're used to seeing at the bakery. This bread is rustic, crispy, and tremendously delicious. It can be eaten hot while it's still soft or it can be kept in a warm oven for a few hours or so (after it's been cut in half), till it's crispy.

pane cunsatu e pane duro

for each bread you will need:
2           cups flour
1           cup warm water
1           env. yeast
1           tbs. olive oil

make this bread in my electric mixer with dough hooks.  
Place flour in bowl.  Dissolve yeast in warm water and add salt & extra virgin olive oil.  When totally dissolved, about 5 minutes, add to flour mixture and mix till dough is in one ball.  Allow dough to grow in warm place with wet towel in a well greased bowl.  
Recently, I made the bread one day ahead and refrigerated it.  The bread comes crunchier and airier for some reason.  
If you make it the same day, let it rise twice.  After the first time, press the dough down and let it grow again, then bake in 3750 for at least 35 minutes. 

When it comes hot out of the oven, cut bread in half with serrated knife, or if you want to do it the old fashion way, take a thin rope and wrap it around the center of the bread, cut through.  To serve it soft and hot, drizzle olive oil on both halves, add anchovy pieces, provolone and oregano.  
For pane duro, cut bread in half and place back in  2500   oven for two – three hours more till it is crispy.  This would be an accompaniment to the soups.

© Natala Orobello

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Cancer's Enemy - I am Woman

A good friend of mine was recently diagnosed with cancer. My mind has been on cancer fast track. I can sometimes understand those who have been smoking for forty years developing lung cancer or someone who eats fast food every day of the week developing stomach cancer, but there are those thousands who have tried to eat right, exercise, and live a loving life style and still get cancer. How and why does this happen?
My poem treats cancer as an uninvited guest, and I truly believe every person who has cancer should take on the attitude that the cancer is not welcomed. I have heard patients say, "I have learned to love my cancer." Bull ---- one should not love an enemy who is trying to destroy one's body and soul. I say tell the terrorist to get the hell out!!!
I wrote this poem for my girlfriend Lee -

YOU came into my life like the snake into the garden
YOU didn't ask permission nor did you beg my pardon
Like an unwelcome guest you entered without invite
and now I'd like to tell you the type of host you've got.

I am woman - I have roared
I am woman - I have endured
I am woman - I've lived, I've birthed, I've loved.
I am woman - I've decided to throw you out the door!

My hospitality you expected
and I've been kind and patient too
but now it's time YOU leave -
YOU have had your last meal
YOU have had your last drink
I am tossing you to the curb
for I am stronger than you think.

I am woman
just so you know
women take on the combat
and win the WAR.
© Natala Orobello