This is the final post of author Antoinette Truglio Martin who began blogging in 2018.. I am going to share four posts from her archives that were part of her A-Z challenge last year. Since my downfall is and has always been food….I enjoyed browsing Antoinette’s challenge. Pasta is a favourite in our household.. and Antoinette has a story about Pastina…
“Welcome to my Blogging A-Z April 2018 Challenge. My theme is Food Stories Remembered because there is always a story when food is involved. I consider myself a good home cook with a great appetite for hearty food. I have witnessed the creation of favorite recipes in friends’ kitchens and have learned from the best—my mother, grandmother, and mother-in-law. Recipes may be included. I am remaining uncommitted on this because when I cook, I seldom measure. If you try any of my recipes, you are cooking at your own risk. Grab a glass of wine. Hope you’re hungry!”
Blogging A-Z Challenge (2018) – Antoinette Truglio Martin – P Is For Pastina
Pastina is a tiny star shaped pasta. It is cooked like rice whereby boiled water soaks into the pasta creating plump creamy stars. Add butter and a splash of milk, stir, and a perfect baby to granny lunch is ready. I had always known pastina to be a pantry staple.
My favorite memory of pastina was when I was seven years old. My mom had a permanent substitute gym teacher position. Her school was on a split session, so she was out the door before 7 a.m. and home by 1:30.
I was in second grade and my sister, Mary, was in first. My two younger sisters and baby brother stayed at home with Josie, our babysitter. Josie was a grandmotherly lady who wore a house dress and clicked her dentures between sentences. She was an efficient housekeeper and the kindest lady I had known outside of my family. We loved her.
Back then, kids walked to school. At lunchtime, Mary and I walked home. Our little sisters were already sitting around the kitchen table, and Billy Boy was strapped in the high chair. Josie stirred the milk in the pastina pot and ordered Mary and I to wash our hands. Josie dolloped each of us a cereal bowlful of pastina with a pat of butter on the top. Buttery warmth wafted into our noses.
“It’s hot girls,” warned Josie. She’d click her teeth and say, “Take a small scoop from the edge.” She would scrape an edge of pastina into a teaspoon spoon, blow gently, then fed it to the excited baby. Within minutes, my brother’s little hands and face was happily covered in stars.
Equipped with a full belly of pastina, Mary and I were ready to finish our afternoon at school. We’d kiss our little siblings goodbye. It was time for their naps. Josie wrapped Mary and I in a big hug then sent us on our way.
©Antoinette Truglio Martin 2018
About Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer
Antoinette Martin believed herself to be a healthy and sturdy woman—that is, until she received a Stage 1 breast cancer diagnosis. Cancer is scary enough for the brave, but for a wimp like Martin, it was downright terrifying. Martin had to swallow waves of nausea at the thought of her body being poisoned, and frequently fainted during blood draws and infusions. To add to her terror, cancer suddenly seemed to be all around her. In the months following her diagnosis, a colleague succumbed to cancer, and five of her friends were also diagnosed.
Though tempted, Martin knew she could not hide in bed for ten months. She had a devoted husband, daughters, and a tribe of friends and relations. Along with work responsibilities, there were graduations, anniversaries, and roller derby bouts to attend, not to mention a house to sell and a summer of beach-bumming to enjoy. In order to harness support without scaring herself or anyone else, she journaled her experiences and began to e-mail the people who loved her: the people she called My Everyone. She kept them informed and reminded all to ‘hug everyone you know’ at every opportunity. Reading the responses became her calming strategy. Ultimately, with the help of her community, Martin found the courage within herself to face cancer with perseverance and humor.
One of the reviews for the book
I had the good fortune to read parts of this wonderful memoir when I was in the same MFA program with Annette at Stony Brook. Returning to the completed manuscript holds extra joy as I read not only the remarkable journey of surviving breast cancer, but I also smiled with pride in seeing this book in print. Annette’s gregarious, kind, soul shows through on every page as she puts the “e” in epistolary writing, using emails with her “everyone” to chart the path and show the importance on our loved ones on such complicated trajectories. While I haven’t lived through a cancer diagnosis, I have been living with HIV for nearly half my life and I so appreciate the raw, throbbing honesty coupled with the (in my opinion) essential gallows humor needed to survive the unimaginable. I very much enjoyed this memoir and recommend it for anyone who wants a closer look at the strength of a woman forging forward into the unknown of disease, armed with her everyone, humor and determination to prevail. Brava!!
Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Hug-Everyone-You-Know-Community-ebook/dp/B07415341C/
Read more reviews and follow Antoinette on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1627878.Antoinette_Truglio_Martin
About Antoinette Truglio Martin
Antoinette Truglio Martin is a speech therapist and special education teacher by training but really wants to be a writer when she grows up. She has been collecting, writing, and fashioning stories forever. Over the years Antoinette had been a regular columnist in local periodicals and had several essays featured in newsletters and literary reviews. Her children’s picture book, Famous Seaweed Soup was published in 1993 (Albert Whitman Co.). Antoinette’s memoir, Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer (She Writes Press 2017), chronicles her first year battling breast cancer as a wimpy patient. She proudly holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Stony Brook/Southampton University (2016).
Connect to Antoinette.
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AntoinetteTruglioMartin2017/
My thanks to Antoinette for allowing me to share her posts from the archives and I hope you will head over to enjoy further. Thanks Sally.