Before You Check Out at the Grocery Store, Check Out Your Grocery Store

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

–Make a list of all the grocery stores/supermarkets in your city/county/area. Remember to include smaller, privately and family-owned markets, including markets with international foods like Italian, Asian, Mediterranean, etc. You can use a map feature online to help find the grocery stores.

Image by Firmbee from Pixabay 

–Look up the website of each grocery store in a search engine.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

–On each store’s website, read its “About Us” or “Company History” page. This is where you’ll find out more about the store, such as who owns it and what its core values are.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

–Try to find the answer to these questions:

–Is it locally owned by someone in your community?

–If family-owned, is the family of the millionaire/billionaire class or middle class and are they local?

–Is it employee-owned?

–Is it a privately held company or publicly traded on NASDAQ or NYSE?

–Is it part of a multinational corporation? If so, which one? Do their corporate values align with yours?

–Does it donate money to local causes that you personally believe in?

–Does it carry locally made products from local ingredients?

–Is it utilizing AI? How?

–What forms of payment does it accept?

–How is it dealing with the current situation? Are you comfortable with its policies?

–Shop at the store that aligns with your values. For example, I don’t shop anywhere that doesn’t accept cash.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay 

It’s an interesting exercise, and you may find surprises. For example, in my area, I discovered that a beloved local grocery store had been bought by a multinational from a European country, and I’m sure many people shop there unknowingly because of brand recognition. That’s why I think it’s important to reflect on our purchases and who we give our money to because in the end, that is where our vote really counts.

–Dina Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People

How to Shop Local for the Holiday/Christmas Season

“Shop Local” is an ubiquitous phrase appearing on social media, in magazines and newspapers, and on websites. But what does it mean? I recently went to a locally owned store, which I was happy to support, but when I turned all the items over in my hand, I noticed most were stamped “Made in China.” That’s when I got to wondering, what is local?

 Stock photo by Tim Mossholder from Unsplash

Local has two meanings to me. The first, a locally owned business. This means “a business in your local area owned by a person, partners, or family.” But what does that mean? What kind of goods does this store sell? Are they locally produced? Who benefits from the sale of the items at this store? Where do the items come from? Are they locally produced with local materials or ingredients?

The second meaning of local to me, means “from the local area.” That means, for example, apples from New York state, sweet potatoes from North Carolina, cranberries from Maine.

Stock photo by Henk van der Steege from Unsplash

So for me, I have defined what local means and how I am going to shop local for the holiday season. This is how.

 

For the holiday table:

–Buying produce from local farmers’ markets or grocery stores that sell local produce that is in season now. Serving dishes made from local, in-season ingredients. Examples, baked sweet potatoes or apple cider.

Stock photo by sheri silver on Unsplash

 

For decorating:

–Decorating with some locally made or grown items, such as pumpkins from a local pumpkin patch or a handmade holiday ornament from a local artisan, extra points if it is made from a locally sourced material. Local artisans can be found at holiday fairs (many of which are doing virtual versions this year) or at shops that specialize in or carry local products.

Stock photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

 

For gift giving:

–Buying from local artisans to support the local economy BUT also paying attention to the materials used in the local products. If it is locally sourced, all the better.

–Producing a homemade gift from your own hobby, skill, or craft. Trying to use local ingredients or materials.

Stock photo by Bernadette Wurzinger from Pixabay

–Shipping food gifts from local companies that sell a product made from some local ingredients. This requires a little more work on my end, such as ignoring the glossy catalogs that come in the mail with their overpriced gift baskets, and opting for a local version that I seek out through a search on a search engine or through local word-of-mouth.

–Buying books that are self-published or independently published or published by a small press. It’s not enough to buy at an independent book seller or local bookstore. Local bookstores may fit into category one, “a business in your local area owned by a person, partners, or family,” but they usually contain books published through the BIG FIVE New York City publishers, whose books are often printed in China. Unfortunately, in my experience and as voiced by others, such as the Latinx community earlier this year, big publishing is elitist and often publishes material that reinforces an established narrative. This is why it is so important to buy self-published/independently/small press published books. By doing so, you are actively protecting freedom of speech and freedom of the press. How do you do this? Reach out to local writers’ groups whose members often have published books. Search for books and topics you enjoy through social media accounts. Search on Amazon for self-published books—these often don’t appear on the first search pages, so keep going! If you scroll down a book’s page on Amazon, you can read more information about the book, such as who the publisher is. Many self-published books are printed in the USA. For example, my books are printed in a state neighboring my own!

 

–Dina Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People

Authentic Italian

What’s the difference between pasta and macaroni?

The shorter answer: Nothing. Different ingredients or preparation methods can be used to make various types of pasta/macaroni, but generally, the words are interchangeable for the same food product. It can be fresh or dried.

The longer answer: There is evidence in ancient times to suggest the people of the Italian peninsula were making and eating pasta/macaroni, although the dishes were called by other names, such as lagana for an early Roman type of pasta dish. The earliest mention of  maccheroni being produced is in a 1509 edict in Naples. A few centuries ago, a derogatory nickname for Neapolitans and Sicilians was “macaroni eaters.” Macaroni is the word Italian Americans, who are primarily Southern Italian from Naples and Sicily, used for the general food. Macaroni is also known by type, such as spaghetti, fusilli, rigatoni, tagliatelle, etc. Later, in the 1970s & 1980s, when Italian restaurants serving “Northern Italian” cuisine became popular, and chefs from Northern Italian cities gained airtime in the media, the term pasta became the preferred term amongst those in media. For a more detailed history of the origins of pasta/macaroni, please see my book, Authentic Italian.

The more detailed answer: Italians use both words pasta and macaroni for different preparations of the food. If the dish is served with a sauce/gravy (another Italian-American debate), then it is called macaroni. If it is served in a more soupy context, then it is pasta. For example, pasta e fagioli or pasta fazool or bast e fazool, in Neapolitan, is a soup made with short pasta. In Neapolitan, “p” has a “b” sound and the final vowel is left off. This is why we say we are eating “bast and peas,” or “bast and cauliflower,” or “bast and ciceri (chickpeas),” or “bast and beans.” These dishes have a more soupy quality to them, with a more liquidy sauce. Every child with an Italian grandmother remembers eating pastina, which translates to “little pasta,” a more or less liquidy dish made with very tiny pasta and butter or also with cheese and/or eggs. It’s called PASTina because it’s soupy. If it had been a sauce/gravy served on top, maybe it would have been called macarina (isn’t that a dance?!). For macaroni, if we are eating a particular macaroni dish, we use the name of that macaroni, as in, “Tonight, let’s have fusilli with ricotta,” or “What about spaghetti with broccoli sauce,” or “How about rigatoni and gravy?” So to summarize, while technically, it is the same thing, whether or not it’s pasta or macaroni depends on its preparation.

–Dina M. Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People

Interview with Bartholomew Barker, author of Milkshakes & Chilidogs

Today, we’re talking with Bartholomew Barker, poet & author of Milkshakes & Chilidogs.

What is your background in poetry?

Poetry has always been my avocation but it waxed and waned depending upon my marital status. The last time I got divorced I began writing again and found Living Poetry, the largest poetry group here in the Triangle. It didn’t take much encouragement for me to begin taking my poetry seriously and now, ten years later, I’ve been published dozens of times, I’m leading a monthly workshop, hosting open mics and various other special events. Poetry now consumes most of the hours I’m not working my day job or sleeping.

Milkshakes, chilidogs, chocolate, wine, these are some of the foods you write about–but I was also surprised to see an Ode to Haggis–and it was delicious! How did writing a book of food poems come about?

I’d written a few food poems, including both haggis poems, before I realized I was writing a book of poetry. One evening I was having dinner with my parents and I was wondering what my next book should be about when my mother said, “I always enjoy your food poems.” I laughed but later that night I had a look through my files and found that when I included the wine poems, of which I’d already written plenty, for some reason, and the chocolate poems that I’d written for the annual holiday chocolate open mic that I host at a little chocolatier’s in Hillsborough, that I had almost enough for a chapbook.

Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

This collection has humor, nostalgia, romance–and even touches on topical issues like climate change. How do you see the role food plays in our lives?

Everybody eats. Food is central to our lives. It’s one of our basic urges. From being fed at our mother’s breast to lunch at the school cafeteria with our friends to first dates at restaurants to wedding cakes to donuts at the office to happy hours to pot lucks to casseroles at a wake, there isn’t much in our lives that doesn’t revolve around food and drink. And I am so extremely fortunate to live in a time and place where food is both plentiful and varied and to have sufficient wealth to enjoy it all, even to excess.

Are you working on a new book?

I’m not sure. I’m still writing but a theme has not yet emerged. I should probably ask my mother.

Where can readers purchase a copy of Milkshakes & Chilidogs?

My book, like most things in life, can be purchased at Amazon.

Dina’s Favorite Pizza in the Triangle

Dina’s Favorite Pizza in the Triangle

by Dina Di Maio

Photo by Alan Hardman on Unsplash

I’m a harsh judge of pizza. For a few good reasons. My parents owned a pizzeria. People in my family have owned pizzerias in the U.S. as early as the 1930s.  Both sides of my family are from Naples. And I wrote a book with a chapter on the history of pizza, Authentic Italian.

Authentic Italian

I’m qualified to write about pizza, and since I’ve lived in the Triangle off and on since 1993, I’m qualified to write about pizza in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.

Image by Mark Thomas from Pixabay

Pizza should be judged on 3 criteria, and 3 criteria only: 1. Crust 2. Sauce 3. Cheese

Crust is the most important component and an especially difficult one to master. If you cannot make a decent dough, you shouldn’t be making pizza. (The best crust I ever had was at Sally’s Apizza in New Haven.)

Photo by Artur Rutkowski on Unsplash

Having said that, I’ve tried pizza at many of the area’s pizzerias, although not all, because despite the fact that pizza is so ingrained in my blood and heritage, it’s actually not one of my personally favorite foods. However, I am well-schooled in its craft and know a good one from a bad one.

One can find New York, Neapolitan, Chicago style and Turkish pide in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and other areas of the Triangle. Unfortunately, most I have had were mediocre.

Oakwood Pizza Box

I’ve been pizza-wowed only once in Raleigh. And that was at Oakwood Pizza Box, which I think is an example of good crust, sauce and cheese, and the best example of pizza to be found in the Triangle. Not a surprise from the owners of the former Bella Mia in Cary, a since-closed pizzeria that was also one of my favorites in the Triangle. The owner, Anthony Guerra, is an Italian American from New York with ancestry from Basilicata, a region of Southern Italy.

Have I had an OK pie elsewhere? Yes. I can’t say I’m an expert on Chicago style, although I’ve had a really good one in Chicago, but if I’m in the mood for it or the occasion arises, I go to Nancy’s in North Raleigh, a local franchise of the pizzeria chain created by Italian immigrants who patterned the pizza after a traditional Easter pie.

Nancy’s Pizzeria

I had a decent pie at Anna’s in Apex (while I like their regular pie, I wasn’t a fan of their grandma pizza). In Durham, Pizzeria Toro and Pie Pushers were OK, the latter especially if you like a cheesier pie.

Pizzeria Toro

Pie Pushers

Now and again, I enjoy an eggplant pizza from Frank’s Pizza, a classic old-fashioned pizza parlor. If I’m reminiscing for the simpler times of Raleigh, I’ll go to Mellow Mushroom or Lilly’s. Salvio’s is my go-to for New York-style. On the rare occasion I’m in Rolesville, I’ve enjoyed Pie-Zano’s, a pizzeria owned by Italians from New Jersey. If I want Turkish pide, I go to Istanbul or Bosphorus in Cary.

pide from Istanbul Restaurant

I like the chain Piola for the Brazilian catupiry cheese, created by an Italian immigrant to the country.

Pizza from Piola with catupiry cheese

All of these have something interesting to offer, even though some are chains or part of restaurant groups or not owned by Italians or Italian Americans. There aren’t older Italian-American pizzerias in North Carolina because Italians didn’t immigrate to the state due to its painful history toward Italian immigrants the first half of the last century.*

Generally, I don’t want a pizzeria that supports shareholders/investors or people looking to capitalize on pizza’s popularity, although sometimes it’s unavoidable, say if you’re out with a group and everyone decides to go to one of those places. I feel that if a restaurant group or chain wants to capitalize on an Italian and Italian-American food, it should give something back to the Italian-American community. Acknowledge the history of Italian Americans. Maybe donate to a scholarship fund for local Italian Americans. Or donate to an Italian-American organization, museum, or charity somewhere in the United States to in some way honor the heritage from which you are borrowing.

Photo by Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash

What do I want in a pizza? Is it too much to ask for that Di Fara’s Pizza pride, the heritage, the craftsmanship? Domenico De Marco became a legend because of his obsessive devotion to pizza. That, and the fact that he makes one of the best dang pies around. One can’t expect that from every pizzeria, but what stands out to me is a pizza that stays true to my heritage and that supports a local family business and the cultural history of pizza. Oh, yeah, it has to taste good too.

–Dina Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People, available at Amazon.com

*(There is a town named Valdese that was settled by Protestant Northern Italians, but their foodways are different from Southern Italians, who originated pizza as we know it.)

Please check to make sure these shops are open.

All writings and photographs are the intellectual property of me, unless I’ve noted otherwise, and can only be used with permission. If you are inspired by this blog, please use professional courtesy to note it.

My Italian Grandmother Wasn’t a “Nonna,” and Yours Probably Wasn’t Either

“Nonna” is the Italian word for grandmother (“nonno” for grandfather). It is used whenever Italians speak of a grandmother figure, the woman sporting a bun, apron, perhaps rolling pin or wooden spoon and always in the kitchen cooking. I am Italian on both sides with grandparents from Italy. However, these words “nonna” and “nonno” are foreign to me.

 

                             Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

 

My grandmother was from a town just outside Naples. My grandfather was from a town about 30 minutes away in the mountains. We called grandma “anonn” and grandpa “unonn” pronounced like “ah-nun” and “oo-nun” in Neapolitan dialect. I imagine the words are similar or the same throughout the South of Italy.

 

Standard Italian is based on the Tuscan dialect. So the word “nonna” is from standard Italian. (I’ve written an article on Italian dialect here.) It is strange that even though the overwhelming majority of Italian immigrants were from Southern Italy, the words from the Northern Italian dialects are accepted without question.

 

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

You will see “nonna” in the media, and indeed, I have reluctantly used it in articles because that is the term used in contemporary media for grandparents. But in my heart and in my home, grandma and grandpa will always be anonn and unonn.

 

I wish my grandparents and great-grandparents were here, but I know they are smiling down on me. I know they are proud that, of all the books I could have written, in my 20-year career with a master’s in creative writing from NYU and a law degree, I chose to write their story, I chose to do the right thing, not the popular thing, not the marketable thing. And so it was, when I was deciding if I wanted to write a cookbook a number of years ago, that I started researching Italian food in more depth. Given my own personal experiences and those of my family along with the research I have done both here and in Italy, I could no longer remain silent to the maligning, so commonplace today that it has become inadvertent in many instances, of millions of people of their generation and their descendants. Since my book was published in March 2018, I see a zeitgeist of exploration of Italian-American history and culture in the popular media.

 

                            Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

 

And I can still see my anonn, even though she’s been dead for years, with her old wooden rolling pin, rolling out dough for struffoli and bows, or sitting at the kitchen table shaking some Brioschi onto a napkin for me to eat while she drank hers in a glass of fizzing water. I see her picking mint in the backyard near the white fence. I see her stirring a pot of tomato gravy on Sunday morning that in my memory’s eye seemed taller than her.

 

I hear her voice, in her optimistic way, saying “you never know.” Meaning, you never know, something good might happen. I miss these Yogi Berra-like idiomatic sayings of hers. From her, I learned to never show up empty-handed to someone’s house, or in her words, “with my hands hanging.” She made me laugh when she told nasty people to “go shit in a hat.” Another she always shared with me is “check your dates.” She meant that, at the grocery store, I should always check the date on the food I buy to make sure it’s the freshest.

 

So as Mother’s Day is around the corner, I impart some of my anonn’s wisdom to you—never go anywhere with your hands hanging, you never know what may happen, the creeps can go shit in a hat, and always check your dates.

 

–Dina Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People, available at Amazon.com, published March 2018

 

                                     Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

Image by Markéta Machová from Pixabay

Italian Mushrooms & Peas

Grandma often made this simple side dish, and it is one of my favorite ways to eat mushrooms.

Italian Mushrooms & Peas

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 medium red onion, sliced

1/2 lb. mushrooms

3/4 cup frozen peas

1 small clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

fresh mint leaves

pimiento (optional)

Saute the onion in olive oil over medium heat. When it starts to wilt, add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook until soft. Add salt. When mushrooms are cooked, add the peas and about 4 mint leaves. Cook until heated. Transfer to a bowl. Garnish with mint leaves and pimiento.

–Dina Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People

Authentic Italian

Grandma’s Carrot Salad

By New Year’s, I think most people are burned out by all the cookies, cakes and rich holiday foods. That’s why this salad is perfect to help kick-start the diet.

Grandma’s Carrot Salad

1 bag shredded carrots (or julienne carrots until you get about 4 cups)

1/3 cup olive oil

1 cup raisins

1/3 cup pine nuts

In a large bowl, toss the carrots with the olive oil to coat. Add raisins and pine nuts. Toss to mix. Serve.

–Dina Di Maio, author of Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People, available at Amazon.com

Authentic Italian

Italian Radish Leaf Salad

During the year, my grandma would buy radishes and add the radish leaves to her salad. Because there weren’t too many radish leaves, we kids would fight over them. That’s why Grandma would buy a lot of radishes during the Christmas holidays and make this radish salad.

Italian Radish Salad

As you can see from the photo, it is very easy to make. Just wash the radish leaves and place them out on a serving platter. Top them with the sliced radishes and maybe sliced olives or a roasted pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

–Dina Di Maio

Is It OK for Non-Italians to Open Italian Restaurants?

Because I’ve written a book that debunks myths about Italian food in America and also discusses the sociopolitical issues surrounding Italian immigration to the United States, I’ve often thought about the term “cultural appropriation” as applied to Italian food in this country.

As of late, there is a push to open pizzerias selling “true” Neapolitan pizza, certified by an organization in Italy, the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN). According to them, if you are not making this “true” pizza, you are not making pizza. The problem with this ideology is that the pizza that the 16 million+ Italian immigrants who left Italy 100 years ago made doesn’t qualify as “real” Italian pizza even though they and their descendants made pizza famous throughout the world. Yes, that’s right, the pizza made by the most famous pizzaiolo, Gennaro Lombardi of the first pizzeria in the United States, Lombardi’s, opened in 1905 in New York City does not count as “real” Italian pizza. Neither does Frank Pepe’s in New Haven, opened in 1925 by an immigrant from Naples. Mind you, some of the most popular pizzerias in Naples do not fall under the AVPN guidelines, like Da Michele. However, according to the AVPN, a pizzeria that follows their criteria but is opened by a person of non-Italian heritage makes “real” Italian pizza. (The criteria include using certain types of ingredients and ovens, among other things. Ironically, tomato is one of the ingredients and it did not exist on pizza until after 1492. In fact, Frank Pepe’s famous white clam pizza, without tomato, would be closer to the original pizzas of Naples than “true” Neapolitan pizza with a tomato sauce, as the Neapolitans used to put small fish on the pizza dough.)

How is this applied in the “real” world?  I’ll demonstrate. Let’s say I’m Person X.  A non-Italian person is Person Y.

Person X–my great-grandparents, their daughter–my grandmother–and all of her siblings, all born-and-bred natives of Naples who immigrated to the United States because of the adverse conditions created by the Italian government in Italy in the last half of the 19th century to the early 20th century, made pizza and opened pizzerias in the United States, and then their granddaughter and daughter–my mother–and her husband, my father, made pizza in the United States. This is all MEANINGLESS, according to the current ideology and food media coming from Italy.

Person Y, who is not Italian at all, with no basis for understanding Italian culture and cuisine, takes a vacation to Italy, watches a pizzaiolo make pizza in Naples, looks out at the bay of Naples, drives down to the breathtaking view of the Amalfi Coast, comes back to the United States, follows the AVPN guidelines, and opens a pizzeria selling “true” Neapolitan pizza.

Voila. The non-Italian is the “true” Italian, and what am I?

(In addition to pizza, there is also a push to re-brand Italian food in general to what is currently available in Italy today, essentially discrediting the food the immigrants brought here 100 years ago and made famous throughout the world.)

Maybe my point is better illustrated if I’m using a different cuisine as an example. I would not be so presumptuous as to travel to Japan and sample ramen at a few well-known ramen shops, come back to the United States and open a ramen shop. I might fall in love with ramen (which I have) and try to re-create it at home, which is perfectly acceptable. However, calling myself expert enough to open a restaurant and profit from it, I wouldn’t presume to do. However, that is exactly what many people are doing today with pizza, traveling to Naples for a week, hitting the most well-known pizzerias like Sorbillo or Di Matteo and claiming to know enough about pizza to bring it back to the United States as if it’s a unique discovery and not a part of a thousand-plus-year-old culture that the Italian immigrants brought here 100 years ago.

I wonder do these “Neapolitan tourists” know anything about the history of discrimination and marginalization of Italian Americans in the locales where they are opening their “true” Neapolitan pizzerias?

Who? Oh, yes, us, the Italian Americans. I know, I know, we are not a vocal group. You see, we cannot pronounce words and we are too busy in organized crime to read a book or defend ourselves. (I’m being sarcastic here.)

I know, I know, I should just eat a slice of “true” Neapolitan pizza cooked by John Doe and fugetaboutit.

But, I can’t do that. I can’t do that and the reason why is best expressed in this essay by Dakota Kim in Paste:  “We’re Having the Wrong Conversation About Food and Cultural Appropriation.”  I think she hits the nail on the head with the bolded words about the lack of real thought about the racial, ethnic and class issues involved in food production and consumption.  There is a privilege in taking a trip to another country (something many Americans cannot afford to do). Many Americans are immigrants who left their home country, not because they wanted to, but because conditions were so bad that they had to find a new home. Many are not immigrants but exiles. And many cannot go back to their home country even to visit. Historically, immigrant populations have not been treated well in the United States, and as each new group assimilated, it went through a period of discrimination, some more or less, some that still continues. These immigrant groups keep a part of their traditions alive with food through the generations. Food is an integral part of a person’s identity, and yes, that means ethnic identity. Can someone take a trip to Italy, for example, for a week or a month, and eat four, five, six, ten pizzas and know everything there is to know about making a pizza, everything there is to know about the Italian history and culture, about being Italian? And what if they open pizzerias in areas with a history of discrimination or marginalization of Italian Americans?  This leads me to the question that is the subject of this essay:  If you are not Italian, is it cultural appropriation for you to open an Italian restaurant?

As Kim mentions, well-known chefs take advantage of the American business model, and the power structure that exists that the elite have the money and therefore, the time to travel and the connections to invest in their business ventures and publicize their restaurants.

The danger of this, though, is that it can redefine the food and culture in the minds of the American people and can sometimes rewrite history, which is something I discuss in my book, Authentic Italian: The Real Story of Italy’s Food and Its People. Hence, why the media can get away with saying that (the derogatory term) “red-sauce” restaurants are not “authentic” Italian cuisine and only the cuisine of contemporary Italy is.

Part of me says, this is America, you should be able to open any kind of restaurant you want. If I want to open that ramen restaurant, I should be able to. If Person Y wants to open a pizzeria serving “true” Neapolitan pizza, bada bing. But the other part of me says, yes, this is cultural appropriation, and no, you shouldn’t open a restaurant if you don’t have a connection culturally to the food you are serving. While I say this, I do recognize that we live in the United States, and this is the land of the free, free market and free speech. Americans are free to open any kind of restaurant they want to, and I am free to criticize them. In the end, it is up to us as consumers, as individuals, to research the restaurants we frequent, to vote with our dollars, to be mindful of the food we eat and the cultures behind it.

–Dina Di Maio

***All writings and photographs are the intellectual property of me, unless I’ve noted otherwise, and can only be used with permission. If you are inspired by this blog, please use professional courtesy to note it.***