I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. I’m always looking to improve myself, and the leap from one year to the next is as good a springboard as any to spread my wings and at least try to soar.
In the past, my to-do list has centered mostly on taking better care of myself — exercising, eating better, learning to relax — with my resolve typically melting well before the spring thaw.
With the clock winding down on 2018, I was on the hunt for a new sort of resolution — the kind that’s built to last. As luck would have it, the answer was hiding in plain sight on the cover of Fra Noi.
“Embrace your inner Italian.” Why not? Where is it written that resolutions have to be as serious as a heart attack? With my vista so vastly expanded, my biggest challenge was to winnow my options down to something manageable. Here’s what I came up with for 2019, and every single item is easier to accomplish with a copy of Fra Noi in hand.
1) EMBRACE THE CUISINE — As you can guess, there’s plenty of Italian ammunition in my wife’s culinary arsenal. Sicilian cod, chicken with artichokes, and minestrone immediately come to mind, as do a host of recipes handed down by my father. But why should she have to do all the cooking? Be it resolved, then, that I will prepare a recipe each month for her from the pages of Fra Noi, starting with Mary Ann Esposito’s rendition of pasta e fagioli on page 39.
2) EMBRACE THE ARIA — I’ve made occasional forays into high Italian culture over the years — the Lyric’s “Il barbiere di Siviglia” in 2014 and the CSO’s cavalcade of Italian overtures in 2017 most recently— and I’ve always floated out of the concert hall on Cloud 9. So why have I been so lax in my pursuit of these sublime musical experiences? No doubt because it’s easier to plop down in front of the TV after dinner than to get dressed up and head out to the opera. But not this year. We’ve already booked our tickets to “La bohème” (pages 55 and 57), and I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for similar opportunities in future issues.
3) EMBRACE THE LANGUAGE — With beginning Italian classes winding to a close, I had to think twice about re-upping. It’s hard enough to learn a second language as an adult, and harder still to make progress with only one class per week and so little free time between sessions to practice. But our professoressa makes learning so much fun, and if I’m truly going to embrace my inner Italian … What the heck: Intermediate Italian, here I come! (Spring classes will be listed in the February issue.)
4) EMBRACE ITALY — It’s been almost 10 years since I first set foot in the land of my forebears, and it’s high time for a return visit. Come September, my family and I will be packing our bags and heading for la bell’Italia to reconnect with the motherland AND practice my newfound language skills. Inspired by Lucyann Murray’s glowing coverage of Emilia-Romagna in the July issue, we’ve set our sights on the cities that sprang up over the centuries along Via Aemilia, the road built through the middle of the region by the ancient Romans. But after reading Robert Allegrini’s illuminating account of Turin in this month’s issue … Oh, well, there are worse dilemmas to grapple with.
So there you have it: Resolutions that are built to last, with plenty of inspiration to be found in the pages of Fra Noi. Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE my job?
The above appears in the January 2019 issue of the print version of Fra Noi. Our gorgeous, monthly magazine contains a veritable feast of news and views, profiles and features, entertainment and culture. To subscribe, click here.