Italian Sweets


WOMAN: Cooking, for me, is keeping something of my heritage alive.When I go back to Sicily, I have an aunty who is the same, and when we get together, my mum and my aunty Dettenina, we talk about food all the time, and cakes and baking. It’s like there’s a story I wanna keep alive.

It’s not just for me – I’m understanding it’s for so many people in Australia, you know, who are second generation or third generation. We’ve adopted Australian ways and we are Australian, but we can’t help the other side of us. It’s deep within us but we don’t know it and so, for me, when I make something that is Sicilian, it’s me just holding onto that.

There’s my mum. (LAUGHS) Who’s very shy. And I always remember her cooking. She’s a very good... She’s a really good baker, a really good cook. So that’s where it comes from.

WOMAN 2: When I was young, very young, my mother and my grandmother at Christmas or at Easter, they used to bake biscuits, or sweets, for a week. And, yeah, we used to do the pignolata. It’s a sort of a sweet that we used to do for Easter. And the giuggiulena, that was done for Christmas. And it was something that we carry on for all these years and we still do it.

WOMAN: I haven’t made it completely on my own. I still have my mum watching me, so I haven’t done it solo yet. They’re about the memory. It’s keeping something alive. Yeah.

So what we did today was, for me, keeping what we used to do... what I used to do as a kid alive. A lot of people who saw the giuggiulena at the shop buy it for the same reason – because they remember when their mother used to make it and they never learnt how to make it. Everything that I know is from my mum.

My mum, from when I was very young, she let me play in the kitchen. Didn’t matter if I dirtied the kitchen, as long as I cleaned it. I don’t remember cleaning it but she used to say as long as I clean it, she let me make a mess. I think it’s really important to keep doing this, not just because you want to learn how to make something, but you learn...

There’s always a story behind it and there’s a story of a past that we don’t know and there’s a story of our parents, or the person who is showing you, that we don’t know. And it comes through in that moment ’cause you’re sharing time with that person and you’re getting to know them in a different way and that’s what it’s about. It’s bigger than just making the thing itself.

About this Video

Three generations of Sicilian women make giuggiulena and pignolata.
Length: 05:02