Tuesday, February 26, 2013


It has been approximately 14 months since I first submitted my book to the University of Akron Press.  In that time I have had email correspondence with them telling me that they are likely to publish it in the fall of 2013.  This is pretty exciting in that it will be a book that is available for people to purchase for Christmas!  

So many people from the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys  have moved away due to the mills closing and the economy in general, I am hoping that my book, Melting Pot Memories:  A Memoir with Recipes will serve as a link between "Youngstown Present" and "Youngstown Past."  I find that many young people, when asked their ethnicity have either no idea or do not want to acknowledge Italian, Hungarian etc.  That is such a loss for them.  

I find that as I get older, I want to know more about those people who came before me. A lot of this can be blamed on my majoring in history is college but, otherwise, I think it is a natural occurrence for us human beings.   As we age, for me at least, it becomes important to know about my early family members.

Our area is so rich in cultural diversity that it is important to keep the younger generations aware of their heritage.  Groups like Polish Youngstown and the Ethnic Heritage Society are doing a good job but we as individuals need to do more.  Talk to you children and grandchildren about the "good old days," even if they were not that good for our parents and grandparents.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Do you remember attending weddings as a child where the cookie tables seem to go on for miles and miles?  I certainly do!  As a kid, me and my little buddies would take off our shoes sometime during the reception and slide in our socks across the highly polished dance floor.  The adults around us just smiled indulgently as they visited with one another.  Who has a better time at a wedding reception than a small kid?

The Mahoning Valley Historical Society, 325 W. Federal Street in Youngstown, is sponsoring an event titled Cookie Table and Cocktails this Saturday night, February 16th from 7 till 11 pm.  It promises to be the biggest and best cookie table that Youngstown has ever seen.  So far they are at 6,000 cookies and counting!  Tickets are $40 at the door but will provide not only cookies but appetizers, a live band for dancing, an exhibit of antique wedding costumes, bidding on artwork and a Chinese auction.

They are having a cookie baking contest for amateurs as well as professional bakers for "best cookie."  I, of course, am competing with some of the most amazing bakers in the Mahoning Valley.  I cannot decide if I want to make an old-time cookie like Hungarian apricot squares or if I should do a newer confection, a chocolate-peppermint sandwich cookie.  Whatever I decide upon, I am sure I am up against stiff competition!

The cookie table phenomenon is certainly a local, if not regional, custom.  Northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania lay claim to its origins but cookie tables at weddings have been found in New York, West Virginia and New Jersey too.  It is only fitting that Y-town hold a celebration in its honor!

So, I hope to see you there Saturday night.  It is for a good cause, all proceeds benefit the Historical Society, and just think of all those cookies!