All posts tagged Italian

Who Names These Coffee Varieties

Published March 20, 2023 by helentastic67

Who Names These Coffee Varieties

A recent trip to a coffee roaster saw us answering the questions about what kind of coffee is drunk in the household?

Just imagine I’m the latte drinker. Yes, my favourite meme for this is, “Latte is Italian for: you paid too much for that coffee!”

I described and created the coffee roast “I drank too much Sake last night!” Speaking for a friend. Poor young sales assistant looked at me questioning. Did you read the above? I drink latte and I was THERE!

Note! I’ve not thrown anyone specifically under the bus here, but this relates to the time around my father’s passing, she says diplomatically.

Say No to Tommy K on Pasta

Published February 24, 2020 by helentastic67

Say No to Tommy K on Pasta

In some ways I am a shame on my Nona (and my Italian heritage), who I only have few memories of, as she died when I was around six years old.

But the memories I have are of great love and fondness. So, in a sense I’m a shame on my Italian heritage, because I barely understand garlic. I use it on very few things because I try to make my Nona proud “But chilli?!” Like, sweet Jesus!

WFT! Who can I blame this abomination for this? I’ve just had some at a café and my lips are numb and I feel dehydrated.

But, in one way I can never find an excuse.


I got some very WHITE cousins and they are lucky I didn’t slap them.

Now, that is an abomination. If you can’t use a tin of tomatoes, throw in a few vegies (carrot, capsicum, broccoli etc) and some spices and make a quick lazy pasta sauce, you have bigger problems.


Today’s Lunch – 5th February 2020

Published February 5, 2020 by helentastic67

Today’s Lunch

Good Mental Health Day

Despite the next month of foodie posts would have you believe I don’t go out for dinner very often. Saturday just gone I went out for dinner with some friends. They are actually closer friends of a friend who couldn’t make it. So, I went out with a really lovely couple.

Anyway, my neighbourhood has an abundance of gourmet pizza places and burger places. Both exe Saturday night we did Italian pizza. A place called I’l Pizziaolo. Translation, the pizza maker. I did get better taking photos after the first course. In photos it went like this: going with other friends in a few weeks and one of those friends is more Wog than I am. He will cope.


















Late Saturday night having already eaten what I refer to as my standard, standard Saturday wog lunch followed by more Italian for dinner. An ache in my side made me think for days, days! I had eaten too much food from the same food group. That being Wog.

Monday, I greeted my carer with the question, what’s in here? (Pointing to my side) Then questioning, kidney, liver? Which internal organ is so pissed off with me? Alas, I think I found another reason why I do not do chilli and pepper. It hurts my internal organs. Still going there again, just can’t eat the home made traditional Italian salamis.

Meanwhile, back to the present. Today’s offering is, a bolognaise arancini with side salad and medicine.












Animal Print

Published October 18, 2019 by helentastic67

Animal Print

I confess to say I’m not a fan on the animal print on people. I know, I know, it’s been around for eons.

Thank God, wearing fur is largely over and done with. But, every now and again some fashion victim tries to bring back Leopard print on pants or bags or fucking something.

I know I’m sounding rather grumpy about it but, every now and again I see an eighty-year-old Italian lady wearing them.

Now, I know an eighty-year-old wearing them. Wow, Wow, NO! Her children are doing her a disservice, take your mum shopping for age appropriate clothes. Her arse is no longer a peach. Might never have been.

I realise I sound very grumpy. Sorry Not Sorry. I’m just saying, let animals do animal print. They do it best. Leave it be.

Grumpy over.


Not Racist

Published October 14, 2019 by helentastic67

Not Racist

You know those moments when you say something totally racist, when your intention is anything but, so says every racist. However, (see what I did there?)

Just like when people say “I don’t mean to be racist, but” and they say something totally racist. Standing outside my apartment complex the day my friend delivered my new couch.

Background about Frank, more Italian than I am. His parents were both older when they came to Australia in a different generation to me. Frank is the same age as me, however married with two fully grown children, whom I met when I worked for him about fifteen years ago and his kids were only little.

Frank arrives with the couch on the back of his van. At the same time, there is a van parked behind his with a woman sitting in the front passenger seat with the door open. Two men and another woman came down carrying things to put in the back of their van. Now, I had noticed their van parked there earlier in the day and some banter between the two men, shoulder slaps and verbal ribbing (teasing).

Did I mention, they were black? I don’t mean that in a racist way. There are plenty of Indian, Asian and African people in this area. However, I mean really black. I should point out now, over twenty years ago my sisters high school friend married a gentleman from Nigeria and so came the term “He’s as black as snow” and he has the most softly spoken voice. They have and assortment of chocolate coloured kids, however these four people were really black.

Frank was there and down the street came his friend to help. Frank and his friend started ribbing each other straight away. I asked how they knew each other, to which Frank quickly replied “Prison”. I’ve known Frank about twenty years now and he has definitely not been to prison.

Unbeknownst to Frank, I caught the eye of the woman sitting in the front seat of the van, at the mention of “Prison” her face showed surprise, shock and concern. I would like to say she paled somewhat, but that’s not true. I caught her eye and shook my head in the negative.

Frank and his friend were continuing their joke with who had the top bunk (while in prison). Anyway, when the two guys started bringing things (couch/fridge) down the steps Frank stepped forward to help because that’s what wogs do (they help) they don’t wait to be asked, they don’t offer, they just step up and help.

Every time Frank stepped up to help and also to help avert disaster, I gave him a little cheek too “You just can’t help yourself, can you?” Frank and I started to racially profile the people moving out, in a non-racist way.

We were guessing what part of Africa they were from (Eretria) and we figured they had been in Australia for less than five years, however the way they communicated with each other and the banter and cheek between the two men meant they were likely, brothers-in-laws or siblings and Frank and I considered where his parents had been like when they arrived here.

I had spoken to the supervisor in the front passenger seat and we agreed you only encounter people when you are moving in or out of the apartment. They had been here three years and it’s the only time I’d seen them. Now they are gone, which is sad because they seemed nice people.

And well, my friends seemed alright despite one (Frank) having been to Prison.

P.S. Prison, apparently a common term for going to church. Too funny.


Heritage – Part 1

Published May 10, 2019 by helentastic67

Heritage Part 1

I was introducing a friend last night to the best thing about roasted vegies (if I tell you I have to kill you) and it led me to tell her the difference between my mum’s family heritage and my fathers. So, the basics were when I was growing up, we on a rare occasion we went to my grandparents’ house for dinner and we had a roast. Pork crackling yummy goodness, my older sister and I would sit at the ‘kids table’ (I know, doesn’t happen now, does it?) We would sniff around the kitchen and offer to help and beg for Pork crackling. “If you eat it all now, there will be none to go with dinner” like we cared.

My mum’s side seemed very English with a Sunday roast for lunch or dinner. In complete contrast, the Italian side of my family was Sunday Lasagne. So, at home our Sunday roast was Lasagne and it would last for days. Garfield would be proud.

So, also in contrast to Nona’s, we would be served generous portions of spaghetti and Nona would be at the kitchen sink doing the dishes and not sitting with us. Mum would tell her to sit and join us, while my father and grandfather spoke Italian. Nona would ay to start without her. Mum would nudge her husband to tell Nona to join us and then, he would jut tell my mum to let her go. Mum would then look to me to go get Nona to sit and join us. She would be washing the big pot by this stage and shoo me away.

Isn’t it interesting how times and culture has changed?


Love or Hate, Hit Like

Published April 15, 2019 by helentastic67

Love or Hate, Hit Like

There will be some posts I write and you read when you won’t ‘Like’ at all what I have to say. You may not believe me even. You will be absolutely fair to want to HATE it.

However, you should still give me a ‘Like’ because I say it as I see it and then you can do something about what you have heard if you can and if you believe in it and think the world can be a better place for everyone.

These days I live in a rather wog area of Melbourne, they are mostly baby-boomers in age, their children having moved out, started their own families with more room in suburbs slightly further out.

On a rare occasion, there is a 50-somethiing still living with parents in this neighbourhood and it’s because on occasion the “child” is still in many ways a “child”.

It means they have intellectual challenges for those reading this post, don’t have to live with every day.

Italian Helen

Published January 25, 2019 by helentastic67

italian helen

Italian Helen

This morning while getting ready to go out, I swear there were about four ideas for posts in my head. I have an extra appointment in Cliffy Hill today, so I’ve come early for an extra lunch this week at my favourite café and while I’ve extra time, all my ideas disappeared.

good ideas

Ah, I should start all my posts with thought of my mind is a sieve (it has holes in it) because they then all come flooding back.

I thought it was high time I unpacked my Italian part.

italian heritage

If you haven’t read my “About” page, it may be mentioned there. My father came to Australia when he was only 4 years old, way back in about 1952. The ship my father and many other immigrants travelled here on, I recently learnt was called the Sorrento and I understand now why other Italians call their businesses something with Sorrento in their names. A supermarket back in Clifton Hill is the flower of Sorrento.

Dad Arrives by ship

The journey took 4 weeks. Shorter than I imagined but as a 4-year-old I’m sure it seemed to take for ever.

His father came out some years earlier to pave the way for his family to join him. He worked on the railways, building the train tracks and would send his wages back to Italy to his wife. Every so often, he would travel back to Italy on a ship to see his wife, meet his new son, knock up (that means impregnate) his wife, then get on a boat back to Australia.

worked on railways 1

He readied a home here in the country (where I’m from). So it was all ready for his wife and children to join him.

readied home

My father, the youngest was four years old and he had never even met him. I imagine my dad a little boy at a wharf in Melbourne, holding all his worldly possessions in a small suitcase. My grandparents both worked in factories. The two factories in town made fabric and wool, neither learned English.

arrive by ship

I think it was a generational thing that they worked in factories, stayed amongst their own (Italians with Italians, Greeks with Greeks etc) and because they really had no opportunities to socialize with Aussies, they didn’t learn. Whereas the three sons went to school here and had to learn. As a youngster, my older sister and I would tease my dad about his terrible spelling. He thought bath was spelt ‘Barth’. There is no silent ‘R’ in Bath.

going to school

Apparently, he used to duck his head down in the classroom so the teacher didn’t call on him. My father didn’t do too badly however. While his two older brothers both worked in the factories also (one worked driving trucks for many years, but eventually ended up in the factory also.)

Work in factories

My father worked as a chippy (that is the tradie name/term for Builder or Carpenter). I learned very little if any Italian from my father. As a child, visits to my Italian grandparents resulted in my cheeks being pinched. Sweet Jesus! If you tried to hide them from Nona, she would pinch your butt cheeks instead. You just couldn’t win.

nona pinch cheeks

When visiting them, we would walk down the driveway and while the men would stay outside and chat about the grapevines over the roof of the trellis beside the garage and the vegetable garden. There was almost more vegetable garden than lawn in the backyard. Nona would take my older sister inside, open the fridge door and motion to the bottles of Loy’s soft drinks. Every colour was on offer.

vegetable garden 1

My sister liked Creamy Soda or Portello and I preferred Lime, but we were raised to have whatever was open. Nona would beckon us to just choose and it didn’t matter with very little English, it was easy to communicate. In very simple terms, Nona wanted to feed you and love you. So, food and cuddles.

nonas fridge

I know my mum would stay with my father, but because my father spoke only Italian to his father and didn’t make an effort to translate or include her, her resentment has stemmed from here.

Guess I should confess, my older sister and I attended Italian classes when I was about seven. I also did a class in high school as a compulsory subject, when I was about thirteen. Not much stuck. I can count from one to ten at a push to twenty and a few other things.

italian class

My twenty’s and thirty’s I spent more time meeting other wogs who would greet me in Italian, I would quickly point out politely I didn’t speak the language and then explain ‘I know a few words’. It was always assumed I know the swear word and I only learnt a few of those when I worked in my first administration job, where my superior was a grumpy ex-sous chef, who thought I was a disgrace to my heritage.

speak italian

So, in front of an all-male (all wog) group of our clients he would say things like ‘Oh what a misery’ (that was easy to work out) and he had a preference for saying ‘Che fa’ (I hope it’s realised Che fa sounds conveniently like “Get fucked?”) which eventually on a day he used it a lot I eventually called him on it. (his over use of the words) Yeah, yeah, we get it. You are not really asking ‘What the?’ but playing on the fact it sounds remarkably like (my favourite words) Something arse…

che fa

I appreciate my grandfather sacrificing seeing his boys grow up to come here to build something for their future. And even that immigrants these days come to Australia for a better life.

better life

I think every generation of immigrants that have made Australia their home have bought a little of their culture with them to enrich our lifestyle with theirs. Not always good, sure. But food culture especially. Better!

food culture





Published November 19, 2018 by helentastic67



Now, this may come as a bit of a surprise and I realise I’ve yet to do the ‘everyday person’s’ explanation of the difference between TBI/ABI/MY ABI/AVM so presuming I can keep it short and sweet (when have I ever).












I’m lucky I’ve not had trauma to my brain, I’ve not been cut into (not my brain anyway). This has allowed me the ability to retain a great many things. Memories from before breakfast today, my greater independence financially and my ability to plan and execute. All to which helps me stay independently living by myself. Kapish (I think that is Italian for ‘understand’)


However, I think all of the above might work against me sometimes, when dealing with (is there a polite word for this? Anyone?)



Sweet Jesus!

No really, this week I’ve been asked at a train station if I was staff, and a staff member in uniform had just been talking to me and then this incompetent woman came up to me claiming to be doing a ‘survey’. FARK


What? I’ve gotta do your job too now?

I didn’t get enough sleep last night and by the time I left my chiropractor, my left eye was hurting (that’s my version of a migraine these days, hurts like hell, but allows me to keep getting around to do all my “things”) WHERE ARE MY DRUGS? I left asking the receptionist who was on over the weekend. Most good chiro’s if they don’t fix the problem in that visit and you still have symptoms the following day, they will see you again ‘free of charge.’

Where are my drugs

I was told the two girls (who own the practice) are away for Easter. I enquired who was covering? The Associate? The Associate, is a lovely younger guy I can bond with over “The Walking Dead” and GOT (Game of Thrones) Her reply – “Oh, I don’t know, I haven’t asked him yet.


Do I have to do everything?

Do I have to do everything

Rehab – Part 3

Published October 26, 2018 by helentastic67


Rehab – Part 3

Case Study – Part 1

This next post is a series of Case Studies to give you all an example of the kinds of people who you end up sharing a room with in an inpatient rehab hospital room.

Case Study

Now, I was lucky to go into an empty room. It had four beds, we shared a bathroom with three guys in the next room (their fourth bed was a bathroom which didn’t stop a few of those guys using the bathroom in between.)

I asked which bed was to be mine and I then asked if I could have a bed that better suited my vision loss, I prefer to have the door on my right, so I can see people coming.


She was in newish Highrise of Public Housing, nice glossy blue coloured tiles on the outside, I imagine in an attempt to disguise the fact that it was Public Housing. I know it was Public Housing because I’d previously been offered an apartment there.

But, I wouldn’t take my cat, Jamima and had effectively been told/advised to have her put down rather than turn down the Housing. That guy deserved to be fired! Anyway, the roommate number three, spent much time on the phone saying her bedroom furniture was worth $10,000 and her lounge furniture the same.

I couldn’t imagine that much furniture could fit in those apartments and I kept imagining her shopping at Franco Cozzo.

I cannot imagine which wogs are keeping Franco in business, however I believe his son was in charge twenty years ago and was importing “things” inside the furniture. Likely why the son spent time in the Big-House.

Anyway, I will complete this thing.

Roommate number three took some time to settle in, she never really did as the nurses kept a stern eye on her as when her ex-husband visited, they were concerned she would make an escape.

Call me crazy, but she had one hip, had nearly died and she many not have liked it. (I didn’t, but you don’t go there for a holiday) You stay, you KNUCKLE DOWN, you get better and you get the hell out of there, kapish.


Anyway, enter inmate number four.


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