Pasta alla Trapanese

“The way to a person’s heart is through the stomach.” This might not be anatomically correct, but it’s true: feeding is the most basic and primitive act of caring (and one that animals understand too). Another act of caring, I say, is teaching others how to cook. So here it is, from me to you,…

How to Apologise When You’re Not in the Wrong

We Sicilian Mamas are never in the wrong. Still, sometimes, people think we are and they expect an apology. This is how you apologise when you’re not in the wrong: The “I’m sorry but…” apology. This is an apology with an educational value. With it, you can explain to the other person what really went…

Gift Ideas for the Unfaithful Partner

At this time of year, you’re probably scratching your head – and your wallet – to find the perfect gift for your other half. You’re looking for the kind of present that shows effort, care and deep knowledge of your beloved. But what if he/she has been unfaithful? Do they still deserve a present? Of…

A good partner is like the taxman

(I originally wrote this for Headstuff.org ) If you want your relationship to soar to the highest echelons of couple’s harmony and satisfaction, take the taxman as your role model: When in doubt, overestimate the other person’s worth Assume that your partner is emotionally, mentally, spiritually richer than he/she looks. It’s just that the stress…

How To Argue With Your Elders

cartoon by: studio tdes | CC BY Arguing is important to cement relationships and it takes skill, discipline and regular practice. A bit like office fire drills. After a properly resolved argument, you will be more bonded and happier. Just like after office fire drills. But before you start, run through a few checks: Are skittish pets…

How To Argue With People Less Wise Than You (i.e. teens)

Conflicts are important because they can lead to solutions, treaties and hugs (always welcome here). But arguing well is a skill that needs regular practice. The following guide is for arguments between you and somebody less wise than you, i.e. a teenager. It’s not meant for controversies with small children, though. Disputes with jumping-up-and-down-toddlers with…

Pesto with bacon and broad beans (and a little disaster)

Serendipity sometimes brings scientists to discover potent medicines, musicians to conjure heart-wrenching tunes, and mamas to concoct new recipes. It’s when you’re desperate to use up the stuff in your fridge before going on a holiday that you feel adventurous enough to try something silly, steeped in the knowledge that you can justify the inevitable…

Why keeping secrets is bad for you

Keeping a secret gives you stress (Huffington post , Forbes), this has been known for a while. Now new studies show that how often we think about our secrets makes a big difference (The Economist). Scientists have found that people who thought about their secrets less often than once a week had better health and…

“Are you a good driver?” Test

Why do I keep going on about driving? Because, unless we live in a large city with good public transports, we spend ages behind the steering wheel. Also, as soon as we become parents, we turn into the kids’ default taxi service. So let’s see if we are up to… speed with our driving. Have…

“Don’t wash during your periods” and other menstruation myths

The most mystifying of all the bad pieces of advice that we’ve collected this week is the advice about periods: don’t wash your hair, don’t have a shower, don’t touch plants during your periods. Where does this cleanliness ban – which, from your comments, seems to have spread from Italy to India to Scotland –…