12 Days of Christmas – Lucia Masciullo

And for this, the fifth day of Christmas 2012, we have the wonderfully talented illustrator Lucia Masciullo sharing a Christmas memory from her Italian heritage. Lucia comes from a very large family so here is her generous Christmas memory of family … and food!

It was great fun meting Lucia for the first time earlier this year (again in Queensland) and chit chatting over book signings and feastings.

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Lucia Masciullo

When I was a child Christmas had three main elements: cold, lots of relatives and no Santa!

It was cold because I was in Italy and it was winter. There were lots of relatives because I used to spend my Christmas at my grandma’s house in a typical large south-Italian family: the Masciullo family which consisted of my close family (five of us), my grandma (nonna Lena), 15 uncles and aunties and a dozen cousins. It was great because it meant there was plenty of fun and presents!

Oh wait, I know what you’re thinking. You told us there was no Santa so where did all the presents come from? Well, our typically large south-Italian family is also a very Catholic one: one uncle and one cousin of the Masciullo family are even priests! So at Christmas there were no stories about a chubby old man dressed in red riding a sleigh but the story of little Jesus – a poor little child born in a shed and warmed by the breath of a donkey and a cow. A child destined to become Jesus the Lord, King of the Jews, son of God. So my Christmas was traditionally a family event, where we used to exchange presents as a sign of gratitude and affection. Ergo more the relatives, more the presents!

And finally how not to mention the numerous terrific dishes my nonna and my aunties used to cook for Christmas! Hand-made lasagna and stuffed agnolotti, oven-baked roast and veggies, and then the sweets: panettone, pandoro, gianduiotti and hand made cartellate!

Nowadays, even if it’s only me with my beloved partner at Christmas and it’s summer, we like to keep some of the traditional dishes – my partner is a superb cook and he’s from the same region as the Masciullo family! So at Christmas we cook agnolotti stuffed with ricotta, fried mozzarella and cartellate!

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And here are the cartellate (Lucia has promised me some of these when we next meet … and i intend to hold her to that-cc)

cartellata with honey

Lucia is an award-winning children’s book illustrator. She’s Italian and moved to Brisbane in 2007 with her partner. Since then she has illustrated nine books including the 2012 CBCA Honour Book Come Down, Cat! and the Our Australian Girl series titles. Lucia is also co-founder of Blue Quoll, a digital children’s book publishing company.

Find out more about Lucia at her website.

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