C onn ect i ng C u ltu r es T hrough F am i ly and F ood
But the great wave consisted overwhelmingly of southern Italians. About a quarter of these immigrants —roughly fourmillion—came to theUnited States. Although America was home to Irish, Polish, Greek, Jewish, and other immigrants, those from Italy were the largest group. The vast ma- jority came on ships that sailed through Ellis Island in New York Harbor, where the Statue of Liberty greeted them. Most of them didn’t stray too far from the northeastern states, settling in large cities such as NewYork, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Part of the reason for that was that they could not afford to keep trav- eling. Most had very little money, and they needed jobs fast. The other reasonwas that the Industrial Revolutionhad shifted jobs fromrural areas
On any 29th of a month, Argentinians recognize gnocchi day. Gnocchi are dumplings made with potatoes and flour. They were introduced to the
country by Italians, along with pizza and pasta. The idea of gnocchi day comes from early immigrants, who usually received their pay on the first of the month. Many families
were short on funds by the end of the month, just before payday. Inexpen- sive gnocchi made the perfect meal when money was at its tightest and the cupboard shelves held little. Today, the tradition continues in the homes of later-generation Italians and in restaurants, which sometimes serve nothing except gnocchi on this day. It’s believed to bring good luck, and in families who aren’t strapped for cash, it’s customary for everyone to get a little mon- ey under their plates, too.
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