You are in for a treat today! My guest, Angela Zagarella is a multi-talented woman that embraces life and all that it offers. For starters, she is a master at baking sourdough bread. I knew she was a true friend when she shared some of her sourdough starter (that’s like gold to sourdough bakers) and helped me through the first stages of learning to bake the bread. Her other culinary skills are superb, especially with dishes of Sicilian origin.
Angela is a native of Sicily and lived in Siracusa until she was 28 and moved to the United States. I met Angela through the Italian community in Portland. Her warmth and big smile made me feel like we were instant friends. I admire her strength to locate to a new country, assimilate, learn and teach language, and contribute to society above and beyond the norm.
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Angela Zagarella is the Language Program Coordinator and teaches beginning, intermediate and advanced Italian at Portland State as well as Italian cinema and literature. She has taught both in Portland and at the University for Foreigners in Siena. She has reviewed articles, textbooks worked with publishing companies, and written scripts for videos. She has been a language consultant for local theatrical productions and has taught classes for singers at the Portland Opera, travelers, and business people.
Angela is very active in the Italian community and is one of the organizers of the Portland Italian Film Festival. She is on the board of the Associazione Culturale Italiana and Italian Benvenuti Club Foundation, has been the co-executive director of the Portland Bologna Sister City Association, and is the President of the Oregon chapter of Sicilia Mondo, which promotes Sicilian culture and tradition all over the world.
Her areas of interest are Literature of Migration and Mediterranean Studies, language teaching pedagogy, and second language acquisition. She is interested in exploring the multifaceted representation of Italian Contemporary society as represented through the work of migrant writers in Italian literature. Her research compares the actual experience of migration of Italophone writers from other Mediterranean countries to the experience of migration of Italian writers who moved from Southern to Northern Italy in the postwar years.
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Angela’s story and recipe:
This recipe fuses my identity and my heritage, who I am! Sicilian first of all and then Italian. Siracusa, the capital of Magna Graecia, is my hometown. A 3-minute video was created by a friend of mine, archeologist Davide Tanasi (he now teaches at the University of South Florida) Siracusa 3D Reborn: An Ancient Greek City Brought Back to Life.
Another very informative post about Sicily and the Greeks is worth checking out. There are photos, information, and videos included in that post. Sicily Greeks. Did you know that at one time there were more Greeks in Sicily than Greece?
Pasta with tuna and onion is very popular in Sicily. I learned about making pasta with yogurt from the Greeks, so I combined the two. Creamy, fresh, and fragrant. Delicious! I imagine this dish must have been what the Greeks ate when they were in Sicily.
[Note from Christina: One half of my Italian heritage is from Messina, Sicily, the other half from Bari, Italy. I shared with Angela that my relatives made a very similar pasta dish. One time when I showed up to visit my uncle & aunt in Italy, they were surprised when we arrived. They had the dates wrong and were totally unprepared for our visit. It was close to 5:00 pm and they don’t eat dinner until 10:00 or 11:00 pm. Knowing we were hungry from our travels, my aunt whipped up the Sicilian version (without yogurt) of this pasta dish. It was sooooo good!]
- An article was published in May 2020 (issue #127, page 60) in the We the Italians Magazine about Angela. Teaching Italian Cinema During Covid-19. (Be sure to click issue 127, and it will forward to page 60.)
- Angela’s PSU students translated a play that was performed in London. https://www.pdx.edu/wll/news/psu-students-translated-italian-play-now-being-performed-london
- Another class created the English subtitles of the Italian documentary Fuori!
Grazie mille Angela!