As previously mentioned, Maria Rosa was born in Roseto Valfortore, Italy. I suppose those living in Roseto, Italy were always prepared for a "bumpy ride" due to the numerous earthquakes of this region. Nevertheless, the people of Roseto seemed to be blessed with special protection against such catastrophes; while surrounding towns and villages took the brunt of God's wrath.
During the late 1800's until the mid-1920's, there was an exodus of Rosetians who came to the new world. In a small area of Pennsylvania, just south of the Pocono Mountains, the people of Roseta Valfortore were able to transplant themselves into a close-knit, loving Italian culture, bringing with them the ideas, religion, skills and concepts of the old Roseto they left behind. Of course, the new location would be called, what else? ~ "Roseto."
The amazing story about the blessings of the people of Roseto, Pennsylvania can be found throughout numerous publications, articles and postings on the Internet. It seems the residents of Roseto, PA created a bit of paradise for themselves; you might say, a "Shangri La," so to speak. One of the miracles of the Rosetians was their longevity. I like to think something like this may have transpired during the late 1940's.......a 96-year old Roseto woman goes to the doctor and complains about headaches. Her 98-year old husband accompanied her to the doctor and says, "Dottore, Non e niente di grave" (Doctor, nothing is serious).
I believe an event such as this might have started the ball rolling; as professionals from around The United States began to realize the vigorous health of the people living in the little hamlet of Roseto. When all was said and done....after they had examined their food, water, air, genes, lifestyles, geography, etc., the final conclusion drawn from longevity experts was: The people of Roseto were exceptionally happy. They were joyful in simply living day to day. Perhaps some of their homemade wine contributed, also.
A little home wine-making in the backyard.
All I know about this photo is that it was taken during the 1930's in Roseto, Pennsylvania
Mario Potorti is on the right. Who is the generous gentleman on the left?
Some of the members of the Pinto family married and settled in Roseto, PA. Roseto was, indeed, a happy place. A car full of relatives from Philadelphia pulling up to their doorstep - not a problem for our Roseto relatives. They would just throw an extra pizza onto their outdoor oven.
Cousin Dolores Potorti DiTillio (daughter of Dominick & Viola) contributed information that we had cousins Louis & Connie Castelano from the Roseto area. This couple had twins Robert & Raymond, and a daughter, Patricia. Connie Castelano had a sister, Margie Dorsey, who lived in Southwest Philadelphia.
Other names of relatives: Dan Falcone; the Faust and Carmela Capobianco Family. We are related to the Capone Family, who also lived in South Philadelphia - approximately 6th & Wharton Streets.
LONGEVITY FACT: According to Italian official records, on April 10, 1698, Giovanni (John)
Potorti died in Reggio di Calabria. He was 100 years old!
Grandmother, Maria Rosa relaxing on the porch - Roseto, Pennsylvania
Recipe - Italian Christmas Cookies
Every Christmas, we would begin making these cookies in the morning hours, and finally finish the job after dark. This recipe makes about 400 heavy cookies, which would keep well into January. Ingredients call for melted lard! Sounds like a heart attack ready to happen, but many old Italian recipes call for this type of shortening. I've converted the ingredients into modern measure. The original recipe measured dry ingredients in pounds. Imagine weighing ingredients on a scale!
8 Cups Flour, sifted
4 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Cocoa
2 Teaspoons each: Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Cinnamon
2 Teaspoon each: Nutmeg, Allspice, Cloves
2 Cups Melted white vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)
1 Quart Milk
1 Pound Raisins
For Icing - 4 Cups Sifted Confectioner's Sugar + Milk as needed
Sift together all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix until completely blended. Gradually add milk and raisins. Continue to blend thoroughly. Slowly add melted vegetable shortening and mix into dough.
Drop a handful of dough onto a floured board and roll into a long snake-like form. With a sharp knife, cut dough into 1-1/2" pieces. Place cookies 1" apart on greased cookie sheets and bake 15 to 20 minutes in a 325 degree oven. Check bottoms of cookies for even, golden-brown color. Remove from oven & cool.
ICING: (The icing is an important step in this recipe. Without it, the cookies will become dry and hard. The icing gives the cookies a tender, cake-like center and gives them the quality of storing well.)
In a large bowl, combine confectioner's sugar and enough milk to make a thick, soup-like consistency. Dump several cooled cookies into the mixture and gently toss. Set cookies onto a flat surface to dry. After some of the liquid frosting has rolled off the cookies, move them to another flat surface. Allow to dry overnight.