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Don Rafa


This is one of my favorite pictures of my father. It was taken in 1992 on the occasion of my parents’ gold wedding anniversary. My dad passed away two years ago at the age of 86, and today my brothers and their families, along with my own family, are celebrating his birthday.

We always have a Mass in his memory and then we prepare some of his favorite dishes. My dad loved to eat rice with calamari, made with the black ink of the squid. He taught my mom how to make it and it became a staple at my house when I was growing up. I'm certain that my dad inherited the taste of this dish from his Italian father, who probably ate pasta with squid and not with rice, when he was growing up in Palermo. I'll be making it tonight and making a toast to my dad for a life well lived. A picture of the black rice will be posted tomorrow, so be forewarned, in case the thought of rice with calamari in its own ink makes you queasy.


My dad circa 1926 on the day of his First Communion. As a child he had red hair and freckles.

Comments (8)

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Maria, what a special way to celebrate your dad's birthday. I loved the photos you posted of your dad. Sounds like it will be a very special evening with family tonight.

I'd like to see the photo of your dad's favorite dish, so I'll check back tomorrow night for your post.

He was very handsome. I would not have guessed his hair was red as a boy. That is pretty cool how you have a special mass and dinner in his honor. I am not a big fan of black ink pasta (although have only had it once in Padova) but will definitely be checking back for you photos.


Ciao sorella, Rafi and myself did celebrate his birthday with some mediterranean food and Rafi smoking that famous moroccan pipe with apple flavor...


your brother.

I love the photos too; he looks like a wonderful man. It's wonderful how you continue to honor him.

I've never had it with rice but I did have the black ink pasta in Venice one time; I thought it was delicious but was surprised at how it stained our mouths! I look forward to seeing the photo.

Kathy, Girasoli and Annie: Thank you for your nice comments about my dad. He was a wonderful dad and we miss him very much. We had a very nice evening listening to some oldies and drinking Vermouth the way my dad liked it, on the rocks with a splash of lemon.
I'm happy to hear that Girasoli and Annie had black ink pasta. Teeth staining is like a badge of honor for eating the pasta.

Miguel: Nice to see you commenting and that you also had a nice dinner. Now, if you can convince the brother we nicknamed "Quindi" to post a comment, I'll be a very happy sister.

:) My brother posted a comment once on my blog and I was in shock and thrilled!! My dad & my uncle read my blog and never comment and my brother reads my blog all the time, but my sister in Calif and my aunt I very close to rarely read it which I never could understand. That is great that your brother posted a comment!


Marìa, I love the photos, and how delightful to share some of his favourite dishes in his honour. That is so touching. I have not had black ink pasta, but would like to try it sometime. The grey colour is not terribly attractive though, but I assume it tastes better than it looks (like lobster for instance - hideous but oh so tasty!)


Hey Marisabel! I dare you to post the picture you took in Venice of my "dentadura" al nero di seppia!!!

Yes, we celebrated our Dad's birthday dining at a Spanish restaurant (Ibiza) and I had Arab, Morrocan and Greek dishes (they all are part of Sicily's history, so why not.) Food tasted great especially since the fratello paid.

I dare you...

Rafi (aka "Quindi")

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