Posts Tagged ‘gypsy’

Roma families (also called gypsies, tinkers or travelers) have a hard life in Europe. Recently, Elisabetta Povoledo wrote at the New York Times about some Roma women who are hoping to build a better life for their families by starting food businesses.

“On a muggy July evening, a handful of Italian hipsters milled around a food stand at an alternative music festival in Rome, trying to decipher some of the exotic offerings: mici, sarmale and dolma.

“These Balkan delicacies — barbecued meatballs, cabbage wraps and stuffed peppers — are the basic ingredients of an entrepreneurial scheme cooked up by a group of Roma women looking to better their lives and leave the overcrowded and insalubrious camp in Rome where they currently live.

“They call themselves the Gipsy Queens.

“ ‘Cooking? I’ve been cooking practically since I was born,’ said one of the chefs, Florentina Darmas, 33, a mother of three, who is originally from Romania. …

“Nowadays she is trying to break down some of the barriers faced by her traditionally marginalized group using the universal language of food. …

“ ‘We realized there was unexpressed potential in the community, especially on the part of women,’ said Mariangela De Blasi, a social worker with Arci Solidarietà Onlus, a Rome-based nonprofit organization that works with marginalized people and manages the burgeoning catering business. …

“If their entrepreneurial plans pan out, the Gipsy Queens hope to buy a food truck or rent a kitchen on a more permanent basis — foundations for steady work that will bring in rent money.

“ ‘Getting out [of the camp] is my first priority,’ said Hanifa Hokic, 31, a divorced mother of five children between 8 and 12 years old, who is originally from Bosnia. …

“Maria Miclescu, a 20-year-old mother of two, agreed that to give her children ‘a better future,’ she had to leave. Her husband is trying to establish a small-appliance repair business …

“The oldest member of the group, Mihaela Miclescu, 49, who is a grandmother, was happy to join the Gipsy Queens.

‘I wanted to show Italians that we are not bad people, that we want to work, not to beg.’

More here.

Photo: Gianni Cipriano for the New York Times
Maria Miclescu, left, and Codruca Balteanu at a food stand run by the Gipsy Queens during a music festival in Rome. 

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I am a huge fan of Tyne Daly, the actress. I enjoyed her on the TV series “Cagney and Lacy,” was blown away by her Mama Rose in the musical “Gypsy,” and am not at all surprised by Ben Brantley’s July 8, 2011, glowing review of her portrayal of Maria Callas in “Master Class.”

He writes, “Ms. Daly transforms that script into one of the most haunting portraits I’ve seen of life after stardom.”

But I was not always a fan. No way. Not when Tyne was taking all the ingenue roles at the Jr. Antrim Players in Suffern and a cute guy I knew was always drooling about “Time for Tyne.”

Nope. Starting with Gilbert & Sullivan’s “HMS Pinafore,” in which I was crummy ol’ Cousin Hebe, Tyne snared all the lead roles. We girls in wallflower parts would hiss to one another with resentful envy, “Of course, she comes from a theater family,” and  “Her father is James Daly,” and “The whole family does summer stock.” We didn’t like to admit that Tyne was also very comfortable and capable on the stage, had a sweet voice, and was pretty.

Fortunately we grew up and learned to give credit where credit is due.

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