Mary MacKillop College and the Italian Community


Italian Liberation Day

On 25 April, students once again participated in the annual celebration of the Italian Liberation Day (Festa della Liberazione) held at the Payneham Mausoleum.

Anzac Day is of significant importance here in Australia, but this is also a day of remembrance for those who died for the Liberation of Italy in 1945. This day marks the fall of Mussolini's Italian Social Republic and the end of the Nazi occupation in Italy in 1945, towards the end of the second World War.

Four senior students of Italian, Domenica, Bettina, Alana and Alexandra, represented the College at the recent ceremony held at the Payneham Mausoleum Chapel to commemorate the Italian fallen soldiers of the two World Wars. Different regiments were represented and many in attendance proudly wore the uniform they had worn as young men and women, as did the young descendants of those who fought. They were joined by various government officials of both the Italian and Australian governments, as well as members of the Italian community.

The service was led by Father Alan Winter and the students in attendance participated in the readings. These students not only ably read in Italian, but they also represented the College with great pride. Those in attendance commented on the students’ poise and confidence as well as their ability to read fluently and expressively in Italian. It was evident that they truly appreciated these young people contributing to the day’s celebrations.

A thoughtful reflection was presented by Dr Roberta Ronzitti, Consul of Italy, who spoke of the values of Italians in Italy and overseas. The President of Com.It.Es (Comitato degli Italiani all’Estero - Committee of Italians Abroad), Mark Quaglia, also spoke of the importance of acknowledging and remembering the contributions of the fallen soldiers.

Mary Lepore
Languages Learning Area Leader


Rosa Matto Cooking Class

On Monday 16 May, nine very excited Year 10 students of Italian were given the opportunity to work with one of the greatest chefs, Rosa Matto.

The cooking class commenced with a conversation about how the stereotypes surrounding Italian food have developed over time.  This led the students into a discussion about the history of Italian food and the types of food found in the varying regions of Italy.  

Following this, the girls were divided into groups and began cooking dishes including pizza margherita and pizza bianco (margherita and potato pizza), pasta con nocce e zucca (pasta with walnuts and pumpkin), panzanella (salad with tomatoes, basil and crunchy bread), spezzatino di pollo al funghi (chicken chops with tomatoes, cream and porcini mushrooms), purè di palate (potato and garlic mash) and budini di riso (rice cake).

Once the dishes were prepared, the girls sat at a prepared table and were provided with some information about good table manners, according to Italians.  It was not long before expressions such as ‘buon appetito’ and ‘altro tanto’ could be heard, and the students began indulging in what they had spent the previous two hours preparing.  

It was wonderful to see the girls enjoy good food in good company.

Below are some responses from the students:

From the cooking class, I enjoyed cooking the pizza and smelling all the different, delicious Italian food. I also enjoyed learning the history of Italian cuisine and how it is connected to different cultures.  I learned that most stereotypical Italian foods are from Southern Italy and not from Italy in general. The different regions of Italy and what foods they specialise in was also interesting to learn. Sky and I made pizza margherita and pizza bianca, which was an enlightening experience. Overall, my favourite dish was ‘spezzatino di pollo al funghì e pure di patate’ or ‘chicken chops with tomatoes, cream, and porcini mushrooms and mashed potatoes.’ Mido

Gianna and I mostly enjoyed working with Rosa and Linda, and the many techniques that we learnt from cooking with them. We also enjoyed learning more about the history of Italian food, and the origins of particular foods.  Gianna and I learnt how to cook a variety of dishes and the multiple techniques and methods for cooking. We found it interesting how stereotypical people can be towards Italy and its culture and food, and how these stereotypes are certainly not true. We also learnt about the origin of pizza and that it is actually from Turkey, not Italy, that the unification of Italy occurred in 1861 and where different foods grow in the different Italian regions.  Gianna and I made the ‘budini di riso,’ which was the dessert dish and surprisingly it turned out quite well. Our favourite dish was by far the potato and Margherita pizzas - they were delicious. Dominique and Gianna

I enjoyed the eating part of the cooking class to be honest, but I also enjoyed making the dough at the beginning of the cooking session. Even though my fingers were sticky. I learnt that the stereotypes surrounding Italian food are not really accurate. I also received a history lesson on the Federation of Italy, which, in fact, was exactly forty years before Australia.  Although I am not a big fan of pizza, as a duo, Mido and I made potato pizza and pizza margherita. I enjoyed the pizza the most. Sky

We enjoyed learning about the Italian culture and the impacts that surrounding countries have on the origin of foods. It was great to be exposed to a variety of dishes from different regions, and sharing the meal together in a traditional Italian way.  The most significant thing we learned was that many of the dishes we associate with Italy did not actually originate from there. For example, pizza originated in Turkey, was slightly recreated in Greece, and then again by the Italians who called it pizza. We also learned that in order to put more flavour to non-tomato based sauce pasta, you can add some of the water it was cooked in as it contains the pasta flavour. We made ‘pasta con nocce e zucca’ - pasta with walnuts and pumpkin. Although all dishes were delicious, our favourite dish was the pizza and the panzanella. Alana and Alexandra

I enjoyed cooking good food with good people. It was nice to cook something a little bit different and not the stereotypical Italian foods. I learnt about the history of Italian food, some experiences of World War 2 and the Federation of Italy in 1861. I also learnt some names of foods such as ‘panzanella.’  From the cooking class I learnt the correct process of making pasta. We were to combine the eggs, flour and semolina then knead it through the machine fifteen times. Alexandra, Alana and I then lengthened the pasta and cut it into fettucicne.  My group made pasta with pumpkin and walnuts and my favourite dish was the 'spezzatino di pollo ai funghi' which was chicken chops with tomatoes, cream and porcini mushrooms. Tess

On behalf of the Year 10 students of Italian, I sincerely thank Mrs Mary Lepore for organising this wonderful opportunity for the students.  I also extend my thanks to Mrs Kath McGuigan for allowing this rewarding experience to take place for yet another year. 

Laura Abarno
Year 10 Teacher of Italian