Your Family Story

Most Americans have ethnic and cultural roots outside of the U.S. We're asking you to share cultural traditions that are still important to you.

We're looking for stories, recipes, songs, and pictures. We'll be collecting these stories here, at Your Family Story. They'll also appear at changinggears.info and michiganradio.org. We'll even put some on the air. You can share your story here.
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My great-grandfather migrated from Sicily. He was one of the first Fanfalones to settle in the Detroit area. Like a lot of Italian migrants, he was poor but carved a name for himself and ended up having a large family.

I miss the big family gatherings. Most of us are grown now. Weddings and funerals are the only time the extended family gets together any more. The older generation held more of the old traditions together than we do now. I find that a shame. Those were some of my best memories.

I remember cannoli day, a tradition that my family and cousins continue to this day. Everyone brings a batch of cannoli dough and we set up an assembly line. A few roll the dough out then pass it along to those rolling the forms. They drop the rolls gently into the deep fryer.

Before the last batch is done, my cousins start dinner of spaghetti, meat balls or sausages, salad, and garlic bread. We fill our bellies to the point of bursting.

For dessert we eat…what else? Cannolis! By the end of the day, we pack the shells into boxes and divide them among the family. One day we made 700 shells.

-Michelle Guevara, Michigan

In case you’re wondering—700 cannolis would add up to 4950 cubic inches of Italian dessert, or: one giant 3.5x1 ft cannoli.