We would like to start our 100th year by expressing our sincerest gratitude to all of you: our customers, our suppliers, our colleagues past and present, our family and our friends. We could not have made it to 100 years without you. THANK YOU!
A special thank you to Nicholas Keung, from the Toronto Star, for the wonderful article he wrote about Pasquale Brothers in December. You can read it here:
It seems appropriate to start our 100th year with a note about the founder of Pasquale Brothers, my great-grandfather, Edward C. Pasquale. He was born in Abruzzo, Italy in 1897. He was an illiterate shepherd in the mountains who had never worn shoes, until he came to Canada, at age 14, with his two older brothers. His first job in Canada was rolling cigars in a cigar factory, where he met his wife, my great-grandmother, Donna.
Edward, and his older brother Panfilo, started Pasquale Brothers in 1917 with the intention of supplying fellow Italian immigrants with familiar foods.
While the brothers had little formal education, Donna had attended school in Toronto until she was 13 and took care of the book-keeping. Panfilo headed back to Italy after a few years, leaving Donna and Edward on their own to the run the business. Donna worked in the store while Edward was out calling on customers. Deliveries were made by streetcar until they could afford a car. Donna and Edward founded the Unico brand and began to manufacture their own products.
The history of Pasquale Brothers will continue to be told in our newsletters this year. We would love to hear your memories about Pasquale Brothers. You can share them with us on our Facebook page, or by emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lentils for Goodluck
Italians have traditionally eaten lentils for New Year's Day with the hopes that this would bring them good luck in the year ahead. Lentils, with their resemblance to Roman coins, were believed to represent luck and prosperity. Superstition aside, warm lentils are one of my favourite comfort foods and can be made from ingredients found in your pantry.
300g Italian lentils (or other small lentils)
3 cups stock
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
2+2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
Rinse lentils, then add them to a pot with your stock, and the crushed garlic and bay leaves. (I always have frozen homemade stock on hand, but water can easily be substituted.) Cover and cook on low heat, for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan over medium heat and sauté the onions, carrots and celery until softened. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove the garlic and bay leaves from your lentils, and drain any excess liquid. Add lentils and 1 tbsp butter to the softened vegetables, and mix together.
In a bowl, make a vinaigrette by whisking 2 tbsp olive oil with the mustard and the vinegar of your choice. (Balsamic, sherry and red wine vinegar all work well.) Off the heat, add the vinaigrette to the lentil mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy with a warm baguette.
With wishes for your health and happiness in the year ahead!
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