Thursday, July 31, 2008, 9:12 PM // 0 comments

2008 Altobelli Family Vacation

ocean city,md


Monday, July 28, 2008, 9:21 PM // 3 comments

Little Gram's Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

the greatest of all cookies

I love cookies. I love everything about cookies. I love the shape and the smell and the taste of cookies. I’ve eaten all kinds of cookies - store bought cookies, Christmas cookies, really BIG cookies, and cookies I baked myself. None, however, can compare to my Little Gram’s Chocolate Chip Cookies – the greatest of all cookies.

These cookies are made with chocolate chips, crushed peanuts, brown sugar, shortening, flour, baking soda, and four eggs. All these ingredients are mixed together, molded into about 60 raw cookies, and baked at 400 degrees for thirteen minutes. Believe it or not, this simple formula makes the perfect chocolate chip cookie. They’re practically a food group.

To properly eat this circular blob of perfection, I perform the “Ritual of the Perfect Cookie.” First, I get a large glass of milk. Then, I take the red, slightly dented cookie-filled tin and slowly remove the lid. Inside lay the precious delights. I look for the best one to eat first; its about an inch in diameter and speckled with chocolate chips and peanut chunks. Smiling, I baptize it in the milk and swallow it whole. I eventually consume as many as my mortal body can hold. This is my ritual for eating my Little Gram’s Chocolate Chip Cookies.

When I am eating her cookies I taste sensations that I never dreamed possible. Waves of deliciousness orally enter me, spreading rapidly through my body, and I experience a burst of energy unknown to most humans. I feel as if I have a perfect body, perfect vision, and even perfect spelling. I am mentally and physically a better person, at one with the world. And that is after only one cookie!

It sounds as if I am exaggerating, and maybe I am…just a little, but my Little Gram’s are the best darn cookie I’ve ever eaten. One ingredient of the cookie I failed to mention is also the most important: love. My great grandma’s love gives the cookies shape, taste, character, and that’s why Little Gram’s Chocolate Chip Cookies – are the greatest of all cookies.

Little Gram’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
4 eggs
1 lb of flour
½ lb of brown sugar
1 cup of chopped peanuts
6 oz. of chocolate chips
½ of shortening
¼ tsp of baking soda
¼ tsp of baking powder

Beat shortening then add sugar. When light and fluffy, add eggs. When fluffy add flour and beat. When it gets too heavy for beater add flour by hand. Add nuts and chips. Bake at 14 minutes at 375 or 13 minutes at 400 according to which is best for your stove. Makes approx 60 cookies.

great chocolate chip cookie recipe
best chocolate chip cookie recipe

Click here to download / print this chocolate chip cookie recipe.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008, 10:37 AM // 0 comments

In Loving Memory

Mary Ferrante

Mary C. Ferrante mass cardMary C. Ferrante
December 8, 1902 - July 14, 2008
(click image to enlarge


Friday, July 18, 2008, 5:52 PM // 6 comments

Little Gram - 105 Years of Memories

Mary Ferrante 1902 - 2008

Created by Little Gram's great-grandson, Stephen Altobello.
Click here to see a higher quality version.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008, 7:38 PM // 4 comments

Beloved Matriarch Mary Ferrante, 105

Little Gram's obituary

Mary (Taormina) Ferrante, a beloved matriarch whose perseverance, piety, generosity and sheer goodness inspired all who met her, died on Monday, July 14, at the home of her granddaughter, surrounded by her family. She was 105.

Maria Concetta Ferrante was born on December 8, 1902, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, in Sicily, the fifth of six children of Francesco and Giuseppa Taormina. The family lived in Sicily until she was seven years old, when they sailed from Palermo to Ellis Island, New York.

The Taormina’s settled in Youngstown, OH, where Mary enjoyed an idyllic childhood. At her brother Andrew’s wedding in Philadelphia, 16 year-old Mary traded youthful bliss for joy of another kind when she met a handsome soldier named Frank Ferrante – the bride’s brother. Soon, the bride’s brother and the groom’s sister became husband and wife themselves. Their first child, Angelina Nora (Angie), was born in 1920, followed quickly by Josephine Ann (Jo Ann); Rose, who tragically only lived 2 years; James William (Jimmy) who passed away in 2007; and her fifth child, Frank Joseph, born when Mary was just 23 years old.

Frank, Sr., was an underemployed carpenter; so Mary found work as a seamstress, sometimes holding two jobs. It wasn’t until their four surviving children had grown up and moved out that they bought a bungalow in Pennsauken, and began fixing up their dream home. But their empty-nest happiness was short-lived. In 1946, Frank died of a broken neck after a fall, leaving Mary a widow at 44. Left with almost no money, Mary went to work again, this time in the alteration departments of Philadelphia clothing stores. Later, she found work closer to home at Strawbridge and Clothier in Cherry Hill and continued to work until she finally retired at age 80. By then, she had moved from Pennsauken to Sicklerville, where she lived by herself, proudly making and washing her clothes, cooking, baking homemade bread and cleaning, until she was well past 100.

In addition to her indefatigable work ethic, Mary was known for her deep faith in God and in the Catholic Church. Until she was no longer physically able, she attended Mass regularly but was neither maudlin nor zealous in her beliefs. She simply believed.

Mary Ferrante is survived by three of her five children: Angelina Lorren, Jo Ann Endner, and Frank Ferrante, six of her eight grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and 23 great-great-grandchildren. She will be greatly missed.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend her viewing Thursday eve 7:00 – 9:00pm at the Egizi Funeral Home, 119 Ganttown Rd., Washington Twp. Funeral Mass Friday 10:00am at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 642 Market Street, Camden. Interment Holy Cross Cemetery, Yeadon, PA.

Mary's 8th Grade Graduation Class.
Mary is sitting next to the teacher on the left.

Brother Andrew's wedding.
Mary is sitting next to the bride.
Her husband to be is standing her.

Mary with her husband Frank.

Mama with her four children - Angie, Jo Ann, Frankie, and Jimmy.

Grandma with five of her grandchildren,
Claudia, Pauline, Stanley, Johnny, and baby Janis.

Little Gram with one of her 22 great-grandchildren, Leah.

View / Print Frank and Mary's decedent chart - La Familiga Ferrante


Monday, July 14, 2008, 9:55 PM // 3 comments

Rest in Peace Little Gram

My Last Conversation with Little Gram

Little Gram died today. A few days ago she fell and broke her hip. We all agreed that surgery was out of the question so she left the hospital and went to my mother's home to die. Today, while sleeping and resting comfortably, she simply stopped breathing. She was surrounded by her daughters and my mother and some of her other grand children. In what may be the first of a many posts about a remarkable woman I'd like to share a story about my last conversation with Little Gram.

The last time I spent any real time with Little Gram was two weeks ago. My boys and I went to my mother's home for lunch. As soon as we arrived I made my way out to the deck to sit with Little Gram and Big Gram.

Whenever I saw Little she'd always ask about Lisa and my family. Then she'd ask about my job and what I did for a living. I told her about my recent trips to India and Seattle and she asked about how I liked to travel.

After talking about the ups and downs of business travel I told Little about some recent family tree research I uncovered. I told her that I discovered that at one time she and her family lived in New York City. She immediately recalled that her older brother Felix was living with a friend named Lawrence Maletta and his wealthy family. This family lived in Brooklyn and "their house was beautiful." Even more impressive was the fact that this house had indoor bathrooms. Little Gram told us that this was the first time she ever saw a toilet in a home. The year was 1909 and Little Gram was 7.

I asked what led to her arrival to the States. Little told us about her father, Francesco (Frank). I learned her father was a tree surgeon in Sicily and that he worked for a Prince. Frank took care of all the trees in the olive grove. The prince became ill and died and Little's father took care of a lot of the estate chores for the Princess including cooking. She said that many of the recipes handed down over the years were learned during the time her father worked for the princess. Now, the princess was a gambler and one day she lost the estate and Little's father was out of a job. It was soon after this that Little and her father made their way to the United States to meet up with her older brothers Felix and Andrew.

It was at this time that we went into the kitchen to have lunch. On the menu that lovely Sunday was one of my all time favorite Little Gram meals - potatoes and eggs. When I was in college I had a few semesters when I would visit Little Gram in between classes. She'd always make me potatoes and eggs. It's a simple dish - potatoes and eggs fried together with olive oil. Just typing about it is making my mouth water. I'm so glad that my last meal with Little was this dish.

When it was time to go I noticed that Little asked my mother to fetch her purse. Little pulled out some money and handed Michael and Joey $5 each. "Go and buy yourselves a funny book." With that I thanked her and gave her a big hug and told her I loved her. She kissed me and said I love you too.

That was my last conversation with Little Gram.

1967 - Celebrating birthdays 65 and 2.

1989 - Celebrating birthdays 87 and 24.

2005 - Celebrating birthdays 103 and 40 and Joey's birth.


Monday, July 07, 2008, 9:18 PM // 1 comments

Garden Glass Windows by Lynn Gillis

Garden Glass Windows can be appreciated all year round in all types of indoor and outdoor settings. They are beautiful inside, in front of a window or even on a wall. You can also display these windows outside where they are able to withstand the most extreme conditions. If you have a moment please visit my friend Lynn's website - - and check out her art.

Lynn Gillis - Garden Glass Windows

Listen / Download:
Nick Lowe - I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass
Blondie - Heart of Glass

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Sunday, July 06, 2008, 7:06 PM // 0 comments

Pearl Jam: June 19 & 20, 2008

Susquehanna Bank Center, Camden, NJ

Last month I had the pleasure to see Pearl Jam two nights in a row - June 19 and 20 at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ.

The first night I went with my brother-in-law, Kenny. I was able to secure tickets through Ten Club - "the greatest fan club on earth dedicated to the greatest fans on earth." Combine the set-list, incredible weather, decent seats, and a cool buzz and you have what may have been the best Pearl Jam shows I ever saw.

Ten years ago (8/28/98) I saw Pearl Jam for the first time with Steve, Ed, Mike, Sean, and Greg. For my second Pearl Jam show in two nights I saw the band again with the same guys. Although I enjoyed myself, I don't think this show was as good as night before. You see Pearl Jam does a different show every night and they try to combine a nice blend of "the hits" with tertiary album cuts and obscure b-sides for the die hards. Some nights they may lean one way more than another. The first show had more hits and the second show did not. Be that as it may - we still enjoyed ourselves and there is no doubt in my mind that we'll be seeing Pearl Jam ten years from now.

Here's some photos from the June 20th show.

Pearl Jam - June 20, 2008 - paul altobelli
Pearl Jam - June 20, 2008 - paul altobelli
Pearl Jam - June 20, 2008 - paul altobelli
Pearl Jam - June 20, 2008 - paul altobelli
Pearl Jam - June 19, 2008 - paul altobelli
Pearl Jam - June 20, 2008 - paul altobelli
Paul Altobelli

Listen / Download:
Pearl Jam - Severed Hand (6/19/2008)
Pearl Jam - Love Reign O'er Me (6/19/2008)
Pearl Jam - Animal (6/20/2008)
Pearl Jam - Daughter (6/20/2008)

Also visit to read about my past Pearl Jam shows.

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About Paul Altobelli

Paul Altobelli is a veteran Internet, marketing and technology professional with considerable expertise in search engine marketing, web site development, design, implementation and project management. [more]

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