Ask The mona LIsa

Buon giorno signore e signori!  I amma Lisa Antoniomaria Gherardini del Giocondo, butta better known assa Mia Donna Lisa, or, iffa you like, Mona Lisa.  SI!  THATTA Mona Lisa.  Issa my mission inna life to makea sure your mamma she feed you enough, to make-a sure the bambinos are alla cared for, anna to make-a sure thatta your pantalones are-a fastened, thatta there issa nothing inna bwtween your teeth, anna that there issa no lint onna your clothes.  Iffa I see it, Imma fix it; I cannotta help it.  Witha all that I do, sometimes people, they come-a to me for the advice, and Imma too happy to help.  I needa to share witha you some-a very anna timely queries.  Imma hope they help-a you.  Grazie and ciao amici!

Lisa del G

Dear Mona: 

Last year at the Renaissance Festival I happened to see my boyfriend with some chick in a low-cut blouse, waist cincher corset-thing, hiked up skirt, thigh boots, and not a lot else.  He said she was a friend he had known before but his face was covered in lipstick kiss-marks.  She ran away as soon as she saw me, but I could see that she had money stuffed down her shirt. I was really, really mad.

So my question is, how do I find out what lipstick that was?



Mia Donna Boyfriendless,

Cara mia, Imma tell you, do notta be sorry thatta you figured out thatta hessa no buono for you.  Whassa matter for him?!  Itta happens and we learn anna move on anna have-a better time later.  Now, here’sa what Imma say aboutta the lipsticka; iffa you have a good idea aboutta the color, anna you remember itta well, because-a Imma sure you do, thenna depending onna your budget anna how mucha lira you wanna spend, getta to either the Casa di Sephora or the Casa della Walgreen’s, anna tell those-a belle donne what shade category thatta you want; prugna, rosa, rossa (theesa two are notta the same thing), russet, brown, mauve, vino…  they are-a so smart anna they will-a help-a you out.  Anna who knows, you might-a even a-run into the bimbina fromma the Renaissance Faire!  Mio Dio!  That would be fantastico!  Good luck and andare con Dio.  Per fevori, let me know how itta goes.

Tutto il mio amore

Mona Lisa

Dear Mona:

Last year I went to the Faire and saw a fortune teller.  She charged me $25 and told me I’d have a great job and a new love life inside of six month.  So I broke up with my girlfriend and quit my job so I’d be ready.  I didn’t get either one.  How do I get my money back?



Caro Mio, BIMBA!

First anna foremost, you are-a gonna go anna find your momma, and you are-a gonna fall down onna your knees anna tell her thatta you are-a sooooo sorry for a being so estupido anna you are-a gonna thank-a your momma for all offa the things she does-a for you, anna you are-a gonna beg-a her to forgive you.  Imma ask you, whassa matter for you?  Your momma she no bring-a you uppa right?  Si?  Thassa what I thought.  She know you are a better thanna to fall for thatta baloney.  Mio Dio!  Thissa how you getta your lira back:  you are-a gonna work it off anna treat your momma like-a the queen she is because-a after going through-a thirty hours offa labor with-a you, she deserve it!  You are-a gonna clean-a the casa, wash-a the car, washa the clothes, anna make-a the meals!  THEN, you are gonna give-a your momma the nicest gift, the biggest kiss onna the cheek, you are gonna buy her all offa the flowers.  Your momma, she love-a you and she want only the best for her dolce bambino.  So dossa Lisa. Ciao salvo!

Tutto il mio amore

Lisa delG

Dear Mona:

How do I make cheesecake on a stick for the months when Faire is closed?


Big BIG Momma

Cara Mamma Grande:

Lisa, she know-a exactly whatta to do. The torta di fromaggio, issa great thing!

1.  Prima, your cow, she hassa to be milked, anna get about a one anna half gallons for thissa thing.

2.  For the crema di formaggio, or the cream cheese, un quarto di latte issa right.  Anna make-a sure issa the whole fat kind.  Fat issa the food language of amore.  You also needa the vinegar, about a 2 to 3 tablespoons.  Thenna the salt, anna only one halffa teaspoon.  Inna the heavy pot, heata the milk onna medium high and you hadda better make-a sure you stir it because a milk, she burns quickly, anna there issa not much worse thanna burnt milk.  Issa gross.  When issa start to simmer, turna down the heat to the medium.  Add justa one tablespoon offa the vinegar and you hadda better stir it or you ruin the whole thing!  Give it about a minute, thenna add another.  Stir for another minute, thenna add another.  Whenna you see that it issa starting to curdle keepa the stirring until the curdles are alla thick onna top.  Thissa may sound gross, butta there will be the green liquid onna the bottom.  Pour alla this over the cheesecloth into another bowl anna letta itta strain for abouta 15 minutes.  Then putta the curds inna another bowl anna whip it up until issa creamy.  Maybe a pinch offa the salt for somma flavor anna you are buono to go.

3.  Next, see a man aboutta some sugar anna hope he make a you an offer you canna refuse.  You are a gonna need una tazza di zucchero (thassa one cuppa).

4.  Thenna the panna acida, or the sour cream. You are a gonna needa the una tazza ( the one cup).  To make-a the sour cream, you are a gonna take a the one cup offa heavy cream (you shoulda have a because a the cow, she wassa supposed to be milked), 2 teaspoons offa the lemon juice, anna the un quarto di tazza di latte (thassa four cups offa the milk).  Pour into a jar together the cream anna the lemon juice, THEN pour the milk.  Iffa you do not a do it thissa way, you messa the whole thing up!  Screw thatta lid onna tight and shake it up.  Take offa the lid, put a thin towel over the opening and tie it onna tight.  Issa gonna sit out onna the counter over the notte anna after the 24 hours she shoulda be ready.  You needa one cuppa offa the sour cream for the cake.

5.  Next for the vanilla, Imma hope you are-a good friends witha the spice merchant since thissa difficult to come by anna issa not cheap.  Un cucchiaino (one teaspoon) issa what’sa needed.

6.  Checka the chicken anna getta three eggs, and thanka your chicken.  She work hard to lay those a eggs.

7.  You mixa all these inna order anna atta the room temperature, and you notta over mix, or you messa the whole thing up!

8.  Crush uppa the graham crackers inna the round pan to make a the crust.

9.  Heatta the oven to the 350.  The rack she goes inna the lower portion offa the oven.  The cheesecake pan, she goes inna to a large roasting pan, anna issa filled with a the boiling water.  Bake a the torta for the 55-70 minutes or until the center shessa almost set. When shessa done, shessa gonna wobble inna the center jussa teensy little a bit. Turn offa the oven anna open the door slightly. Justa letta the torta sit there, inna the water while she cools down.  Thissa shoulda take about a one hour.  You canna cool thissa inna the icebox.  

10.  Cutta some sticks fromma the large tree inna the garden, aboutta 8 inches long.  Cutta up the torta into wedges, insert the stick innato the torta anna VOILA!  Torta di Fromaggio onna the stick!

Lisa, she know thissa a lotta work, butta your kitchen staff shoulda have this done for you innna no time atta all!

Grazi, Cara Mamma Grande

Tutto il mi amore, Lisa del G


Mia Donna Lisa, shessa here to answer any queries you have about the life, the bambinos, the cooking, the art, the husbands, the etiquette, whatever!  Send inna your queries to, anna put my name, Mona Lisa, in the subject line. Grazie miei amori! 

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A writer and storyteller by trade, throughout the course of my career, I have led with curiosity. Much like Alice, I love the opportunity to ask questions and look at situations through different lenses. It’s a great way to find unexpected solutions or new ideas.

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