Family of Bakers

  • Aunt Gorgeous's Ninetieth Birthday

Aunt Gorgeous's Ninetieth Birthday


Betty Di Camillo King

My father's family always loved a party, and with eleven children they never had to wonder whom to invite! 

Di Camillo Family, Circa 1934


My grandmother, who was a skillful cook, loved cooking big, elaborate meals-- and with seven   daughters, she had quite a staff to assist. Some of my most vivid memories growing up were the family parties held at my grandmother's apartment over our old store on Fourteenth Street in Niagara Falls.

Original 14th Street Store Niagara Falls, NY, Circa 1925


These repasts were fascinating events for my brothers, cousins, and me. The preparations were days in the making.  My mother, aunts, and grandmother, were totally immersed in the cooking. My aunt Angelica and aunt Theresa were always in charge of the beautiful table preparations -linens. silver  and a fruit arrangement being de rigueur!  There were always at least two meat dishes, countless vegetables, the obligatory pasta, pounds of potatoes, and, of course, an extraordinary bread assortment.

 Grandma Di Camillo with The Pig, Circa 1960    


Thanksgiving Di Camillo 3rd Generation Children, Circa 1954



The Roasted Pig was central to our Thanksgiving celebration. This meat course evolved into our family's ultimate celebratory food expression.  As children we were fascinated by my grandmother's preparation of the pig: washing it and making it dance for us before it went into the pan.

And then the final presentation: the piglet had cherries in its eyes, and a red ripe apple in its mouth. These parties we never forgot, never could forget. With three piano-players, a mezzo-soprano, and a tenor in the family, there was always a floor-show of singing and music that preceded and followed these celebrations.  My brothers, cousins and I were amazed as our aunts and uncles became a virtual vaudeville act. Our family has always taken advantage of the fact that we had a bakery. It was, as I've mentioned in an earlier blog, practically part of my grandparents' business-plan to keep eleven children employed and fed.  From the earliest times, the bakery ovens have helped to cook many a piglet (and more!) for our family celebrations.

Aunt Gorgeous looking gorgeous at 90

Recently our Aunt Angelica, one of the original eleven of my father's sisters and brothers, celebrated her ninetieth birthday.  "Aunt Gorgeous", (as she instructed us as children to call her--and this was long before Barbara Streisand!) has worked in the bakery since she was sixteen and is, to this very day, still at her desk or in the Linwood Avenue store. Every family should have their own "Auntie Mame." We hand "Aunt Angelica" our stylish, over the top aunt, who never missed our birthday parties! With only three of the original Di Camillo eleven left.

 Angelica DI Camillo, Joe Di Camillo, Philip Alterio, Theresa Di Camillo, Katie Di Camillo Alterio, Barbara Di Camillo, Jerri Di Camillo 



My cousin Betty, spear-headed a family party to celebrate this milestone--and to give the new generations of Di Camillos a taste of a family tradition that we have always cherished-- A Di Camillo Party!

Di Camillo Family

From the very beginning of my cousin Betty's plans for Aunt Gorgeous' Birthday party, she insisted on a piglet-- as she said, "that's a Di Camillo thing!" I must admit I dragged my feet on that point, as my house was the where we were having the party!  All I could imagine was the difficulty of cooking a whole pig-a procedure that takes about seven hours!  However, as the pictures attest, the pig helped make it an unforgettable event. All the family joined in contributing at least a course or two. Thankfully, my brother, Tom, our master-baker,  who is never as happy as when he has an oven in front of him,  cooked the pig in my backyard.

The pig wound up serving sixty adults and fourteen children under the age of ten!  The party poster was a huge success. I have a wonderful studio photo of Aunt Angelica.  She was seventeen when the photo was taken. I have never been able to find a use for it in my chronicling of this family. This party offered the perfect venue.  I had it enlarged to poster size and hung it over the table.

But this was only the beginning of its use. I soon realized her head could be superimposed on a nearly life size, vintage nude portrait I have over my fireplace.


She loved it as the pictures attest!


Robin King, Angelica Di Camillo, Michael Di Camillo


Below is our menu from Aunt Gorgeous's party, which essentially amounted to a large family potluck.



Happy Birthday Aunt Gorgeous!

Di Camillo Family The Next Generation




Di Camillo Romano Pizza

Fried Zucchini Flowers

Fresh Fried Potato Chips

Asiago Cheese





Cold Fresh Corn Salad

Fresh Green Salad

Tomato and Basil Salad

Fresh Applesauce with Pear

Fresh-Cut Melon and Fruit Salad

Roasted Potatoes















Roasted Peppers and Onions

Pork Sausage

Dinner-Sized Hard Rolls

Baquette Loaves

Di Camillo Scaletta "Curly" Bread

The Roasted Pig





Di Camillo Silver Pound-Cake Petit Fours
Di Camillo Biscotti
Di Camillo Chocolate Decorated Marshmellows
Di Camillo German Chocolate Cake


Comments on this post (10)

  • Nov 08, 2013

    Happy Birthday from all the DelZoppos!!

    — John DelZoppo

  • Oct 31, 2013

    My husband Ralph moves to Syracuse, NY 6 1/2 years ago and we still come back for bread and donuts. I miss having DiCamillo’s as my corner “store bakery”. And I loved seeing the pictures of your family. Aunt Gorgeous is still beautiful, and We miss Amel’s wonderful smile and he was so happy to see the kids from St.Joseph’s school. We are so lucky and blessed to have such beautiful memories. Thank you for this great update.

    — Carmela Lipari Manzare

  • Oct 30, 2013

    What wonderful pictures of what appears to be a wonderful family. Thank you for sharing these, even the ones with the pig

    — !!!MARY ANN

  • Oct 28, 2013

    Di Camillos has been an important part of the Spendio family for many years. I can still remember late sunday nights watching Ed Sullivan at my grandparents eating sandwiches on DiCamillo bread Sauce would not be the same without your bread to dip in it and your bread makes the best toast by far.. Hope you are around for many more generations.

    — rita majka

  • Oct 17, 2013

    I absolutely loved looking at and reading about Angelica’s 90th! She looks fabulous (& gorgeous)! Everyone looks great! All my love your way. Thanks so much for sharing. XOXOXOXOXOXOX

    — Darlene Lunt (Capizzi)

  • Sep 26, 2013

    I loved reading your blog, seeing the video and photos. I have lots of memories of parties at Tom and Beth’s home. Please make sure you mention me to them. Which one of you is writing the blog? What a great family!

    — Rosalee Leo Bedian

  • Sep 26, 2013

    From Mexico: Just looking at the pictures we became VERY hungry!!! and jealous!

    Lovely family! Congrats to Robin, now we know where her “folkloric” outfits and personality comes from!!


    — Gis Méndez

  • Sep 26, 2013

    I have such wonderful childhood memories of Gorgeous Ange. I would go to work with my dad and hang out on 20th Street in the office and “help” Ange on the adding machine. Both my parents adored her. She was my mom’s best friend. We loved it when she would come by the house with some delish goodies for coffee (“just half a cup!”). I really felt we were all family. So many good times with the DiCamillos. I’ve know you all my life, and have been inriched by the friendship and the really yummy goodies. Joe and I wish you all the best wishes there are. Much love…Jim (little Enos)

    — Jim Enos

  • Sep 26, 2013

    It was wonderful to see a recent picture of you and get glimpses of your house. The parties you held on Mayfair Lane were so special when Jack and I were living there. He died some years ago but at 91 I am living in Oregon with my son Pieter. I am a volunteer at a nearby school helping 1st graders learn to read. Life is good!

    — Clarice Lechner-Hyman

  • Sep 25, 2013

    It looks like the most special day a person could ever have.You are such a great family and it was a pleasure to know all of you.

    — Roberta Burke

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