Jill Biden might not be a full blooded Italian descendant, but there are many Italian-Americans who are only half Italian yet still identify themselves as "Italian" when asked.
For instance, I'm a first generation Italian-American with both of my parents being Italian, but my wife has an Italian father and Polish mother. The interesting thing is, she has never really identified as Polish-American since most of her cultural influences growing up were from the Italian side of her family. Even late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel (originally Kummel, from his German paternal grandfather), thinks of himself as Italian-American, since the great family influences were from the Neapolitan side of his mother's family.
There has been recent talk of Jill Biden having Italian roots, but I wonder how she identifies herself when asked about her heritage. I'm certain, for politically correct reasons, her answer to journalists would be, "I'm American". Still, in my experience, having even a tiny bit of Italian blood running through someone's veins is enough for anyone to proudly embrace their Italian roots. Who wouldn't want to be Italian?
Jill Tracy Jacobs Biden is half Italian. Her grandfather, Domenico Giacoppo emigrated from the small Sicilian village of Gesso, escaping the poverty and chaos created by recent earthquakes in the region of Messina. He later changed his name, in an attempt to Americanize it, to Jacobs.
Jill's father, Donald Carl Jacobs (1927–1999), was a U.S. Navy signalman during World War II, who afterwards used the G.I. Bill to attend business school, eventually becoming head of a savings and loan institution in Philadelphia. Her mother, Bonny Jean Godfrey Jacobs (1930–2008), was homemaker of English and Scottish descent.
One of Biden's distant Sicilian cousins, Caterina Giacoppo offered an invitation that has gotten a lot of press lately... “Jill, I’m here, my house is open for you, as is our entire Sicilian village of Gesso where your grandfather came from. Please do come visit us next time you travel to Italy.” Gesso is a tiny, close-knit community with only 600 inhabitants in the province of Messina.
She went on, "I would be very happy if Jill came here ... I would like to meet her. We are ready to have a nice party all over the commune. If you come, I'll cook you baked pasta, roasted braciolettine arrostite and other local delicacies such as eggplant parmigiana, pasta alla 'ncasciata and cannoli filled with fresh goat ricotta, which is one of my specialties"
Flavors of Gesso, Sicily
Pasta alla 'Ncasciata is the local, Messinese version of baked pasta
with eggplant and caciocavallo cheese.
Braciolettine Arrostite is from the Arabo-Sicula cuisine, a mix of Arab and Sicilian flavors. Similar to beef brasciole, it's charcoal grilled with a stuffing of currants,
pine nuts and pecorino cheese.
Will we be seeing pasta and pizza nights at the White House soon? Only time will tell, but as far as we're concerned, Joe Biden is more than just an Irish-Catholic... he's Italian by sheer association! The evidence is clear since his go-to menu for many past fund-raising dinners includes a caprese salad, angel hair pasta pomodoro, raspberry sorbet, and biscotti.
Good luck to them both!