This is not your conventional cookbook. I wrote it from my heart, just as I cook from my heart. I wanted to demystify the science behind cooking imbedded in the process of preparing delicious, appealing dishes. “Simple” is my mantra. Sticking with fresh, seasonal produce, fresh herbs, and fewer ingredients can make everyday cooking easy and enjoyable. I encourage people to make cooking part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle and to look at cooking as life, not just nourishment.
Food has long been the fulcrum in my life. My first memory that connects me to food goes back to when I was six years old. I would spend summers with my maternal grandparents in their country house, which was just a short bicycle ride from Manduria, Puglia. It was a small, humble home built from stone, with no electricity, a rain-water cistern, a outhouse for a bathroom, and one acre of land cultivated with all kinds of veggies, fruit trees, and flowers that my parents would grow and sell at the market. I remember waking up excitedly and running to the orchard to check on how much bigger the zucchini had grown overnight. Stories like this from my life, friends, family, and travels will be sprinkled throughout this book, like seasoning over delicious, heartwarming food.
Cooking is supposed to be a relaxing, pleasant activity you pour yourself into for friends, family, and loved ones. What you choose to make and how you present it should be a reflection of you, your passion, and your love for bringing people together around the table. You should enter your kitchen like you would enter a Zen garden: with peace, purpose, and openness. Have fun, play with seasonal produce, herbs, and spices, and let your senses be stimulated by the very ingredients that nourish your body!
My friend Lou Radja, an inspiring, motivational speaker and coach, once told me, “It is selfish not to share your talent and gifts with the world.” Since then, that statement has given me the courage and the audacity to share my passions. Cooking is such a big part of my fabric, my Italian identity, and my culture that I had to share this gift.
This cookbook is not just a collection of recipes. It also contains photos, stories, and memories around food. Since an early age, I was taught to appreciate food eaten around a table with the family. Part of the reason most of Italy shuts down from about 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. is to make time for cooking and eating with your family. The essence of my cooking is simplicity, in both the ingredients and the process, so I hope I will inspire you to cook more. I envision this cookbook being on your coffee table, to inspire conversations and bring people together in your kitchen.
Anticipated printing of the book: Early March 2018.
If you would like to help me with the self-publishing and printing of this book and receive one or more signed copies, please choose the funding option that works best for you: