A little bit about myself … My parents raised me with a strong sense of my heritage and its traditions, and not surprisingly, food played an integral part of my cultural experiences. My favorite brown-bag lunch, Nutella (back when it was still only available in Italian specialty food shops) on yellow-hued semolina bread, was banned by a teacher who criticized my mother for sending me with chocolate cake for lunch. (That same teacher chastised me when I included the pairing, “and” and “end” in my homework list of homonyms. Although I had pleaded with my charmingly-accented mother that the two words did indeed sound different, I finally caved and added them to the list so as not to offend her.) When I went away to college, my entire dormitory eagerly anticipated my parents’ visits for with them arrived trays of “pasta al forno,” “melanzane alls parmigiana “ and “polpette.” (A roommate who hailed from Mississippi recently confessed that she snuck into the freezer and finished off the last of my mom’s “arancini” while everyone was sleeping.) My fascination with Italian cuisine started to evolve beyond my parents’ own regional specialties when I studied abroad in the lovely art city of Perugia and then again in Firenze during college and law school.
I began a career as a corporate and securities lawyer at a large NYC firm and unfortunately, knew from the get-go that I wasn’t in the right profession. Never one to quit, though, I hung on for nearly 10 years. At the same time, I began to seek inspiration and a creative outlet in the kitchen. I immersed myself in Italian cookbooks and culinary history and during our trips to Italy, while my husband, Michael, an amateur Renaissance historian and fellow Italophile, led me to off-the-beaten-path churches, I guided him to every obscure trattoria, pasticceria, gelateria, salumeria, cornetteria, etc., etc, etc. I stopped practicing law to stay home with my children in 2008 and aspired to one day create a new career that channels my love of food and Italy. Last spring, I had a now-or-never moment and launched my catering business, which specializes in regional Italian food, as opposed to the more widely-known Italian-American standards. The dishes I prepare span the entire Italian peninsula — from Sicilian “caponata” to “maccheroni alla chitarra” from Abruzzo to “gubana” from Friuli. I have also rediscovered my love of writing and will share recipes and cooking tips as well as stories and photos about my Italian childhood, travels in Italy and regional Italian gastronomy and customs. I hope you’ll join me on a culinary journey to the most awe-inspiring country in the world. A presto!