I come from a big Italian family. Abruzzo is our region, and I love Italy, its people, food, language, literature and history. As a kid I remember delighting in everything my mom, grandmothers and aunts made; some of my fondest memories are of time in the kitchen with them. The kitchen, you see, was the heart of our home, as in most Italian families. We did not just cook and eat there. If you had something important to say, some vital information to share, news of a wedding, some gossip, or some trouble to report, you did it in the kitchen. It was “Come in the kitchen. Let’s talk.”
My mom was famous in our neighborhood as the Queen of Cool – she let us cook anything we wanted. So we made ravioli, pasta and cakes, pulled taffy, fried arancini, bomboloni, zeppole and french fries and generally had a ball. We had to clean it up, but we loved every minute. And in our neighborhood, the Best Mom In the Kitchen Award went to Jackie’s mom, Mrs. S. She was the Py-O-My brownie mom, and we were the Py-O-My generation. Oh my, but they were good. Ask any kid from North Bowling Green Way what they remember about Jackie’s house, and the answer will be Py-O-My brownies. We’d often go there after school and implore Mrs. S. to make brownies. She obliged with a big smile. And we gobbled them up. Thanks, Mrs. S.
As a teenager my kitchen exploits turned to whole wheat bread and granola, and finally after many hours in the kitchen I discovered Julia Child. After that I never looked back. I have many wonderful teachers to thank – among them Kristine Kidd, Gerri Gilliland, Carolyn Thacker, Cecilia DeCastro and the pastry faculty at Johnson & Wales.
But after all the cooking school and cookbooks I returned to cooking almost exclusively Italian. And looking at what I learned in culinary school and in my reading, I marvel that in a way, I had already learned most of it, at home through the loving and patient hands of the finest teachers of all, the older members of my family. That transfer of knowledge across the generations is what keeps a cuisine alive. I hope I can continue the tradition through the articles I post here on my site.
Today you can always find me in my kitchen where I cook almost exclusively Italian or in my garden where I grow mostly Italian fruits and vegetables. I particularly enjoy exploring the panoply of Italy’s regional handmade pastas as I produce content for AdriBarrCrocetti.com. My work has been featured in the Food section of the Los Angeles Times and on sites such as Live Like an Italian, Foodista, Cooking with Nonna, and Food Lover’s Odyssey. I contribute to Davidson’s Safest Choice Eggs, and Tasty Kitchen. My photography appears on Tastespotting, Food Gawker, Liqurious, Savory Sights and other photography forums. And I contribute a bi-weekly column for L’Italo-Americano, an Italian-American newspaper with national circulation.
To all my friends, family and teachers, thank you. You have made me what I am today. And to my readers I say Benvenuto! Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoy what you find here. Please visit often.
Unless explicitly stated I have no affiliation with any product manufacturer mentioned on this site.