As I’ve described in Across the Table, food has meaning beyond nourishing our bodies. I truly believe it nourishes our spirits as well, and it’s why I take great joy in preparing a meal. Cooking for me is therapy, deep satisfaction and adventure. I hope you’ll explore this section, filled with memories as well as measurements, and discover some dishes that can become your family favorites as they are mine and Giulia’s and Rose’s and Mae’s.
Come Sit at My Table–A Special Cookbook
In much the same way that I believe it is important to gather our parents and grandparents around the table to capture their stories so that we can pass them on to the next generation, I also know how precious the food we put on the table is to our family memories. Some of my most treasured recipes are the ones passed down to me by my mother, written in her own hand. She has been gone almost fourteen years, but when I read her instructions for preparing artichoke hearts or pickled eggplant, I feel as if she is at my elbow in the kitchen.
Recipes from Dancing on Sunday Afternoons
Giulia cooked in the same way that she used her healing powers–with intensity, with passion and with generosity. Whether she was rolling out pasta dough to a paper-thin layer that would lift if you blew under it or preparing hearty meals of sausage and peppers for the working men who frequented the Palace of Dreams, cooking was was her art, her refuge and her survival.
Recipes from Across the Table
The Dante family’s restaurant in Boston’s North End is called “Paradiso,” after the third volume of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. In Paradiso, Beatrice leads Dante through the spheres of heaven. Early on, believing that she has shown him more than he can comprehend, she tells him “sedere un poco a mensa.” She wants him to sit awhile at her table and digest all that he has seen.
Throughout Across the Table, the Dantes are sustained by Rose’s belief that there is no pain that cannot be eased by a homemade meal, such as those you will find here.
Recipes from The Boat House Cafe
When Tobias Monroe first comes to the Boat House Cafe, Mae Keaney makes him a chicken sandwich; later in the summer, she concocts a wine-simmered stew for him from the rabbit he has trapped and shared with her. But it is also Mae’s pies that establish her reputation on the island. As the fishermen say, “She’s not got much to say, but bakes a damn good pie.”
Recipes from The Uneven Road
At the summer gathering of the Chappaquiddick Wampanoag, food was an important part of the celebration. Josiah, on his way to find his grandmother’s umbrella, can’t help noticing the heavily laden trestle tables.
Recipes from my family
Food feeds the soul as well as the body. Many years ago, I was traveling in southern Italy with my sister and we spent the night at a hotel in the mountains that was nearly empty, so the staff doted upon us in the dining room. They brought out the specialties of the region, and my sister and I closed our eyes and tasted the meals that had nourished us as children at the tables of our mother and grandmothers. Not the tomato-heavy dishes that most Americans associate with Italian food, but the subtle flavors of garlic and parsley mingled with artichokes, lightly breaded and sautéed chicken, broccoli rabe that had been dressed with an aromatic olive oil. That meal transported us to the oilcloth covered table under the grapevines in my grandmother’s backyard.