Food has always been an important part of our family and our history, which is probably why it shows up so much in my writing. The characters in my A Family Affair books have cooked several of my family recipes and I thought it fitting to publish them as a cookbook from their hometown, Magdalena, NY. You'll also see a few recipes from the mother in Simple Riches (That Second Chance series), and yes, she may resemble my own mother with her wisdom as well as her culinary expertise. Of course, pastas are among the twelve recipes included, but there are also meat and vegetable dishes. And would any meal ever be complete without a selection from the breads and desserts.
• STELLA ANDROVICH’S PASTA & BROCCOLI
• HARRY BLACKSWORTH’S PENNE PASTA WITH SPINACH
• RAMONA CASHERDON’S LASAGNA
• JEREMY ROSS DEAN’S AGLIO Y OLIO
• MIRIAM DESANTRO’S MEATBALLS
• STELLA ANDROVICH’S STUFFED CABBAGE
• STELLA ANDROVICH’S ZUCCHINI & PEPPERS
• LUCINDA’S MINESTRONE
• GINA REED’S LENTIL SOUP
• MIRIAM DESANTRO’S BANANA BREAD
• POP BENITO’S VANILLA PIZZELLES
• RAMONA CASHERDON’S PUMPKIN-PECAN CAKE ROLL
My grandma never quite trusted dishes like lasagna, ravioli, or gnocchi. She liked her pasta without the extras of cheese and potato. I’m not sure what she would say about Harry Blacksworth’s Penne pasta with spinach and garbanzos. One of my very favorite dishes is Pasta and Broccoli, perhaps because it was the last dish my Aunt Marie made us, but I think it is also because it is representative of food we enjoyed as kids. (We ate calamari too; cleaned it, removed the insides, got all itchy from the inky water!)
My mother is the one who makes a great lasagna, ravioli, and pretty much every dish I’ve included in the cookbook. I have never seen anyone whip up a pumpkin roll like she can or make a pie crust as though it were second nature. Practice, she says. But she should know that practice means I will eat those pies...and not just one piece!
Mom is in so many of the “cooks” I write about in my stories; Stella Androvich, Miriam Desantro, Ramona Casherdon. And let me tell you, that Banana bread recipe is delicious! I do hope you enjoy these recipes and maybe they’ll make you think of your own family history of meals and the memories that accompanied them.