Cooking with My Sisters: One Hundred Years of Family Recipes, from Bari to Big Stone Gap

Cooking with My Sisters: One Hundred Years of Family Recipes, from Bari to Big Stone Gap

by Adriana Trigiani, Mary Yolanda Trigiani
     
 

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For the Trigianis, cooking has always been a family affair–and the kitchen was the bustling center of their home, where folks gathered around the table for good food, good conversation, and the occasional eruption. Example: Being thrown out of the kitchen because one’s Easter bread kneading technique isn’t up to par. As Adriana says:

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Overview

For the Trigianis, cooking has always been a family affair–and the kitchen was the bustling center of their home, where folks gathered around the table for good food, good conversation, and the occasional eruption. Example: Being thrown out of the kitchen because one’s Easter bread kneading technique isn’t up to par. As Adriana says: “When the Trigianis reach out and touch someone, we do it with food.” Like the recipes that have been handed down for generations from mother to daughter and grandmother to granddaughter, the family’s celebrations are also anchored to the life and laughter around the table. We learn how Grandmom Yolanda Trigiani sometimes wrote her recipes in code, or worked from memory, guarding her recipes carefully. And we meet Grandma Lucia Bonicelli, who never raised her voice and believed that when people fight at the dinner table, the food turns to poison in the body.

Adriana Trigiani’s voice springs to life from the first page of Cooking with My Sisters, a collection of beloved family recipes that the Trigianis have been enjoying for generations. But there’s much more here than just the food. Peppered with hilarious family anecdotes, poignant letters, and exquisite color photographs, Cooking with My Sisters draws us into the warm and witty world of the Trigiani clan. Each recipe has a story behind it, and each chapter has tips from different sisters, reflecting the unique personalities of the latest generation of Trigiani women.

Here are mainstay meals, featured in sections such as “The Big Life” and “The Big Wow,” which include the chapters “Pasta, or as We Called It, Maccheroni” and “Food We Hated as Kids but Love to Serve Now.” Accessible to any cook, the recipes range from Chicken and Polenta, Zizi Mary’s Rice Soup, and Gnocchi to favorite desserts like Grandmom’s Buttermilk Cake–and all the delectable dishes are geared toward bringing your family together.

Written with Adriana Trigiani’s trademark humor and verve, this wonderful book will appeal to anyone who values the bonds that food, community, and cultural tradition can provide.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Cooking with My Sisters is the best Italian cookbook ever written by women from the American south. Adriana Trigiani and her sisters had the genius to unite a Southern sensibility with Italian cooking, and the stories of the Trigiani family alone are worth the price of admission.”
–PAT CONROY

Publishers Weekly
Trigiani, author of the Big Stone Gap trilogy, Queen of the Big Time (Forecasts, July 12) and other novels, offers a scrapbook of homey recipes and reminiscences. While it'll undoubtedly please her family, friends and biggest fans, readers outside that circle may tire of endless photographs of Trigiani family parties and tales of mothers who wanted their children to eat plenty of greens and grandmothers who were loath to share recipes. There are many parallels between the author's family and her fictional characters, and the anecdotes Trigiani shares sometimes resemble incidents from her books. Handwritten notes from Trigiani's grandmother ("Congratulations on your engagement.... the Prince of Wales wouldn't be good enough for my granddaughters") and memories of Trigiani's mother's "warm, inviting, creative" kitchen are sweet, but hardly compelling or unusual. Similarly, the recipes--contributed by Trigiani and her sisters--are for well-worn (if delicious) Italian classics: Gnocchi, Basic Tomato Sauce, Meatballs, Sausage and Peppers, Braciole, Trigiani Lasagne with Meat and Cheese, and Mom's Stuffed Peppers. Authentic, yes. Interesting? It depends. Beginning cooks stand to gain the most from this collection, but those already familiar with standard Italian-American fare won't find much of interest, making this a "for fans only" cookbook. Photos. Agent, William Morris. (On sale Oct. 5) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In this pleasant memoir/cookbook, novelist Trigiani (Big Stone Gap) and her mother and sisters share childhood stories, memories of grandparents and parents, and family recipes. Their remembrances of past events, people, and favorite meals are sprinkled with humorous comments and cooking hints from one or another of the authors, adding to the casual, conversational tone. Food was central to Trigiani family life and a primary reason their Italian heritage was preserved through three generations in America. The recipes include pastas, main courses, desserts, and snacks; most are easy and straightforward perfect to pass from generation to generation. Unlike Maya Angelou's recent Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes, this volume does not establish an elegant, introspective connection between pivotal life events and memorable dishes. However, Trigiani's readers will enjoy it, as will others looking for lighthearted fare. Suitable for larger public libraries. Andrea R. Dietze, Orange Cty. P.L., Santa Ana, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812974829
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/11/2005
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 7.36(h) x 0.43(d)

Read an Excerpt

My four sisters and I love to read and we love to entertain. This book shares the Trigiani family treasure that inspires both passions: the recipes that were handed down to us and the stories that have sustained and enriched us. Like many other women of our generation, we learned to cook by watching our mothers and our grandmothers who tapped the ancient roots of three Italian regions while adapting their recipes using American innovation and ingredients. Recipes and techniques were to be shared among us, but never outside the family-–until now. Cooking with My Sisters brings you into our family kitchen. Here are our recipes and our stories. Buon appetito!
–From the Introduction by Adriana Trigiani

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