Crazy in the Kitchen: Food, Feuds, and Forgiveness in an Italian American Family

Overview

With this stunning memoir of growing up in Italian-American New Jersey, Louise DeSalvo proves that your family's past is baked right into the bread you eat.

In Louise DeSalvo's family, in 1950s New Jersey, the kitchen becomes the site for fierce generational battle. As Louise's step-grandmother stubbornly recreates the domestic habits of her Southern Italian peasant upbringing, she clashes painfully with Louise's convenience-food-loving mother, who is set on total ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (28) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $4.94   
  • Used (25) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$4.94
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(325)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
2004 Hardcover Brand New. 100% Money Back Guarantee! Ships within 1 business day, includes tracking. Carefully packed. Successful business for 25 Years!

Ships from: Darby, PA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$34.44
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(257)

Condition: New
Brand New Item.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$45.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(136)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Crazy in the Kitchen: Food, Feuds, and Forgiveness in an Italian American Family

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 12%)$11.99 List Price
Sending request ...

Overview

With this stunning memoir of growing up in Italian-American New Jersey, Louise DeSalvo proves that your family's past is baked right into the bread you eat.

In Louise DeSalvo's family, in 1950s New Jersey, the kitchen becomes the site for fierce generational battle. As Louise's step-grandmother stubbornly recreates the domestic habits of her Southern Italian peasant upbringing, she clashes painfully with Louise's convenience-food-loving mother, who is set on total Americanization. Louise, meanwhile, dreams of the day when in her own kitchen she'll produce perfect fresh pasta or pan-seared pork chops with fennel. But as Louise grows up to indulge in the kind of amazing food her impoverished ancestors could never have imagined and travels to Italy herself, her adult discoveries give her new insight into the tensions of her childhood. In unearthing the oppressive conditions that led Southern Italians to emigrate en masse to the United States, gaining a subtler understanding of the struggles between her parents and their parents, and starting a more happily food-obsessed family of her own, Louise DeSalvo arrives at a fuller and more compassionate picture of her own roots. And, in the process, she reveals that our image of the festive and bounteous Italian-American kitchen may exist in part to mask a sometimes painful history.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
… through recording the past, through her visits to the countryside where her grandparents were born, through the peace she makes with her mother and grandmother (both now dead), DeSalvo celebrates the table of her ancestors by savoring her own rediscovered history. — Lee Thomas
Publishers Weekly
Professor, lecturer and scholar DeSalvo successfully blends catharsis and storytelling in an affecting story of immigrants in America. DeSalvo (Vertigo; Breathless; etc.) grew up in New Jersey, the daughter of first-generation Americans and the granddaughter of Italian emigres who spent much of their lives without much food-or happiness. Her culinary-centered essays feature the genre's requisite characters: the old widow who dresses in black every day, the drunken grandfather, the young mother who "tries to put her Italian past behind her" and serves her kids toasted cheese on white bread that sticks to the roofs of their mouths. Yet DeSalvo's chronicles are nothing like the many memoirs of growing up Italian-American that more closely resemble slapstick comedies. Rather, these recollections are tinged with pain and beauty. She writes of the depression her mother felt after never knowing her birth mother and being raised by her stepmother, a mail-order bride from Italy. She's frank about the constant bickering ("I'll break your head!" "I'll break your legs!") that dominated much of her childhood. She's up-front about her southern Italian heritage, which classified her grandparents as "dark" people whose "whiteness was provisional." And she addresses the irony of purchasing expensive organic produce when her grandparents sometimes subsisted solely on bread soaked in wine. Still, the memoir isn't all melancholic; dry wit and pride temper DeSalvo's prose, as she attempts to become "a person aware of inequities faced by Italian Americans in a country that has not yet fully equated the Italian American experience with the human experience." (Jan. 17) Forecast: With a five-city author tour of the Northeast, local New Jersey readings, a long list of acclaimed books by the author and solid reviews, this erudite but accessible book could have legs. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Employing her crusty step-grandmother's crusty Italian bread instead of a madeleine, memoirist and biographer DeSalvo (Adultery, 2000, etc.) adds to her remembrance of an operatic past. She offers not one interlarded Ruth Reichlian recipe. The cuisine in DeSalvo's childhood home wasn't the loving Italian sort with lots of tomato meat gravy on the vermicelli. Chef Boyardee, Dinty Moore, Chung King with Minute Rice, and Dugan's pastry were the staples of her troubled mother's menus, served with vitriol for Mom's old-country stepmother. Clad in classic black, the old lady glared and muttered in dialect. Family dialogue consisted of lusty curses punctuated by sudden lunges. It was Italian New Jersey in the 1950s, when old men descended to basements to make wine or, in winters, to sit near the warmth of the furnace. DeSalvo tells of strong men and steadfast women from Puglia and Campania, Sicily and the Abruzzi, superstitious and wary in a new land. She depicts a culture of put-upon wives and fierce husbands, of immigrants only reluctantly and never fully assimilated. The flavors of the old world were ever redolent, despite the Dugan's white bread. The author's family lore is marked by intergenerational warfare, recrimination, regret, hatred-and love, too. Beneath the crust there were, after all, tenderness and nourishment. The revelations mount, and lessons of universal significance are drawn from trips to the vegetable markets and journeys to Italy. DeSalvo finally finds pleasure in food, in tasting, and in preparing artfully prepared dishes. The dramatics of her youth, it seems, produced a superior, dedicated writer and a determined, devoted cook who may go a little crazy in the kitchen. Asin life, past tense unites with present in this juicy, tender text, seasoned with fear, loathing, and love served Italian style. Suitable for literary ladies, sensitive guys, and others, too. Agent: Geri Thoma/Elaine Markson Agency
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582342986
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 12/17/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST US
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Louise DeSalvo is a writer, professor, lecturer, and scholar who lives in New Jersey. Her many books include the memoirs Vertigo, Breathless, and Adultery; the acclaimed biography Virginia Woolf: The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on her Life and Work; and Writing as a Way of Healing. She also edited Woolf's early novel Melymbrosia and coedited The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and Culture.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Prologue: Wild Things 1
Part 1 Cutting the Bread
The Bread 9
The Other Bread 12
Convenience Foods 16
Making the Bread 19
Kneading the Dough 24
The Knife 30
Slicing Onions 32
Breaking the Dishes 38
Home Ec 42
Part 2 Wounds
Keepsakes 57
Slingshot 64
Handwork 73
Dark White 84
Passing the Saint 95
Food on the Table 105
Holy Oil 117
Part 3 Chasing Ghosts
Hunger 131
Puglia Diary 139
Big Shot 145
Nightmare (Without Food) 155
Food Fights 160
The House by the River 167
Appetite 179
Part 4 Communion
Courtship (with Food) 195
Matchmaking 206
Respect 214
Feeding the Dead 222
Wiping the Bowl 236
No More Cooking, No More Food 240
Tearing the Bread 250
Epilogue: Playing the Bowl 253
Acknowledgments 256
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)