DSC_0899About me….such a short two words to capture so much! In 2013, I took my parents to Italy. My dad traveled in high school and my mom had never been international.  Me-my parents somehow got me to Germany in High School and my love of Europe began.  I studied abroad in Austria during a summer in college, taking a 10-day journey to Capri with one of my best friends, Matt.  We were both broke college kids with a passion for living life and exploring places who then fell in love with the Italian way.

I fell in love with Italy that summer during 2004.  I’m 75% Italian (Thanks Dee for never letting me forget about the 25% German in me.) I grew up with two beautiful, strong Italian (one Sicilian, one from Northern Italy) grandmothers and an amazing mother who taught me how to cook. My dad and my Pap taught me how to use the earth to get everything possible. And when you listen to Mother Nature, she can produce delicious crops that can get a large family through winter.

When I was 21, I got the devastating news that I was allergic to dairy.  An Italian girl whoDSC_0360 loves her Nonni’s manicotti, allergic to dairy. Damn it. Well, I learned to live with it and always have my epipen and benedryl ready for when waitstaff think they’re too cool to tell the kitchen about my allergy.

When I was 25 and looked like I was 6-months pregnant at the end of every day, they then told me gluten had become no good for me as well.  Huh. I grew up off of the land and learned to appreciate delicious food, but now I was some kind of oddity who couldn’t match her childhood identity of being a very proud third generation Italian. I fell into a pity party for a few years and ate bland, really not delicious food.

And then came 2013 and that trip to Italy with my parents. I had nervously told my tour company about my allergies, expecting extra fees and laughs to be thrown in my face. Instead, they said, “Okay. That’s no problem.” And on that trip is when I remembered what real cooking and the joy of food is actually all about.

DSC_0212Every single place that we ate had delicious, melt in your mouth food waiting for me.  And they did not in any way make me feel guilty for what my body cannot handle. They instead profusely apologized when they couldn’t match each course that I was being served to what everyone else was eating.

So, I stopped having a pity party and started cooking like my grandmothers taught me. That’s how this blog came to be. I cooked for my friends and my boyfriend, who you’ll hear me talk about as J, and they surprisingly to me, liked my cooking and enjoyed the alternatives.

So I hope you enjoy the food I post here. There is a lot of love and history behind every recipe that I post, whether it’s from my Nonni or Grandma teaching me from their kitchen or just me messing around trying to get the little ones in my life trying to enjoy true food, not processed and with an ingredient list that my Nonni or Grandma could pronounce. As my tour guide through Italy always said, “Andiamo a mangiare!!”

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