From Publishers Weekly
Trigiani, author of the Big Stone Gap trilogy, Queen of the Big Time
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.
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For decades, the women of the Trigiani family have expressed themselves through their cooking. The sisters of the present generation, whose heritage stretches improbably from the mountains of Italy to those of western Virginia, have set down the family's culinary tradition as they learned to love it. This is a typically simple cuisine, a basic dough recipe turning into all manner of pasta. Sauces begin with tomato puree and explore different seasonings to complement assorted pastas. Their festive oil-and-garlic sauce takes on special character from plenty of lemon juice and grated zest. Veal cutlets, braciole, and sausage and peppers compose the basic meat offerings. Northern Italian influence manifests itself in cinnamon-scented chicken and tomato sauce over polenta. A simple salad of oranges dressed in olive oil and black pepper appeals to contemporary tastes. As much family memoir as cookbook, this volume documents the nurturing relationships of grandmothers, mother, and daughters. Mark KnoblauchCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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