From Publishers Weekly
Hand-rolled ravioli are ephemeral things, taking ages to prepare only to be devoured in minutes. And yet for Schenone (the James Beard Award–winning A Thousand Years over a Hot Stove
) their taste encapsulates an entire domestic history and the promise of happiness, however fleeting. In this marvelous family memoir, which considers the immigrant experience from the vantage of food, Schenone, longing for an inner life where advertising cannot reach, sets off on an idealistic quest to reclaim the ravioli recipe that her Genovese great-grandmother brought with her at the turn of the last century to New Jersey, where the dish abruptly changed, breaking with tradition. In search of enlightenment, Schenone charms her way into the kitchens of ravioli-making elders in Liguria (whose recipes she shares in this book with admirable precision), then spends years trying to teach her hands the difficult art of stretching dough—an endeavor that tests her most cherished ideas of home and family and self. Her fierce honesty and relentless questioning (at what point is this an egotistical labor?), skillful handling and dismantling of family myth, refusal to romanticize Italy and historian's knack for sketching the big picture in a few broad strokes allows this poignant book to transcend the specificity of its subject matter. (Nov.)
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A culinary detective story, a family confessional, and a moving meditation on assimilation and authenticity. -- Star-Ledger, New Jersey
This is a feast for the mind and the heart, as well as the palate. -- Newsweek
This personal journey, woven together with delicious recipes framed by her family history, dazzles like the harbor of Portofino. -- Adriana Trigiani, author of the Big Stone Gap series