girl in cucina
I have loved to cook (and eat) for as long as I can remember.  My formative culinary experiences are rooted in the kitchens of my mother and my grandmothers, who were influenced both by their Italian roots (specifically, the provinces of le Marche and il Veneto) and by the farmland of Northwest and Eastern Arkansas.  Hand-cut pasta and homemade bread were staples of my grandmothers' kitchens.  I don't think I tasted store-bought tomato sauce until after I'd left home for college.

Above all, my early experiences taught me that cooking is an expression of love and eating an expression of community.

During college, foreign travel exposed me to new cuisines and techniques; time in Italy, including a six-month stay in Tuscany, strengthened the ties to my ancestral home and its culinary traditions.  The focus on simple recipes highlighting seasonal, whole ingredients grown nearby is a major precept of Italian cuisine and is a fundamental principle of my own kitchen.  

girl in Italia
Most of the recipes you'll find on this blog use ingredients that are local and/or organic.  Over the past several years, we've discovered the great pleasure of eating seasonally.  Sure, it means no tomatoes in January (except what I've canned or frozen during the summer), but the exquisiteness of that first bite of an in-season tomato come summer is worth the wait! (The tomatoes you'll find in the supermarket in January generally aren't worth eating anyway.)

I believe that sustainably-produced food really is better for everyone.  The food choices we make matter -- not only for our own health but for others as well.  Eating is an ethical act, and everyone should have the knowledge and access to enable them to choose food that is good, clean, and fair.

I am only one generation removed from the farm, and I often wish that I had possessed the forethought to pay closer attention to the decades of traditional knowledge available to me when my grandparents were living.  In my own small way, I am striving to maintain my culinary heritage -- baking my own bread, making pasta by hand and everything from scratch.  For years, apartment living afforded little space to grow anything more than an occasional potted herb, but now that we're returned to Arkansas from the big city, we finally have the space for a real garden. We're also finding great options at our local farmers marketco-op, and a CSA!  

il marito
While rooted in my past, my passion for cooking also draws on the new experiences I am having every day -- whether in reading a cookbook or the findings of a fellow food blogger, learning about the science of cooking, eating at a new restaurant, or experimenting in my own kitchen.  My wonderful husband lets me play in the kitchen to my heart's (and his stomach's) content.  He's my official taste-tester and self-proclaimed "idea guy."

This blog is a space in which to document, muse, explore, and share.  I hope you'll visit often and leave a comment when you do!
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