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Italian Tradition

“go in the name of God and the Blessed Virgin will accompany you.”


An indescribable transformation takes place each time I make something from my grandmother’s kitchen.  My senses come alive with a deeply connective feeling to the past.  A sense of place, belonging, and true identification of what it is to be Italian.  


I feel my generation, the 3rd generation of Italians, is faced with the struggle of maintaining the lifestyle of my older generations.  If an intentional effort is not purposefully carried out, what it is to be Italian will certainly dissipate.  


The most valuable asset I possess are these recipes and the years my grandmother taught me how to cook.  For decades she instilled in me cooking rooted in tradition, which seems far from the contemporary styles I see on cooking shows.  Since first asking my grandmother at eighteen years old how to make sauce, I have worked tirelessly to refine and recreate her meals identically to how she made them.  This journey brought me closer to my roots, understanding Italian culture, and most of all, connection to my family that is no longer here.  Additionally, I feel more in touch with the quality and sourcing of ingredients.     


I dedicate this book to the memory and life of my grandmother Mary.  Coming to the United States from Pitigliano, Italy in 1915, she was a delicate, simple, but exacting person and cook.  Pieno di Grazia (English: Full of Grace) is a reflection of who my grandmother was as a woman, a cook from my perspective as her grandson.  Her story is far more than a collection of recipes or sharing her experience in the kitchen.  I put this book together with the heartfelt intent to ask the reader to restore their kitchen to a simpler time.  To purposefully cook to bring your family together, taste and experiment, learn, and make these experiences memories.  To teach your younger generations the magic and deep joy that will last in their hearts for decades.  



“Ave, o Maria, piena di grazia,

il Signore è con te.

Tu sei benedetta fra le donne

e benedetto è il frutto del tuo seno, Gesù.

Santa Maria, Madre di Dio,

prega per noi peccatori,

adesso e nell'ora della nostra morte.

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