Welcome! I’m Frank. I’m an international lawyer by day, but when I get home at night, there’s nothing I like better to do than cook. I’ve always loved to cook, ever since I was barely tall enough to peer over the top of a stove. Cooking is the best way I know to unwind from a stressful day’s work. And sharing the dishes I make is a profound way to connect with friends and loved ones.
Where did this passion for cooking and eating come from? Like so many Italian-Americans I learned the importance of good food at those leisurely Sunday dinners at my grandmother’s house, the kind that would start with nibbles just after noontime and last well into the evening.
Memorie di Angelina—which means ‘Memoires of Angelina’—is my tribute to the home cooking of my nonna Angelina, a native of a small hilltop town in the Campania region of Italy called Apice. She came to America in the 1920s along with millions of other southern Italian immigrants and settled in the Arthur Avenue neighborhood in the Bronx, which was (and is) a true ‘little Italy’. She was poor and, like most women of her class and time, only semi-literate. She never did learn to speak proper English. She married my grandfather Lorenzo, who made a modest salary as a projectionist at a local movie theater and, to help pay expenses, she sewed button holes for lady’s dresses at 5 cents a pop. She was the humblest person I have ever known.
She also cooked the most delicious food I’ve ever eaten.
I was born and raised in the US, but have spent most of my adult life abroad. After some years in Paris and Vienna, I finally wound up living in Rome, where I spent ten more memorable years. I spent my time in Italy soaking up the food culture and enjoying cooking and eating as never before. After some years in the historical center of town, we moved out to a beautiful area off the via Ardeatina just south of town, an area that is still rural, among vineyards and pastures, the Alban hills looming in the distance. I grew my own fruits and vegetables, and even kept chickens for the eggs. Our wine came from the vineyards down the road, the cheese from the sheep that grazed in the fields outside our house, the olive oil from a local frantoio (press). And, of course, I traveled extensively, eating and asking everywhere I went about the local cuisine. I came back to the US in 2005 for work reasons, and now lead a fairly ordinary suburban life—except that, if I dare say so myself, in our house we eat very, very well…
I started Memorie di Angelina in June 2009 as a way of keeping this rich culinary heritage alive and sharing it with my friends and family. But from those modest beginnings, and despite the fact that writing about your grandmother’s cooking has become the ultimate blogging cliché, the site has grown in popularity and is now one of the better known Italian food blogs on the web.I like to think it’s because Memorie di Angelina offers up something that many other blogs do not—a real focus on technique and the actual experience of cooking, presented in a way that strives to both educate and entertain. After reading one of my recipes, I want you to feel confident that you can make it, too. That makes the posts on the site a bit longer than on most blogs, but I think you’ll find it’s worth your extra time. If you don’t have the time, most posts have a short-form, printable recipe card that cuts to the chase.
In fact, I hope you’ll think of this website as something more than just a blog, as an online resource. Over the course of the years, I’ve have built up a collection of about 400 recipes at last count. You’ll find Angelina’s specialities here, of course, plus many of the classic dishes I got to know during my years in Italy. I put special emphasis on the regional cuisines of Rome and Naples, which I know best, but I do set out on the occasional jaunt into points north or further south. You’ll also find articles with essential background and techniques for making authentic Italian food, in-depth information on the Italian Pantry and food culture, and tips and tricks, like how to choose the best canned tomatoes.
There is much here to explore and the database just keeps growing. The universe of Italian cooking is truly immense, so I look forward to keep this going for quite some time!
While I like to feature an Italian-American dish every Columbus Day, as well as the occasional American or other ‘foreign’ dish just for fun, the focus here is on showing you how to make simple, authentic Italian home cookery, the kind of Italian food you will find in countless homes in Italy itself. And that’s another thing that makes this blog, if not unique, then special—a real commitment to authenticity. You can have absolute confidence that the recipes on this blog are ones that an Italian would cook. Too many other food sites, including some of the most popular, will compromise on authenticity, I suppose for the sake of “giving people what they want”. That I will never do! Yes, there are times when I will recommend substitutions for a particularly hard to find ingredient, but when I do, I’ll always tell you.
What you won’t find here are rants about my personal problems. Nor will you find advertisements, promotions, give-aways, contest entries or any other kind of competitive or commercial activity. I’ve turned down countless offers because first, as I’ve said, I don’t want to commit to compromise on authenticity, and second, because I want to give you, the reader, an ad-free—and that means distraction free—experience. And finally, I didn’t get into blogging for the money. This blog is a pure labor of love.
I hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as I do writing it. And if you have any questions, comments or recipe requests, or just want to say hello, feel free to drop me a line. And if you like what you see, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Networked Blogs, or sign up for our Flipboard magazine.
- On Authenticity (memoriediangelina.com)
- The Italian Pantry
- Memorie di Angelina in the news (December 23, 2012)
- Memorie di Angelina in the news (November 28, 2009)
- Our Fifth Blogiversary
- Papas Arrugadas (with a short third anniversary message)
- Happy [Second] Birthday, Memorie di Angelina!
- Happy [First] Birthday, Memorie di Angelina!