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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.

Apice

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.

Il ragù della domenica (Sunday Sauce)

Sunday dinner

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…

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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!

Angelina and me

Angelina and me

While I like to feature an Italian-American dish every Columbus Day, as well as the occasional American or other ‘foreign’ dish, 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.

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. 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 FacebookTwitter or Networked Blogs, or sign up for our Flipboard magazine.

Frank

FrankAbout

Comments

  1. Aline Melki

    Hi Frank. I m so glad I discovered your blog as I was searching for a nice potato croquette recipe, an authentic Italian recipe, that will take me back in memories to the streets of Napoli where I was drawn to try them by the number of people lined up outside the shop waiting to get in…I will be definitely trying your recipe today.
    The way you blog made me curious to know more about you on whether you are pure Italian or not, it s good to know that you are cause if I want to eat Italian then recipe should be coming from a Italian source, someone like you, I want it to be authentic as much as possible… I will be definitely spending some time here trying your different recipes.
    Frank,I will be spending the holidays in Rome with my family My daughter is flying in from Virginia, USA and both of us have a passion for cooking and eating well and I was wondering if you could help in pointing out few authentic restaurants in Rome and what we should definitely eat while we are there plus what to take home like wine and cheeses etc…
    Thank you so much and congratulations on this beautiful blog, Aline

    1. Author
      Frank

      And thank you so much, Aline, for your lovely comment! I hesitate to recommend restaurants because it’s been a while since I was last there and the scene can change so much. But I would recommend two excellent sources of information: Katie Parla’s Parla Food (she also has an app) and Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome. Enjoy your trip!

  2. Patricia De los Rios

    Hello Frank:

    I am delighted to read your blog, stories and wonderful recipes.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Patricia from Washington DC.

  3. tittina

    vorrei tanto poter leggere e rifare le tue ricette!!!! non so l’inglese è mi è difficile,perchè non metti un traduttore!!! grazie dall’abruzzo!! buon ferragosto Tittina

  4. Pasqua DiCamillo Dziadul

    Delighted to have discovered you! I came from Abbruzzi as a child and grew up in Massachusetts…My parents had incredible gardens, 160 tomato plants, lots and lots of canning every August, and the best memories of Sunday dinners with so much variety that came with that victory garden! I will try your luscious leek pie today…..My mother’s had big Texas scallions that we would dig up the same day as she was baking bread as we used the same rustic dough. Thank you for saving our old world recipes.

  5. Richard

    Hi Frank,

    I came across your blog here while looking for pictures of Apice. My grandfather was from there too. Spagnuolo is our last name. He came here (Boston) in 1903 when he was 12.

  6. Art Doyle

    Kindly email me a ricotta gnocchi recipe. I do not see one in your recipe list. Thanks, Art

  7. tesorotreasures

    Ciao Frank! What a wonderful resource I’ve found in your blog! I will definitely use it for cooking my favorite cuisine – Italian! I, too, am from Italian parents (mine are from Lago Maggiore) and the made me appreciate so much the simplicity and fresh ingredients that make Italian food so delicious! My mom has passed down countless recipes to me…but I’m always looking for more :) Can’t wait to start cooking! And…always nice to meet another fellow Italian who loves to cook!
    ~Barbara

  8. Chellet

    Awesome blog, sir. This is a great resource for cooks and foodies alike. Will definitely come back to read and learn more about authentic Italian cooking. =)

  9. Antonette

    Happened across your blog through a friend’s cooking blog and had to just let you know I’m looking forward to “following” your immense love for all that is italian since I share the same love with my family (of course being raised and born italian helps!) My parents immigrated here from Salerno and are literally “off the boat” docking in New York!!! Another thing in common, my son just graduated from law school and is interested in international law!!! It was meant to come across your site!!! Looking forward to reading and following…Mille Grazie!!

  10. Mary

    I spotted the pic of you and your nonna on PInterest and it caught my eye because I thought it was a photo of my great aunt, Angie (Angelina!), so I had to pop over to see if we’re related?! Turns out it’s just a coincidence that they look so much alike, but I’m excited to have found your blog and I look forward to checking out all of your recipes!

  11. Rick Shide

    have you considered adding recipe microdata to your code? I’ll make your recipes show up in google recipe search and allow people to add your recipes automatically to their recipes collections, like at forkchop.com

  12. lisawatson182812531

    Thanks for passing on the link to your website! You are what I aspire to become! :) Fantastic site!

  13. Lisa

    Hi Frank! Thank you for sharing your website link with me! It’s fantastic! It’s what I aspire to becoming! I’ll definitely be following your blog! Great work!

  14. Ada Parisi

    Hello Frank, I’m Ada from sicilianicreativiincucina. This is really a beautiful blog, clearly read your pride of being Italian and the recipes are really amazing, heart-warming memories. It ‘s a pleasure to meet you, I follow you …

  15. Doris Poggi

    Frank, you are most welcome. I can imagine how growing your own veggies in the soil there could be practically a religious experience! My brother, Tony, the lawyer, used to have the most fabulous garden when he first got married to my sis in law, Debbie. How a Brooklyn boy from the streets produced the wonderful bounty , I will never know. Sadly, he has not done so in years and I miss going through the tomato vines. Now the recipe you sent is not the one—no tuna in the one I had the other day but I would give this a try. Best to you and good health, Doris.

  16. Doris Poggi

    Hello Frank!
    What an awesome website and blog! I saw your recipe for the cardoons and emailed to my friend , Tom, in Iowa. He and his wife transplanted there several years ago after retirement from the Post Office. He grows them so I thought I would send the recipe to him. Also, I grew up the same way, big dinners at my Aunt’s home in Brooklyn NY. I make all things Italian but lately, just found a delicious white bean salad in a restaurant we just tried the other night. If you have one you would like to share please do so—we loved it. I know it comes from Tuscan region but auntie never made this for us. By the way, my brother is a lawyer too. I will be back for more recipes for sure—best to you and yours. Doris

  17. Bill

    I just came across your blog and I immediately bookmarked it. I haven’t made through all the recipes yet, but I’ll definitely be spending some time here. Great blog!

  18. J @ Semplicemente ... J

    Bellissimo blog. Non so come sono arrivata, ma eccomi qui! :)

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