Memorie di Angelina at 10

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Memorie di Angelina

Dear readers,

This week we’re taking time out from our usual recipe posts to mark a major milestone, the tenth “blogiversary” of Memorie di Angelina.

It’s hard to believe that ten years has gone by since I published my first “welcome!” post, promising that the site would soon be filled with my favorite recipes. Well, it’s taken a while, but at this point I think I’ve made good on that promise and then some. Memorie di Angelina now brings together 530 recipes for your reading and cooking pleasure.

My grandmother Angelina’s recipes form the heart and soul of the collection, of course, but beyond that you’ll find here a strong focus on the cookery of Lazio, where I lived for ten years, and Campania, Angelina’s home region. You’ll also find a healthy collection of recipes from Tuscany, Lombardy, the Veneto, Sicily and Puglia, and at least a few from each of Italy’s other regions. Plus a smattering of Italian-American and non-Italian ones, too. Along with recipes, 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 like how to choose the best canned tomatoes.

Has it really been 10 years?

The time has flown by, and yet it seems more like 100 years ago rather than ten. Back in 2009, Memorie di Angelina was one of the few places online you could find authentic Italian recipes and reliable information about Italian food culture in English. Maybe that’s why what started out as a modest—and I have to admit, pretty amateurish—site meant for sharing recipes with a few friends and family caught on with a wider public. Today we’re as popular as ever, and in fact, a good number of our posts have become veritable internet hits. In case you’re curious, here’s a list of our most popular posts of all time:

  1. Pasta con la ricotta
  2. Pasta e fagioli
  3. Homemade Potato Gnocchi
  4. Gelato: The Basic Recipe
  5. Polpo alla griglia
  6. Carbonara vegetariana
  7. Crochette di patate
  8. Pane caserecccio
  9. Homemade passata di pomodoro
  10. Fettuccine all’Alfredo

Hmm… Looking at this list, perhaps I should change the name of this blog to “Carb Heaven”?  😉

 Why Memorie di Angelina is still worth a visit

These days, the internet is incredibly crowded with Italian food blogs. And even major food websites are offering up (more or less) real Italian recipes. And yet, I hope, there are still reasons to visit to this little site. First and foremost is the unstinting devotion to authenticity, which even today isn’t a given. Along with the worthwhile content, there’s also a lot of dreck out there. You can come to Memorie di Angelina and feel confident you’re getting the real deal and nothing but.

Another thing that sets this blog apart, I’d like to think, is the 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 think you’ll feel confident that you can make it, too. On the other hand, you won’t get paragraphs about my day to day ups and downs in the posts. As much as I enjoy personal blogs, the focus here is on the food.

I’ve also made it a point to keep the blog entirely non-commercial. I don’t monetize Memorie di Angelina in any way, except to allow for small voluntary donations to help defray the costs of maintaining the blog. We accept no advertising, no sponsorships, no contests, no giveaways, etc., etc. despite no lack of offers over the years. Now I don’t have anything against fellow bloggers who do those things, especially the ones who are blogging full time. We all have to make a living, after all. But I do think its non-commercial character is part of this blog’s uniqueness, and my guarantee to you of its integrity.

Angelina and me

How the site has changed

Along with the rest of the blogiverse, Memorie di Angelina has changed over the years, mostly for the better I’d like to think. When I first started blogging, not too long after I returned to the US from my years in Rome, I used to write my recipe posts the Italian way—with minimal measurements, only thrown in as and when absolutely needed. The emphasis was on telling a food story, describing the act of making the dish. To me, this made the recipes so much more friendly and accessible, the way one friend might share a favorite recipe with another.

But pretty soon I realized that many readers found this casual approach to recipes challenging. Once in a while, they would write in to say that they loved the dishes I presented, but the format made it hard to cook from the blog. So I switched my approach to a more traditional recipe format: a short intro, a list of ingredients with (mostly) exact measurements, and directions, followed with detailed notes with tips and tricks and, often, the history behind the dish. But I do hope that, along the way, I haven’t lost the story-telling character of my original posts.

A visual medium…

In the early days, I just used my cell phone to take a quick snapshot of the dish I’d made. I just wanted to give the reader an idea of what they should be aiming for. Aperture? White balance? Who knew what they were…  But I soon realized that, for better or worse, blogging isn’t just about how much you knew about your subject or how well you could write about it. First and foremost, it’s a visual medium. So if I wanted to attract people to Memorie di Angelina, I had to improve my photography game.

So I turned from my cell phone to an inexpensive DLR, and then to a fancier one, and took to studying food photography. And now, although I’m still very much an amateur, to my surprise and delight I get compliments from readers and even from some professional food photographers. Who would have thought? My basic purpose hasn’t changed, though. The photos are still here to instruct and yes, attract your attention and hopefully inspire you to cook, but never just to “prettify” the post. I do minimal styling and set up, so you see the dish as it really should be. The focus is still on the food.

How blogging has changed

One of the sadder aspects of blogging for so many years is you inevitably lose touch with many of your ‘cyberfriends’ along the way. It’s not easy keeping up the blogging year in, year out, especially when you have a day job, so it doesn’t surprise me so many of my fellow bloggers have fallen by the wayside. With standards and expectations rising, the effort you need to put into blogging has gone up tremendously. While casual blogging still exists, it’s become more the exception than the rule. No wonder so many  bloggers these days are dedicated full time (or close) to it, either as professionals or as at home spouses or retirees. Sometimes I wonder if I might be the last of the weekend “hobby bloggers” out there…

There was a real sense of cameraderie back in the early days. We had a “Facebook for Foodies” in the late lamented Foodbuzz. It was a website for finding like-minded bloggers and exchanging views on its discussion boards. Still, even without that platform, we bloggers still manage to find each other online, and even as I lose some cyberfriends, I keep making new ones. We keep in touch by checking in and leaving comments on each others’ blogs—one of the real joys of blogging. And the variety and quality of the blogs I see these days is truly inspiring.

Why I’m still blogging

The other real joy of blogging is, of course, you, the readers. I still get a tremendous kick out of the comments and messages from readers who are enjoying the blog and a special kick from the ones who try out the recipes. I’m delighted when I hear that one of our recipes has become a family favorite. And it warms the heart to hear from readers who are re-discovering old family recipes through Memorie di Angelina. Some say they thought that those recipes had been lost forever until they stumbled across them here. The feedback from readers is my only compensation for the blog, and it’s worth more to me than any amount of advertising revenue.

So that’s why I’m still blogging after all these years. Even with a heavy duty day job. Even as the demands of blogging have increased exponentially. Even with all the “competition” out there. Yes, I have to admit, I’ve toyed with the idea of hanging up my apron from time to time. And ten years seemed like a nice round number for doing just that. But then I thought about life without this hobby and the joy it gives me, and decided to keep at it. At least for a little while longer.

Happy cooking,

Frank

Post scriptum

I’ve just done an anniversary interview with Paolo Rigiroli of the “Thoughts on the Table” podcast. We talk about about my approach to blogging, and how the blog and the wider blogging world has changed over the past 10 years. If you’re interested, please check it out! And while you’re there do subscribe to Paolo’s podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts. There’s always something interesting cooking there!

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96 Comments on “Memorie di Angelina at 10”

  1. Happy Anniversary! Wow, 10 years is an amazing benchmark. I started in 2007 during our first reno snd realized how much I love the process. Wish I had come across your beautiful blog earlier. To be honest, I haven’t picked up a traditional cook book in years, my goto are the blogs I love to read everyday! Traditional Italian food is one of my favourites and knowing they are your beloved family recipes makes them that much more tastier! I make you zucchini fritters all the time, recently doubled a batch! My friends adore them!

  2. Happy Birthday MdA! Frank you’ll be always my number one reference. You were also my inspiration when I started my blog which tomorrow will turn 9-year old! Keep rocking the food blogosphere!

    1. Wow, 9 years is also quite an accomplishment, complimenti! I’ve honored that you found your inspiration in this little blog. 🙂

  3. Auguri, Frank! Apologies for my absence, but I think you’ll forgive me as I’ve been in Italy the entire month of June! 🙂

    Your site is definitely one of my very favorites and how could it not be? We’re on the same team, trying to save authentic Italian cuisine from a most certain demise here in the US. You do such an amazing job though, I feel like I’m sitting on the bench while you’re the quarterback!

    Seriously, though, thank you for all the time and effort you have put into Memorie di Angelina. I’m sure she’s watching over you the way I feel my Nonno Scipione is watching over me. Keep up the good work, or as my zio in Toronto says, “si fatta ‘na buona job!” haha!

    1. All of June in Italy? Lucky you! I’m so glad for fellow bloggers like yourself who are part of this effort. As much as food overall is getting better in the US, when it comes to Italian food, true authenticity is still hard to find. You too are doing ‘na buona job! 🙂

  4. I so look forward every week for your newsletter. Growing up in an Abruzzese family, I treasure the now approaching lost art of these home cooked meals. Thank you for keeping the tradition going and don’t stop!! Many good wishes, more recipes to come and congratulations!!

    1. Thanks so much, Denise. I try to do my bit, along with others… including most of all those like yourself you continue the tradition at home through cooking.

  5. Congratulazioni Frank, un bellissimo traguardo! Conosco da anni il tuo blog e l’ho visto crescere sempre di più, hai il dono assai raro di coinvolgere il lettore dalla prima all’ultima parola. Qui da te ci sono utili informazioni, ricette sopraffine e tanta passione, continua così, ti abbraccio!

  6. Auguri per il bloghiversario Frank! Wow 10 years is an impressive milestone. You are twice as old as me 🤪. I hope you go on for at least 10 more…..and if I may make a suggestion, I think a ‘Memorie di Angelina’ cookbook is in order! Ciao, Cristina

  7. Pingback: A podcast with Frank Fariello on Memorie di Angelina's 10-yr anniversary

  8. Frank, first of all congratulations not only on reaching the 10 year mark, but providing your readers with an authentic slice of Italy. My admiration for what you have created and the inspiration you have provided my with is immeasurable.

  9. Happy 10th blogversary! I can only agree with you about the authentic recipes on your blog: yours are proper original Italian recipes and the fact that you are not monetizing it makes it more special and certainly more interesting. You can write whatever you feel like without having to worry about making brands happy. I love your blog and what an achievement 10 years! The photo with you and your grandmother Angelina is so nice. The best memories ever.

  10. Frank, Actually my grandmothers father’s family (Mara) was from a small village just Northwest of Potenza so that’s pretty darn close to Naples. I’ll give the recipe the once over and see how it compares….I’m not sure if it’s taste or memories I’m trying to recreate, if you know what I mean. Grazie
    Bob Gladding

  11. First of all, congratulations on the 10th anniversary, Frank. That’s a real accomplishment! I absolutely loved this post, and you so eloquently described the food blog world to a ‘t.’ I do blog full-time, so that has guided some of the decisions I have made on my end, but I like to think I have stayed true to myself and to the food along the way. I couldn’t agree more that effort you need to put into blogging has gone up tremendously. It’s so easy to look at these massive food blog sites with incredibly photos and a zillion followers and think “geez…what am I spinning my wheels for?” But like you, I come back to the realization that I enjoy sharing and talking about food. And I enjoy meeting and chatting with blog friends like you. I can’t imagine writing this blog while maintaining your day job (it sounds like it’s been pretty intense lately), but keep with it. I love your posts, and I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know you. Cheers, my friend!

  12. Frank, congratulations on reaching 10 years! Where does time go?
    You are the real deal and your blog is a wonderful source for truly authentic Italian recipes, I’m sure you made your dear Angelina very proud!
    We’re “old timers” in this blog world but I feel exactly like you do, it still brings me joy and I can’t imagine ending it any time soon.
    So keep having fun!

  13. Congratulations Frank, you are indeed a pioneer in this hobby blogging field. I so enjoyed reading your post and I’m glad you’ll be hanging around for awhile longer. I do believe you nailed why we hobby bloggers blog as all the reasons you gave for continuing to blog are the very essence of why I blog. You’ve inspired me to spend a day with your blog and begin reading it from the beginning. Thanks for the lovely post.

  14. I’m glad I met you, your posts are an inspiration to me. A Happy 10-th aniversary!
    A pious thought for Angelina and her memory!

  15. Congrats and keep new things posted. With one grandparent from Calabria and one from Lazio, I have found many recipes on your site that bring back memories. I enjoy your research and have enjoyed many fine dinners of authentic Italian fare. Thanks for your dedication. Mangia, mangia!

  16. Congrats on 10 years. I have only been reading this for a couple of years but have found it very informative . I am an Aussie and my husband was from Torre del Greco , and many of the recipes were what he taught me to make. I love your blog.

    1. I’m so glad to hear you’ve been able to find those old family recipes here, Cheryl. And thanks so much for your readership.

  17. Congratulations my dear son. You deserve all the accolades from your followers. My special appreciation for honoring the memory of nana and her simple, yet memorable cooking.

    In the last 10 years you have grown in your own right to become a true connoisseur and expert chef. Through world travel you have learned to appreciate the cuisines of other cultures, which is reflected in your occasional inclusion of their cooking in your blog.

    All this while persuing a successful career in international law.

    I couldn’t be prouder of you. I wish you not ten but cent’anni of continued blogging.

    God bless you,

    Dad

  18. My apologies – obviously phones rang, doorbells chimed and the ‘mix-up’ below somehow appeared ! Since I have only followed you for 10% of the time of all who have so enjoyed, I almost lack the right to comment but so agree with what I have read top to bottom ! When I began ‘following’ lifestyle gurus I enjoyed way back I never ever envisaged that some of the best friends I would ever make would come from interactions impossible but a decade earlier . . . I love the honesty and teaching of many food sites I follow . . . I relish more getting to know the people penning these words . . .hope you keep going . . .hoping I may be allowed back after my sometime faux pas . . .

  19. Welcome to the 10 Year Club! Excellent post, as always. I am alway happy when I see your latest post pop up in my email.
    I have blogging for 10 year too. I have slowed down in the past year. New job has meant some changes. I love the job, really! But I miss having the time to do posts. I have been posting more on instagram.
    I still enjoy every post you do. My family is from Naples, the mountain area. Your blog gave me alot of recipes that I thought my grandparents families might have eaten.
    I truly enjoy your blog and look forward to the next 10 years.

    1. Lucia, I hope Frank doesn’t mind my answering you. I couldn’t resist after I saw your family is from the mountains near Naples. Angelina was born in Apice, Prov. di Benevento, also a mountain town. Maybe your folks know it.
      I had the pleasure of visiting many years ago. It has been converted to a living museum. Search the web for Apice Vecchia, it looks just as I remember it.

    2. Sounds like your family is from rather close by ours, Lucia. Glad to hear you were able to find some of those old recipes here!

  20. Dear Frank
    What a milestone, 10 years writing recipes from your Nonna’s heart so we may enjoy the wonderful cuisine of your heritage.
    Fortunately where I live, in Adelaide, South Australia, we have a large Italian community, complete with mercato and delis to provide ingredients and often advise. Your recipes often cause much discussion and I love shopping for the hard to find cheese or vegetable.
    Please keep the memories coming. You really do have a gift.
    Ciao
    Gregory

    1. I’m rather tickled to hear I’m being talked about in South Australia… ! Thanks so much for the kind words, Gregory.

  21. Thank you for doing what you do, FOR ALL OF US! The recipes are delicious.

    My only suggestion since I save recipes that I might be interested in the future using ADOBE ACROBAT PRO. For some reason (I do not know when it started, maybe November 2017) the first image (and you take fantastic pictures) doesn’t show up in the saved file. I have figured out a way to compensate, but if you could check, then your blog contents could be saved unaltered.

  22. Congratulations and don’t stop blogging. I have yet to try a recipe of yours we didn’t love. Every time you publish it reminds me of my trips to Italy or the food my grandmother would make. Even if I don’t prepare a recipe, I love reading your narrative on the origins and ingredients. I wish I had discovered you before my travels and this blog will certainly impact my next trip to Italy. If you have a great braciole recipe let me know – I’m still trying to recreate my grandmother’s. Thank you.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Bob. I do have a braciole recipe, as a matter of fact, in the Neapolitan style. If your grandmother was from that area, it might just be similar to hers…

  23. Wow! Ten years!! Congrats brother. Nana would be so proud her legacy lives on in such a notable way. She was so humble it I know she would say, “Oh Dollie, you do good! But remember do good and forget, do bad and remember” 🤣.
    We are all so proud of this blog and you!

  24. auguri— mi unisco al coro/I join the coir: bravo frank! as u might suspect I am rather conservative when I cook Italian and Memorie d A is one of the few sources I trust completely. U have been doing a stellar job in keeping this repertoire alive – bravo!
    stefano

  25. Happy 10th blogiversary, Frank! And what a lovely post this is!

    My 10th blogiversary is in 6 months. I love the way you described those early years and the way bloggers supported each other. I still miss Foodbuzz. I’m not posting as often as I used to, but I’m not ready to call it quits. I’m so glad to hear that you’re going to continue to share your Italian cooking wisdom with us.

    Cheers!

    1. Yes Kath, I’ll be around for a little while longer. Thanks so much for your comment, from one “old timer” to another!

  26. Ciao Frank!
    Congratulations on your 10th anniversary. I have been a long time follower and hope you don’t hang up your apron soon. We are a second generation Memorie di Angelina family: our daughter and her husband and our son and daughter-in-law are now in on the act. The local asparagus was plentiful this year so I took out my trusted and much loved recipe for your asparagus lasagne. My sister happened to be visiting: the 2 of us put quite a dent in it! I gave her the last piece to take home with her. Thanks for your continued dedication.
    p.s.: We are an Italo-Canadian family. My husband’s clan is from the Veneto.

    1. Ah, I love asparagus lasagne, too. And actually it’s been a while since I’ve made it. Must have been fabulous made with local asparagus. Thanks so much for your readership!

  27. Congratulations on your 10 years! I also had an Italian grandmother who was a wonderful cook. She was from Naples and cooked all this wonderful food. I especially remember Sunday dinner. She passed away in the late 1960’s and I was too young to learn from her. My mom who was a great cook fell into the convenient food way as she was out and about a lot. So only a few recipes were passed on, so your blog has been important to our family. I am now the grandmother who cooks for her family, trying to make memories for my grandkids. I also have my 98 year old uncle who gets thrilled when I cook something from his youth. Food and family, thanks for your wonderful blog.

  28. Congrats on 10 years! You are absolutely my source for authentic “Italian” (as opposed to Italian-American) recipes. Not that there’s anything wrong with Italian-American — I make those sorts of dishes all the time, and in particular like the heavy use (overuse) of garlic in them — but they often lack the subtle sophistication and flavor of actual Italian cooking.

    There are still a few hobby bloggers out there — I’m one! — but agree with you about the changes that have occurred over the last 8+ years (the time that I’ve been blogging). I miss some of my old virtual friends — although I understand why they quit blogging (it’s hard and takes more time and effort than non-blogger can believe; the interwebs aren’t as welcoming as they used to be; etc etc). Glad you’re still here and producing wonderful recipes. Thank you.

    1. Glad to hear that there are least a few of us hobby bloggers still sticking it out, John! You’re so right that blogging takes a lot more effort than readers can probably imagine. Thanks so much for the kinds words. 🙂

  29. Happy anniversary and thank you for creating nice memories to me, my family and friends as I cook your dishes. Most of all I love the stories behind every dish which you share with us. I hope that Memories di Angelina will go on inspiring us for as long as you can.
    Chris, Athens Greece

  30. Happy Anniversary, I always enjoy reading your blog posts. You give so much information and tips , I always learn something new. I understand about hanging up the apron, I often feel the same way . But please continue with your great blog.
    Thanks
    Gerlinde

  31. Dear Frank, congratulations on your anniversary. I stumbled on your recipe blog after returning from a 2-month stay in Tuscany where my family comes from. I find your recipes authentic to our culture. Mostly I enjoy reading your stories of Grandma Angelina. Thank you for your dedication to us blog followers. Blessings in the kitchen of life. Flora Poggio

  32. Happy anniversary and a thank you for making nice memories for me, my family and friends all these years as I cook your dishes. But most of all I love the stories behind every dish that you share with us. I hope Memorie di Angelina will keep inspiring us for as long as you can.
    Chris, Athens Greece

  33. Frank – first, congratulations! I always forget to mark my bloggiversary… maybe, when I get to 10, I will remember.

    Yes, there is still a need for your blog – please don’t go away. Just the other day I decided to make Cacio e Pepe as I was sent a Bon Appétit recipe. I knew I would be heading to Memorie di Angelina for the real thing, but I read the comments on the BA recipe for my amusement. They actually used butter! And the wrong form of pasta. Figuriamoci! I, of course, made yours and it was stellar. We need trusted sources for authenticity. Even some of the Italian blogs are leading me astray with inauthentic recipes. (Giallo Zafferano e Cucchiaio d’Argento, per essempio.) I will continue to trust you, Stefano, and Christina as my “go-to” sources, thanks.

    And I like the longevity of those of us who are still in the game! Yes, many have quit. Like you, I have a very demanding day job and can only post once a week. But I love it. It is my great joy and, often, my therapy.

    Thanks for being there – I hope we get to meet in person someday soon.

    Un abbraccio, David

  34. Ciao Frank, spero che quella ´´ parannanza ´´ come la chiamano a Roma e che io la usavo cuando nel 1960 lavoravo al Cafe´de Paris in via veneto, non l´agganciare mai ! Per noi Italiani all´estero e´sempre un piacere leggere i tuoi commentari e ricette che molto di esse ci portano indietro con il tempo e ricordi lieti di aromi e sapori che troppo spesso si dimenticano. Grazie e Grazie di nuovo e come si dice in toscana…Tante Belle Cose….Vittorio

  35. Dear Frank, thank you for your efforts in keeping the memory of your grandmother alive through food. I can relate to that. Your posts are always uplifting , interesting, right to the point and a joy to come home to after a hard day at work. I am sure your Angelina is looking out for you from Heaven and smiling with pleasure. Huge hug to you, well done ! 🙂

  36. Happy anniversary! While I have not been “with you” from the start, I am a big fan of your work, an obvious work of love. Your blog is my go to destination for recipes and techniques for creating old favorites and new ideas. Thanks for your loving dedication to your blog!

    Jim

  37. Happy birthday! I’m so glad you’ve decided to keep going, you would have been much missed if you quit. I look forward to my regular fix! Al the best, Linda

  38. Congratulations! You are so right that recipe sharing experiences involves story sharing. Your site reminds me of my own experiences with my own Nona Angelina sharing her recipes. She couldn’t read or write. Learning her recipes meant spending time making one with her. She loved to show whoever was interested.

  39. Happy to hear from you also. Congrats to my Angelina! And many more years of good food recipes and great stories. Arrivederci!

  40. Congratulations! I consider this website the best reading I do! It never gets old and I treasure the authentic recipes and other information on ingredients and such. THANK YOU!!!

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