Welcome! I’m Frank. I’m an international lawyer by day, but when I get home at night, I like nothing better than to 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. She was 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’. Angelina 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. 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 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. It’s 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 to keep this culinary heritage alive, sharing it with my friends and family. But from those modest beginnings, the site has grown in popularity and is now one of the better known Italian food blogs on the web. Even if writing about your grandmother’s cooking has become a real cliché. 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 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.
I hope you’ll think of this website as something more than a blog, but rather as an online cookbook. Over the course of the years, I’ve have built up a collection of over 500 recipes at last count. You’ll find Angelina’s specialities here, along with the classic dishes I got to know during my years in Italy. I put special emphasis on the regional cuisines of Rome and Naples, with 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!
I like to feature an Italian-American dish every October, Italian-American Heritage month. I also write about the occasional American or other ‘foreign’ dish just for fun. But 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 one, will compromise on authenticity. I suppose it’s for the sake of “giving people what they want”. But that I will never do here. 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. Why? First, as I’ve said, I don’t want to commit to compromise on authenticity. 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. The wonderful feedback I get from readers is my own reward.
I hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as I do writing it. And if you have any questions, comments or requests, feel free to drop me a line. And if you like what you see, don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or our Flipboard magazine. Or best of all, sign up for our free newsletter. And for more information about this blog, check out our FAQ.
- 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!
Your life was interesting, and I’d love to be an expert cook
Thanks! Of course, you can be an expert cook. All it takes is practice…
HELLO FRANK! I was searching for a good recipe for SPAGHETTI ALA NERANO and I found your blog. Yours was the BEST I have found and your blog is indeed an online cookbook.
Like you, I am passionate about cooking. My husband and I love traveling, and our favorite countries to visit are Italy, France and Spain because of the culture, dining and wining. Your online cook book is so engaging and you write it in a way that provides cultural and historical context, practical tips on sourcing out ingredients, and your “how to” is just so easy to follow. You also have a good sense of humor!
This is so timely because I am about to start creating my book that I want to gift to my children to pass on recipes I learned from my Filipino-Spanish mother, and those that I learned from my sojourns. I really research on recipes to recreate and relive our experiences in the countries we visit. I also want to put side stories and pictures so that our children and grandchildren will know more about us and our passion in traveling, food and wine.
Will be following you blog posts.Will be sharing them online and perhaps attribute how I am able to recreate some of the Italian food we love if found, tried and tested through your amazing online cook book. Thank you. Ciao!
San Francisco Bay Area, California
Dear Angelina, It’s so nice to hear from you. Thanks so much for the kind words. And for spreading the word about the blog. I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying the blog and most of all trying out the recipes! All the best, Frank
Frank, just found your site today looking for octopus salad recipe we ate daily, while staying in Vernazza. Memories of cooking with my Mom and Nina, came rushing back as I was reading the recipes on your site. Nina came from Sicily and best cooking teacher, along with Mom. Long cooking days are a treasure, paired with great wine. thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge.
So glad I could bring back those memories, Susanna. And welcome to the blog! Hope you’ll come back often.
I just found your site this morning. Brought tears to my eyes. I too learned about food at my Grandmother’s home on Sundays. Every week my family traveled from New Jersey to Brooklyn to have Sumday dinner at her house. That is where I learned so many of the dishes from Italy and Sicily. My Grandmother was Sicilian and my Grandfather was Italian from Naples. Your recipes brought back so many memories and I am eager to try many of them although quite a few are dishes I already make. The lentil sauce is one of my favorites that my mom made on Fridays. Yours is the first time I have seen that someone knows about it. I have introduced my husband to many of these dishes over the years as he was brought up in Missouri and was not familiar with them. Thanks for this amazing site. I can see that I will be spending hours on it.
Thanks so much for sharing your story! And welcome to the site. I’m so glad to hear we’re able to bring back those old memories.. and recipes!
WOW! What a great blog. it’s so hard to find authentic Italian recipes. I’ve been trying to mimic my Noni’s food for years and always struggle with the recipes/information that is available – it seems every recipe has an American-spin or is simply lost in translation. I’ve been wanting to write down and publish all of my Noni’s recipes for years now – I was so surprised to stumble across this site and see how wonderfully and accurately each recipe is written – it’s just like I remember cooking with my Noni when I was a child. THANK YOU!
Thank you for the kinds words, Amanda. And welcome! Sounds like you’ve come to the right place… 😉 Unfortunately, you’re right about most websites, it’s hard to find the real deal, which is one important reason I started this blog.
Bravo Frank! I just discovered your website and what a find, I must say! The Italian nonnas are definitely the best out there when it comes to cooking secrets, so please accept my thank you for being so passionate about sharing those recipes and keeping those traditions alive.
Greetings from the Italian Food Boss! Ciao!
Thanks, Boss! I’m honored by your kind words.
Am trying to cook this dish for the first time since my parents passed away. Dad (he was from Sicily) used to make it but I thought I could teach myself from the internet. I have just spent an hour cleaning 2kgs of cuttle fish. Of course I got black ink everywhere but I think I have enough ink. I also covered all bases buying a jar of the ink as well just in case I failed at extracting the ink.
I searched for a recipe I could use to make the sauce up and have come across yours which is very much Like dad’s. I am going to cook it up in 2 hours time and my sisters are coming over to feast on it. Thanks heaps for this blog. Let you know if I pass my sisters’ critique … regards Pina (from Sydney Australia)
Thanks so much, Pina. I hope this works out for you. (Assume you’re commenting on the pasta with squid ink recipe? This is my “About” page…)
Good day Frank.
Oops sorry for writing on the wrong page. You’re the first blogger I’ve ever corresponded with so I guess I wasn’t concentrating.
Thanks for your reply however. I’ll go to squid ink recipe and let you know how it went.
Please do. And thanks for your comment, Pina!
I enjoyed listening to your interview with Paolo Rigiroli from “Thoughts on the Table”. Very interesting. It’s true that good photography is so important. It’s also true that many of today’s big food blogs have turned to video. I just don’t want to do that.
It’s always nice to see your little corner of the Internet.
Thanks so much, Kath!
complimenti. Gli articoli sono scritti veramente veramente bene! Ho iniziato una cosa simile anch’io per ragioni simili. Sei da esempio.
Grazie Elisa. Sei troppo gentile! 😊
I have been following your blog for quite a bit of time. I dont cook much Italian. I have not even cooked half the dishes of my own country namely India. But I like to read your posts. The same way as I would see a food show , some times I take some hints and use it in my own cooking. I actually love reading about food and memories related to it and I have read your Sunday lunch post nth times and just like your other posts they bring vivid imagery in front of me of cooking, laughing and eating.
Your posts are simple and that’s what makes them original.
Dear Ash, Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I do aim to make the posts instructive but also entertaining, while staying simple enough for anyone, so I’m delighted to hear you find them so. All the best, Frank
I’m greatly appreciative of your blog! It’s amazing and a wealth of knowledge about cooking. Thank you!
And thank you for your kind comment, Rose!
My grandmother & great grandmother were named Angelina – from Calitri- and I just found your blog while looking for a spring lasagna recipe. Love it ! I’m going to try the asparagus one for Easter. Thanks !!!
And thank you for leaving a comment, Kimberly! I think you’ll like the asparagus lasagna.It’s a keeper.
So much food and so little time! I found you by accident a few months ago and enjoy the stories behind the recipes. I grew up with Americanized Calabrian and Roman cooking and like to make food from the other regions. We have been to Italy a few times, especially to the areas my grandparents were from. In Anagni ( Lazio, Fronsinone), a long time ago, we had a roasted rabbit dinner with the cugini. I have been trying to find the method and correct flavors ever since. All I remember was the taste of rosemary. Any suggestions? Gratzie!
Hmmm… well, rosemary makes it into a lot of roasted meats, including rabbit. I have one recipe for spit-roasted rabbit on the blog. The rabbit is marinated in rosemary and other fresh herbs. Might come close…
My daughter directed me to your website and blog.
My father-in-law was born in Apice. We have visited several times. My husband’s cousins own a restaurant and hotel Il Sannio in Pietracina.
I love to cook but I don’t eat meat or flour or wheat so I don’t eat too much italian food I eat risotto fish potato and polenta of course all vegetables and fruits. this is the first time I am reading your blog I hope I can find some recipes if not I can cook something for my husband he eats every thing.
I hope you find recipes here that you like, too, Gloria. Welcome! Glad you found the site.
I just stumbled upon your lovely blog from John’s Kitchen Riffs. I too began blogging for non-monitary reasons, a simple repository of recipes. Sadly, I didn’t make it my own and now with almost 900 posts, I’m a little afraid of converting it. I look forward to parusing through your recipes in the near future.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Eva! Nice to “meet” you.
Guarda questa pagina, sono sicuro che ti piacera´, parla di arte e cibo in giro per tutta Italia….Un abbraccio Vittorio
Guarda questa pagina, sono sicuro che ti piacera´, parla di arte e cibo in giro per tutta Italia….Un abbraccio Vittorio
I can’t believe that I have not hopped over here before now. I love your history and how well you write about it. I have a bunch of Italian friends who hail from a town called Casalattico, in the Province of Frosinone in the Italian region of Lazio. There is a very strong food relationship amongst them and I love the window it gives me into the world of Italian food.
So glad you made it over here, Conor! And thanks so much for your kind words. You’re lucky to have friends who can introduce you to the world of Italian food. It’s the best way to get to know the cuisine. Hope to see you back here often!
I discovered your site recently and have been consulting it with amazing regularity. We are an Italo-Canadian family. ( my husband’s family if from the Veneto, I am a French-Canadian) Thank you so much for sharing your recipes with us. They are clear and concise and do not require exotic ingredients. I have tried to transmit my mother-in-law’s recipes to our 2 children: how do you know where you going if you don’t know where you’ve been? Our daughter is building her own repertoire of her Nonna’s recipes and our son is coming along nicely. His lovely wife is on board: one of her favourites is polenta con toccio! And yes, I’ve signed up to receive your updates. Molto graze!
I’ve been trying to duplicate a particular finger food my Mom would make. Unfortunately I don’t even come close, but i imagine this is true with most second generation Italians, could just never get it as good as Mom’s. I sure hope you can help me out on this one. I’ll do my best to describe the method of making them but i can never describe how delicious they were, so here goes. Btw my parents were from the Abruzzo region.
I believe she used a doe extractor similar to grease gun with a star attachment on the end.
She would fill the device and then while a pan with hot oil was on the stove she would extract the doe directly into the hot oil fry until browned on both sides remove it form the pan set aside to drain and immediately sprinkle table sugar directly on the pastries. I don’t know the doe was made out of but most likely a very simple recipe. I also do not remember the exact name when do I will email you. She made these around Easter however she would also whip them anytime. The finish pastry was about 6″ long and they expanded when fried.
I came across your website by accident when looking for a recipe for baby octopus! Lucky me! I love your blog and am so glad that there are special people out there that do something special to honour our heritage and the wonderful parents and grandparents we had growing up. I too have Italian parents who migrated not to American but Australia. My mum is an amazing cook and so is my mother in law, one from Napoli and another from Sicily. Thank you for your amazing blog that I will browse through it and enjoy every recipe!!
Thank you for following my blog. I look forward to reading yours.
Hi .frank! I knew from the beginning when I stumbled upon your website that I was entering into an authentic world of italian cooking. It is very interesting labor of love you have created! Thank you for sharing your love for cooking…and your passion for the Italian way…nothing compares to recipes learned from grandmothers!
A lawyer cook makes you even more interesting!
Chit from the Philippines!
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
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!
I am delighted to read your blog, stories and wonderful recipes.
Thank you for sharing!
Patricia from Washington DC.
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
Greetings from Adelaide Australia. Beautiful Blog Frank.
I came across it via a comment on Domenica Cooks. Being a blogger and mezza italiana I also blog about Italy, specifically Abruzzo at:
Grazie per tutte le ricette.
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.
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.
Kindly email me a ricotta gnocchi recipe. I do not see one in your recipe list. Thanks, Art
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!
Thanks so much, Barbara, for your kind words. And for your readership! Let us know how the recipes turn out for you.
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. =)
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!!
You’re welcome, Antonette! It certainly does sound like we have a lot in common even if we’re not related… ;=)
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!
Wonderful, Mary! Hope you enjoy the blog and visit often!
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
I’ve been meaning to look into that for a while now, but just haven’t had the time. Know of a good tutorial out there?
Thanks for passing on the link to your website! You are what I aspire to become! 🙂 Fantastic site!
You’re too kind, Lisa! Thanks for stopping by. :=)
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!
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 …
Hello, Ada! And welcome to our blog! Thanks for the kind words. Looking forward to hearing from you…
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.
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
Thanks for the kind words, Doris!
Your friend Tom is lucky to be able to grow his own produce. Did some of that in Italy and the difference in taste is incredible.
As for the cannellini salad, perhaps it was this one?
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!
That’s great, Bill! Thanks for the kind words and welcome!
By the way, your acqua pazza looks real yummy.
Bellissimo blog. Non so come sono arrivata, ma eccomi qui! 🙂
Grazie, J! Sei la benvenuta su questo mio umile blog… !