HOW IT ALL STARTED - THE MAKING OF A COOK

    Though my passion for cooking wasn't always as strong as it is today, the passion for food was always something I treasured. Being born and having spent my childhood and part of my adulthood in Milano, Italy, the love of food has been embedded in my DNA since before I could even name or taste it.

    My cooking training started accidentally at a very young age, when, due to the lack of space in my house where I could do homework undisturbed from the loud 80's music being played by my brother's record player, I found refuge in the sanity of my mom's bustling kitchen. 
Indeed, I owe my cooking exploits to my wonderful mother, Rita, who not only made sure that we were all well fed, but made it a point to add to her nutritious dishes the colors, aromas and creativity of her beloved Napoli (Naples, Italy), a city that thrives on good food and extraordinary ingredients.

    As a staple in pretty much all Italian families, minestrina was the first dish I ever attempted to cook on my own as I was approaching my preteen years. Of course back then, I did not know that 25 years later or so, at the age of 40, I would find out that I had Celiac Disease (an event that completely changed my life and cooking, which will be the subject of a future blog post), and which changed the way I approached cooking, thus resulting in new and adventurous food creations.

    I became aware of my interest in food and the possibility that I could actually cook something edible at the age of 16, when during a week-long trip to Pisa, after observing my hosts cook Risotto alla Pescatora (Seafood Risotto - pronounced: ree-zawt-taw), I decided that I would reproduce it and surprise them on their way home from work. The dish came out so successful, that they trusted me to cook for the remaining of my stay.

    I was not always a good cook... I can still remember the first time I made lasagna for a party when I moved to the USA from Italy, bragging that being Italian I was capable of making a mean Neapolitan-Style lasagna. Well.. that didn't actually turn out the way I had intended, and what I came up with was instead a concoction that was the most dry and the chokiest thing one could ever bite into. 
...And then there was my attempt at making home-made pizza dough... don't even get me started on that adventure and the disappointment in finding out that though my origins were Neapolitan, my pizza-making skills were certainly not!

    Many years have passed since my first cooking failures, and dish after dish, mistake after mistake, and success after success, I can now proclaim that I am at a very exciting phase of my culinary imagination and have a very creative recipe repertoire. 
Having had to switch from regular food to gluten free options, and trying to recreate all of the Italian favorites I grew up with has opened up for me new ways to combine various ingredients and marvel at their infinite applications. It has made the challenge of providing my celiac family with nutritious and exceptionally good tasting food that is also more interesting and appealing. Gluten free cooking has inspired me to encourage people who have been newly diagnosed and those who need to be on a specialty diet for medical reasons to go back to the basics of dishes that can be still full of flavor though cooked in simple steps.

    Gluten free can be delicious, variegated, and most of all stress-free! Anything featured in this blog can also easily be made with regular ingredients and other types of flours. (This is, after all, the beauty of simple recipes and their wonderful possibilities.)
    Follow me for easy cooking instructions that anyone can reproduce, and help me make this blog interactive by adding your comments, suggestions and/or asking questions wherever you can. 

    Thank you for sharing with me my versions of the gluten free cuisine. I hope to widen your food experience, and that you will feel encouraged to try these dishes! 

                                                Buon Appetito!
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