As I’m scouring my family recipe collection, I bump into an unassuming brown book wrapped in plastic, half hidden behind the taller, colorful ones. My paternal grandmother’s first cookbook, given to her on her wedding day, at the tender age of nineteen! She was an innocent, pretty, small-town girl, severely dressed in a stiff, embroidered white blouse and a dark, ankle-length skirt, her abundant chestnut hair gathered into a neat bun, as was the custom in those days, marrying into the most influential family in the area. Marrying a man, my grandfather, who was 23 years her senior, a widower with several children. Imagine that?
Well, many years ago, my father gave me the book, as a family heirloom, dedicating it to me. This cookbook is actually quite famous and grand, written by renowned gastronome and writer, Pellegrino Artusi.
In other words, this is the cooking bible of the turn of the century (that is, the 20th century).
I’m more than thrilled and honored to have it in my very own hands, thus connecting through food with the grandmother I never knew.
Pretty-much in awe, actually.