Sauce Talk 01

Discussions about Italian food and family. Good times at the table and in the kitchen.

More Sauce Talk >

sauce-talk-with-grandmaHere, I have placed some of my email correspondence in regards to my recipes that may answer a lot of questions and give you some good tips along the way… and the best part is they’re just plain fun to read! Good Italian food really brings back so many wonderful memories. If you have any wonderful memories and or tips in regards to great Italian cooking you grew up with or just want to talk about “the family” feel free to send them to me and I’ll throw them up on the site. Ciao.

 


Anthony!, Today I maka da sauce!!  Got Italian Music to Cook by on the tv.,( that’s an actual station!!!) Louis Prima singing Angelina!!! Lovin it…and got a glass of vino in my hand…heart is happy..tears in my eyes….thanks for the motivation and the recipes….and the memories!!! A big hug to you Antony!!,
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Christine, This warms my heart! So happy to hear you are tackling the sauce and doing it right!!!  Yes, the smell, the memories, the wine, Louis Prima, the wine…. It’s all quite fantastic! All day slow cooking is becoming a lost art, so glad to hear you are keeping the old-school Italian-American cooking going! Cheers, Anthony


Anthony, First a little background on Rick and Deb. I grew up with an Italian father and Scandinavian mother. Whenever I went back home to Johnstown, PA to attend any one of the numerous Italian family weddings or funerals throughout the years I was always conspicuous due to my height…5 61/2″. I was always the designated “center” in the pickup basketball games at family functions. Whether it was funerals or weddings the food was always memorable…kinda hard to be sad at my Uncle’s passing (age 80) when I knew the quid quo pro was my Aunt’s lasagna or free subs from Uncle Tony’s sub shop (still in business). Deb’s step-father Joe was first generation Italian so growing up she became familiar with all things Italian…no one could cook like Joe’s mother and Joe’s father would hang homemade Italian salami on the front porch roof even in July. Good Lord it’s a miracle that Joe’s many siblings survived into adulthood.Flash forward a few years when Deb and I meet and get married. We work “normal” jobs for a few years until we can follow our dream and open our own Italian pizza and sub shop. We did. “Momma’s” opened in the small rural town of Leesburg, Ohio (pop. 700 with no Italians in sight). THAT story is too long to tell but after a few very difficult years we actually became very successful. We buy a little house in the country and remodel our home around, you guessed it, the kitchen. We unabashedly created a restaurant kitchen in our small (one bedroom) country home. The kitchen these days would be appraised for 3 times the value of the rest of the house. Heck we don’t even have a living room per se. Our friends and family sit in the kitchen…they’d rather be there anyway. Deb makes all of our pasta fresh along with our bread, stuffed sausages, ice cream and virtually everything that has to do with hand crafted food. Rick is the sous chef i.e. dishwasher. Our vacations have always been food destinations. Hell, I can look at pictures of the Grand Canyon but too eat at Charlie Trotter’s and savor a meal crafted by people who love and respect food NOW that’s a vacation! We’d rather drive a Yaris so we can spend our disposable income on a nice espresso machine. I think you get the food picture where it concerns me and Deb, Anthony. With all of that said we spent approximately 2 days making Anthony’s Sunday gravy. We live 40 miles from a fabulous food emporium called Jungle Jim’s. It’s an Italian deli on steroids. We spent 3 hours on Saturday doing our food shopping for two weeks. Naturally, getting the ingredients for ‘Anthony’s Sunday gravy’ was no problem…and the quality is exquisite. Italian imported meats, cheeses and olive oils. It’s enough to make any son or daughter of Italy swoon. On Sunday we hit the kitchen and went to work. It was a long day but it was a labor of love. We have spent half our married lives looking for a spaghetti and meatball recipe that was like that served in the ubiquitous Mom & Pop ristorante’s of the 1950’s. Your recipe has ended that search…molte grazie! All of the hard work you obviously put into your web page was not in vain. Last night we had the great pleasure of enjoying the meal your recipe provided. The homemade ciabatta, garden salad, with my Main Man Frank doing the vocals rounded out our candle lit meal, kinda reminded us of our meal at Charlie Trotter’s a few years ago. High praise, high praise indeed. Thank you Anthony you’ve made a couple of gourmet foodies very happy! The only changes we made to your recipe was 1. no salt tomato products (doctor’s orders even though I’ve tried to explain to him that I have a “cured meat” gene that needs regular feeding. Na baby na! He’s cold, stone cold.) 2. we used our own stuffed ‘hot Italian’ sausages. Otherwise we followed the recipe EXACTLY. As a side note we made the braciole with non-pistachio imported Italian mortadella. OMG! Melted in our mouth. We’ve done all of these things many, many times before but this, this was Italian food heaven. Grazie. Molte grazie! Rick! P.S. Sometime this month we are going to invite our “foodie” friends over for our monthly “gourmet” dinner and so this month they will be treated to Anthony’s Sunday Gravy (we always give attribution so a glass of wine will be be hoisted in your honor, most likely many glasses). Damn, they are such “lucky dogs”.
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Rick, What a wonderful email!!! This makes me very happy and would make grandma Salerno proud! Wow, where to start with my response. There certainly was some amazing Italian food at weddings and funerals back in the day. I remember that well. Funny, I clearly remember a funeral where the reception afterword’s was at my grandmother’s house in Worcester, Mass. when I was a kid. There was amazing Italian food everywhere, it was a feast, most food I have ever seen in one place!! I can’t remember who the funeral was for but I certainly remember the food. I think I must have been around 8 years old or so. You just took me back there for a moment 🙂 Homemade salami… OMG!!  Yeah, I can imagine there was not much Italian food to find anywhere in Leesburg, Ohio…. Sounds like that was quite an adventure opening up your own restaurant. Has to be a LOT different trying to cook good Italian food in mass production. If I ever started an Italian restaurant it would have to be very small and intimate and I would cook all day for one large dinner for several families and that’s it, say maybe 40 people max.. One special meal a night for those who were lucky enough for reservations. This way I could pour lots of love into the gravy and all the meets and well.. There is a LOT of love and care that goes into a Sunday gravy you know? And would be a limited menu as well. OK, so that probably would not work. Where was I?…. House that is all kitchen… YEP…  house with one large kitchen and some bedrooms, PERFECT!!! Everyone always ends up in the kitchen anyway, that makes total sense! Reading your email has made me starving!!! I love the traveling for food concept. Wonderful!! So happy to hear you approached making this recipe with care. Taking a couple of days, carefully shopping for the ingredients and lovingly preparing and babying the sauce and the meats.. Wonderful! It really is a labor of love. All love for the food and the love ones that you are cooking for gets poured into the pot! Wonderful to see people enjoying my hard labor. It was a LOT of work getting the website worked out. So many important details to work out for making the Sunday Gravy with all the meats. There are a LOT of very important steps that have taken me years to squeeze out of my Mom and my Uncle’s. I spent a lot of time when I was a kid with my grandmother in the kitchen but there was much I took for granted and I did not pay attention to all details. Just enjoyed being with her and that amazing food!!! She taught me how to pour love into the cooking!  It was a team effort because each one of them remembered some details about how my grandmother made the sauce then the other did, some of the secrets had to sneak out during casual conversation talking about food. Like my uncle would say something along these lines: “Oh yeah, I remember when grandma used to fry up the salt pork and the house would stink and browning the meatballs and the house would fill up with smoke”… and I would say.. “Whoa, whoa… wait… What???? Salt Pork????, no one told me about the salt pork.. Backup… TELL ME EVERYTHING!!!!” … and so the conversations would go.  This went on for decades before I had everything nailed down to exactly how my grandmother made it. A real labor of love for sure! So you had the entire meal AND you had Frank singing? Perfect!!! eh.. doctors…… what could possibly be wrong with cured meats???   Their all cookoo, I don’t listen to doctors, I just exercise a lot and eat my Italian food 🙂 Mortadella… Oh yeah! Yes, you have lucky friends 🙂 I raise a glass of wine in spirit with you!  Happy Times and good eating! ~ Ciao, Anthony


Hi Anthony, I just wanted to thank you for sharing these recipes! I am not Italian and was born in Cincinnati, Ohio but was fortunate to have moved from Ohio, at the ripe age of 6, to Philly and then south Jersey. This was the beginning of my love affair with Italians and their food. I am forever grateful for the handful of years growing up on the east coast. I moved back to Cincy after 8-10 years on the east coast and was so distraught when I discovered that nobody in cincy knew how to make pizza, meatballs or a good ragu!!! Well, not to mention a philly cheese steak 😉 My mother stayed on the east coast and married an Italian so I would always look forward to visiting and getting my fill of good Italian food. I have been making spag & meatballs since I was tall enough to see the top of the stove…..not taught though…..I would pick up things here and there from neighbors and friends that were Italian and just figured it out eventually! 35 years since I moved from jersey and I still miss the food and the big families & gatherings….. Not a lot of Italians in Cincy but I love my city and home. I absolutely loved reading your web site and have been reading it all day today. I think this is the first time I have ever spent this much time on a web site but really enjoyed the recipes and stories. Took me back in time and very heart warming I did manage to get to the market today and picked up some chuck to grind and perfect timing finding your blog because tomorrow is Sunday!!!! Can’t wait to wake up and get started on YOUR recipe for meatballs and sauce! I’m fairly convinced it will be better then mine but it will be close. My recipe is really similar but I usually do spices, sugar all at once versus at various times. AND I never learned the Italian rogue trick! Who knew….. I’m sure your recipe is going to be wonderful and I can’t wait for dinner tomorrow One last thing, I totally agree that America has gotten away from family dinner and just how important it really is. I do attribute a lot of our social and moral issues in this country stem from the breakdown of the family unit and the dinner table is the family unit…..I personally never got married or procreated and came from a family that was broken and NEVER had family dinners……guess that’s why I started cooking at such a young age.! But I totally agree family dinner is important and I was always envious of families that had that so it was heart warming to hear your stories and feel the love just from reading this!
Thanks again for sharing and cheers to you and your family! ~ Julz Brown, Cincinnati, Ohio
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Hi Julz, Wow, LOVE this email. It warms my heart to get email like this. The entire website I have created is a labor of love for me! Yes, there is a lot of good Italian cooking going on in the northeast for sure! I grew up in Springfield mass and had family in Boston. My grandmother lived in Worcester, MA, a lot of Italians there! I had had so many wonderful moment in the kitchen with my grandma Salerno when I was growing up. She taught me how to pour love into the cooking! I also LOVE Philly Cheese steaks! So glad to hear you have been reading through the site. I have poured out a lot into it and tried to share the joy I experience growing up Italian-American. The family dinners where school for me. So much love, laughter and learning going on at the table for hours on end. We would literally have 6 hour dinners on Sunday. Was so amazing! I hope the sauce came out great today? Nothing quite like the smells in the house when making the Sunday Gravy with all the meats. Glorious! Takes me back to a simpler time every time I make it! Oh I 1,000% agree with you about the moral decay of our nation and the breakdown of the family unit. Less time at the table with the family has caused great harm to the country. I think it’s huge! I am sorry to here about the broken family and that you did not have the joy of eating at the table with the entire family when you were growing up. If you were a neighbor we would have invited you to join us!! So happy to share with you! And glad you are not afraid to attack the project of Italian slow cooking like grandma did it! It’s such a joy and is becoming a lost art. I am going to keep fighting for the family dinners and the slow cooking!  ~ Anthony


Anthony, Thank you for the recipe for Melonban soup. Finally someone other than my family knows what this is! My Aunt was shown how to make this from her mother-in-law, who I believe was Calabrese. I’m glad for the history you provided because I have always thought this resembled spätzle. The recipe is almost identical to the one my Aunt made, to the best of my recollection. I never was sure of the spelling either :). Lorraine
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Hi  Lorraine, So you are only the third person outside my family who knows about Melonban soup. You family history must have someone that lived near Bari, Italy. Seems to be from that region. Yeah, it took me a very long time to work out the Melonban soup recipe. Had to ask so many questions. it took several discussions with several relatives and discussions with website visitors as well. The history to a long to work out too. Such a wonderful meal! One of my favorites! A nice bowl of Melonban soup with the fresh semolina pasta and some fresh Italian bread and I’m in Heaven right back there at grandma Salerno’s house! Ciao,  Anthony


Hi Anthony, Just wanted to drop you a note about my recent discovery of your website. For many years, I have been looking for that fantastic sauce that has been eluding me since my childhood when my father used to take me to our favorite Italian diner in Rockford, Illinois. Now living so close to Chicago, you could find some good Italian restaurants in Rockford. But now living in Wisconsin, the culinary tastes change. I have been searching for something similar for years without success until I happened upon your website. What a jewel I found!!! One cold Sunday morning, I typed in AUTHENTIC ITALIAN SPAGHETTI and the website came up. I watched both of the videos and planned on making your sauce. I made a shopping list and off to the store I went. It had everything (spice wise) that I thought would make a good spaghetti. Garlic, I mean, lots of garlic, oregano, basil, sausage, how could I go wrong? I think the process is the key that I had been missing. I stopped at an Italian deli in Madison and purchased some of their homemade Italian sausages and I couldn’t wait to cook it for the second time using good ingredients. I started my spaghetti on football Sunday and had some close friends over later to test the sauce. My friends father was a chef an upscale hotel in central Wisconsin and she had told me that it was THE BEST sauce that she had ever tasted. SO I KNEW I WAS ONTO SOMETHING HERE! Now even though it was a hit, the time that it was off the heat was approximately 4 hours, but it was still fantastic. I think that if you can let it sit overnight, the spices come alive in the sauce. Nonetheless, I had so much fun making it while listening to the music that I downloaded, my wife was dancing in our dinning room to the music. And the smell in the house was just incredible! Two bottles of Chianti and full stomachs, we sent them home only to be talked about for weeks later. My wife’s cousin who thought he could cook made a recipe of his and it was horrible. He had some experience cooking in a restaurant, so I had to let him try and amaze me, but he failed at giving me what I wanted, a great sauce. One Saturday, I again made your sauce and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator and tasting it on Saturday night, it seemed like I had missed something. I had my wife’s cousin over for Sunday dinner and the first words after his first forkful was WOW! He also told me that it was the best sauce that he had ever tasted. He recently moved back to Oregon state and the greatest compliment that he could of given me was by asking for your recipe. While talking with a friend over a beer, we got to know each other by talking about all the foods that we had liked, such as a thin crust pizza, spaghetti, lasagna, etc. I had shared some of the leftovers with him, and as a train engineer who travels a lot to Chicago, he just raved about how good the sauce was and bought me MANY beers for sharing your sauce with him. I do have to admit that I cheated a little on some of the ingredients. I didn’t use the pork chops or the fatback. And I baked my meatballs as we are trying to watch our fat intake. Yeah, right! But thanks for giving me the best sauce recipe EVER! You can taste the love when you eat this stuff and that’s what it’s all about. Planning on making the rest of your recipes soon. PLEASE DON’T EVER TAKE YOUR WEBSITE down as I STILL need a refresher course every now and then. THANKS ANTHONY!!!
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Hi Matt, What a lovely email you sent me! Love it! Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I’ve had email overload. You are so right about the “process”! There is much importance to the actual process and grandma secrets and the amount of love you pour into the sauce. Yes, one magical thing about the Sunday gravy is when you let it sit all the flavors tend to improve. A lot of times I make the sauce with all the meats so the sauce is done late at night. I then just let the pot sit on the stove covered over night with the burner off of course. In the morning the pot is actually still warm. I then put it in the fridge and let it sit. Then take the pot back out and reheat it about 1 hour before the guests arrive. Total YUM every time! Oh by the way, making the sauce with football games on is one of my favorite was to make the sauce. WooHoo, glad I could get you man free beers with the recipe! 🙂 Also glad you are willing to take the time and make the sauce right like grandma did. This is not something you rush through. It’s an event to pour love into and share with others. I see you did not use the pork chops or fatback. I strongly encourage you to at least once make the meatballs while browning them in the salt pork grease. It really adds a lot to the sauce n regards to flavor! It was one of the grandma secrets that eluded me for years until it sneaks out during a conversation with my mom. Forget about the fat intake. Cook it like grandma! Try it just once. You can go jogging the next day or something. You will be amazed at the flavor when frying the meatballs in salt pork grease and then taking the meatballs right from the pan into the pot. It adds just a little bit of salt pork grease to the sauce the spreads through the entire sauce which gives it that special Italian grandma flavor!! Very happy to share my family recipes with you and happy you are not afraid to make the all day meals like grandma did. Ciao, Anthony


Hi Anthony, My name is Audrey and I just had to email you to tell you how much I absolutely love your website and spaghetti sauce & meatball recipe! Long story short I come from a large family of cooks, (my parents owned a catering business for 40 years) and I was married to an Italian whose mother made the best sauce (or gravy) and meatballs ever! Although she did share her recipe I could never seem to duplicate the sauce or the meatballs…until now! Everything she told me to do is in your recipe, but I guess I didn’t have the technique down. That she didn’t share. But your step by step instructions are so awesome, I call it the “spaghetti sauce recipe for dummies” because even though I personally already have a great cooking base, but you really include every details for those who might not know what to do or how to do it. If you follow it you can’t mess it up! I have shared this recipe and website with both of my sons (my oldest who is also an “Anthony”) who also loved their Gram’s sauce/meatballs. They agree this is as close to hers as you can get, and very Italian. Anyway, I know you probably get tons of emails but I just had to tell you how much I appreciated finding your website and to say THANK-YOU for caring enough about food and cooking to even share your recipes with the public. And also for the wonderful way you describe everything, especially the cooking with wine part. ; ) As you can tell from my email address I also love red wine and Italian food!! I can’t wait to try some of the other Italian recipes you have on the site. (I did make the Anisette cookies at Christmas and they were amazing!) Thanks again for the great website! A fellow fan of Italian food….. Audrey
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Hi Audrey, Sorry I am just getting back to you. So many emails, hard to keep up. I am so glad you are enjoying my labor of love. It warms my heart to see that people are enjoying my hard work and have the same passion for Italian food that I have. Wow, I’m very excited that you can now make the Sauce (Sunday Gravy)!! There are a LOT of details involved for sure that most Italians do not write down at all. You put, you taste, you put some more and you just know when it’s good! This is the Italian way. Awesome that you shared the recipe details with your sons. So are they making the sauce? I hope so! Make sure they pour lots of love into the cooking! That’s very important! Pouring love into the cooking for the ones you love! Yes, cooking with the wine helps a lot! It’s almost time for Anisette cookies again, Christmas is right around the corner. Thanks for sharing with me. This encourages me to keep going and add more recipes. I love sharing them and explaining the details. One thing I feel about cookbooks and online recipes is that they leave out so many details. Like, what is this supposed to look like when I’m ha;f way through making it and what is that strange baking tool you just mentioned that I have no idea what the heck it is, etc.. So many details left out. Well, that is my goal, to add each and every step of the process. happy to share with you. Peace and Joy! Anthony P.S. Since you last visited the site, I have made MANY improvements in regards to the overall speed and design of the site. I think you will find it to be a lot better! I have also added more videos. EnJoY!


Hi Anthony, Wow, I just found your webpage today and can’t tell you how excited I am. I’ve been looking for recipe’s that are like the ones my grandmother, aunts, father and mother made and it has taken me years to find yours, I’ve shared it with my sister and she is just as excited. First of all, your recipes could have come right out of our family recipe box (if there was one), but we are not allowed to share secret family recipes with anyone. The rule always was, you had to be in the family to get recipes and to get recipes you had to come over and watch and help make the meal. Your recipes that blew me away were your sauce, meatballs, braciole, chicken cutlets and stuffed artichokes! The clincher? When I saw the photo of your spaghetti and meatballs and I noticed that the pasta already had a little sauce on it before it was on the plate! I’ve never seen this anywhere else except for home. I also love watching your video’s, I can almost smell your kitchen and it was great because the ingredients you use, even the name brands, are the same as me. Seemed like I was looking into my own kitchen. Well, thanks for sharing your family’s love on this site, I will be spending a lot of time there. Also, when someone asks for my recipes, I will direct them to you. That way I’m still honoring our family tradition of not sharing (sounds bad, doesn’t it?). =-) And they can still enjoy Italian dishes the way I make them. ~ Marianne “Puccio/Purpura” Clever
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Hi Marianne, So glad you found my labor of love! Yep, sounds like you had the same childhood I did. Filled with great cooking and wonderful times spent with family in the kitchen and at the table. How wonderful! Not to be taken for granted! Really funny about the recipe and keeping them secret. I know what you mean about this. It actually took me a long time to get some very important grandmom tips out of my uncles. You have to have casual conversation about the wonderful meals and then carefully start talking about how grandmom made stuff and the secret leak out them 🙂 Italian are passionate about cooking, eating and talking about food! Feel free to pass mine on and keep yourself fin the family. I have a lot more recipes to come. Just have to find the time. I have a tripe recipe my grandmother used to make that my uncle gave me all the details too. It started with 15 lbs. of tripe!!! I have not made it yet because no one will eat it with me .. lol!!! Well, nice to meet you and happy to share with you. Happy cooking, Happy times and Share the LOVE! Ciao, Anthony


Hi Anthony! I just wanted to shoot you over a quick note from one home cook to another and tell you I LOVE reading your web recipes and stories! Keep cooking! I love cooking and my boy friend is always yelling at me for spending hours in the kitchen but I love homemade food and cooking it to perfection! ~Rock on! Rhonda
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Hi Rhonda, So glad you are enjoying my labor of love! Tell your boyfriend he’s a lucky guy to have you spending hours in the kitchen and if he were here I would slap him for complaining about such a wonderful thing 🙂 Ciao. Anthony


Hi Anthony! It was a few years ago that I first discovered your “gravy and meatballs”. I wrote you then to thank you. My wife of 55 years had always made a recipe from one of my cousins who was married to an Italian. We are WASP through and through. One day I say to her that sauce may come from an Italian but it doesn’t taste like what we used to get in the restaurants of Rhode Island. We live in Georgia now. Well after I cooked your recipe she said she would never cook her’s again because your was the best she had ever had. I have been making now for several years. (I have no concept of dates at my age). Your recipe was getting pretty beat up so I came back to your site this week and today just finished making it. During the years since my last visit to your site I noticed quite a few changes in the instructions. Most notable is the change in cooking the meatballs. This was always the hardest part for me but today it was a breeze. Thank you so much for making these changes. I’m kind of anal when it comes to following directions so I have always followed yours to the “T” so it never occurred to me to change the way I was browning the meatballs. I do have a curious question. As I was following the directions to the “T” I realized that I was in fact rendering Lard, something I learned this past summer. Is there any reason why I could not have just added some of my home made Lard to cast iron skillet instead of using the Fatback? Like I said I’m anal about doing things the right way especially in a field I’m where I’m not well informed. Now if you what to talk about smoking BBQ that’s a different story. Anyway tell me what you think about using the lard. It’s almost time to get the garlic bread going to I’ll just say Merry Christmas and I hope to hear from you. Dave, Buford, GA
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Hi Dave, So nice to hear from you again. Very glad you found your way back to my site. I have been working very hard on this labor of love and yes, I have added more videos and more details. Every time I make the gravy with all the meats I discover some small important step I did not have written out in the recipe, so I do try to add more detail to the recipe as life goes on. It’s been a fun process. The salt Pork thing was HUGE for me. It was the only thing I was missing to get my sauce to come out EXACTLY like my grandma Salerno’s. It was a magical moment when the small detail was revealed to me from my mother having a casual conversation with my uncles about my grandmother. You have to be sneaky about getting those family cooking secrets to come out! Something special about the salt pork grease, it really adds a lot of flavor to the sauce, you are not adding it directly to the sauce, but by browning the meatballs in the salt pork grease it picks up the flavor that gets into the sauce while the meatballs are cooking in the pot for 3 hours. I’m not really sure about the lard question, don’t know if that would be the same or not, I would have to try it out. I now know the salt pork method is exactly how my grandmother did it so that is good enough for me. Another huge thing I have discovered within the past 4 years or so is the beauty of cooking with cast iron pans. It’s the only way I sear my meatballs now. I have finally learned how to properly season a cast iron pan. Great to work with and you can get the pans super hot. Great for searing the meatballs. Also, I am very excited about my latest addition of the new and improved Taralli recipe. I have been working on perfecting this particular recipe for the past 20 years, finally I have nailed it down! I had a wonderful conversation with a nice Italian man who is in his 80’s and is a friend of he family and who knew my grandmother when she was younger. I got the missing steps from him. Anyway, so happy to have the Taralli figured out now 🙂 Smoked BBQ…. YUM! Ciao, Anthony


Anthony, Today my daughter made her first Melonbon Soup. We did not know how to spell it as this is a recipe passed down to us by my Italian parents, namely my father from Corato, Italy, near Bari, where this is popular and made by all his family. Mom was from Abruzzi, and she claims this was not one of their foods(but gnocchi were and were NOT in Bari). Needless to say, she learned to make it and passed it down. I never dreamed we could find this written anywhere, along with some other recipes I grew up with. THANK YOU!!! We sent this on to several family members. And now, we know how to spell Melonbon. We were laughing about the Italian we picked up that is not written anywhere as it was from the Barese dialect. I did not see whether or not you had Almond Torrone listed. I make that every Christmas in honor of my ancestors. This is another passed down, no measurement, do it by feel recipe. I get them to work and everyone keeps calling me as they get messes. Do you know this one? We get into all kinds of discussions about this, such as what temperature to put the pan on, to do it in the oven verses fry pan, what sugar to use, etc. Long live Italia! Grazie, Signore! Alice Sciscioli Pratt, Rochester, NY
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Hi Alice, Sorry I’m just getting back to you. I have had email overload! WOW!!!!!!!! Melonbon Soup!!! Oh that is a special recipe near and dear to my heart because when I make it I am instantly taken back to a simpler time long ago in my grandmother’s kitchen enjoying her presence and her food and her love! So special! It makes total sense that this is from Bari area. It is not a well known recipe and many do not know about it. The “few” people I’ve talked with that know the recipe are from the Bari area. Santeramo in Colle: Apulia Region (Puglia), 10 Miles south of Bari, Italy. So my grandparents brought that recipe with them. I LOVE the semolina pasta in the soup. So GOOD! Almond Torrone… oh my goodness that stuff is AMAZING! I don’t have a recipe for that. I have actually looked into making it but it is quite labor intensive! Still want to try it one day though. Check this out: Il torrone – Italian Nougat – with English subtitles (http://youtu.be/TggfpY-CT8s) 🙂 🙂 I would LOVE to see your recipe on how to make Torrone… willing to share? Thanks for sharing your story about the Melonbon Soup. Wonderful to hear there is somone else out there who grew up with this amazing soup! Ciao, Anthony


Anthony, I’ve always loved to cook and bake. It stems back to when I was a little girl and my Aunt, Uncle, and Grammy owned a little restaurant in the town I grew up in, called The Village Treat, or, more lovingly referred to as ” The Treat”- by those who frequented. Grammy was known as “the Pie Lady”, and I remember her standing behind the counter making pies. The days that we were lucky enough to go in with Mom and Dad and visit her, she would give us a little piece of dough to roll out, and some cherry filling( or whatever she was making, cherry was my fav!), and she had these magical teeny pie dishes, just our size! I grew up loving to be in the kitchen at home, always being interested in recipes of all kinds. I remember sharing cookie and bar favorites with my aunts, and pouring thru Mom’s cookbooks and recipe boxes. When Mom passed, my sisters knew that I should have her recipe collection. There are days I sit on the couch and just read recipes. Mom always made notes, “good! Yummy! Bake a little longer. Add more salt.” I do that too. She also kept a folder of all holiday meals, what worked and what she’d change next year. Of course I’m a note taker too. I love your site. Thanks for inviting me to tell my story. Tina
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Hi Tina, Very cool that you grew up in a family that had a restaurant. So much room for learning! I think “The Village Treat” is an awesome name for a restaurant! So did you learn how to make a perfect pie crust? There is an art to that. Takes a lot of practice. Yes, old recipes! I like going through them as well. Lot’s of good memories tied to them. Glad you are enjoying my labor of love. Keep on cooking!
Ciao, Anthony


Anthony, Our family loves good food and growing up in Kansas we are surrounded by Italian cooking. Over the years we have gathered many great recipes from restaurants, family and friends! however, we are still searching for a great canoli recipe. We have tried to fins some similar to the canoli’s we like in NYC. All of the ones we have tried seem to be a bit fluffy and not as creamy and rich as what we are looking for. I stumbled across your site a few weeks ago and have to say… I love the sauce and lasagna. Anyways, I thought maybe you could point me in the direction to a good canoli recipe. Thanks for sharing!!! ~ Christina
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Christina, That is one recipe I want to nail down making from scratch. Have not done this yet. That is one my grandmother never wrote down 😦 – This video looks pretty good. It’s on my list to try: http://youtu.be/DAvugOvuAuw Hope that helps. If you try it out, let me know how it goes. Ciao, Anthony


Hi Anthony! I made the bread today. I watched the videos yesterday all the way through! They were incredibly helpful and your written directions were full of great tips that are usually ignored in other recipes. The bread turned out great! I used 2 cups sprouted whole wheat flour in the second flour addition and sprayed water instead of egg whites. ( vegan 🙂 I will be sharing this recipe on FB. Thanks ever so much for the complete and detailed instructions. I’ve never had such a great rise on my bread! Eileen PS feel free to use my testimonial on your site! ~ Eileen
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Hi Eileen, So wonderful you made the bread! I so love working with the dough. Something about homemade bread, the entire process is quite special. Happy to share with you and very happy to hear it all came out good! Ciao, Anthony


Anthony! Just watched one of your videos on you tube. Great! I also now have your website on my computer and have been checking out your recipes. Just like my Grandmother and Mother. Looking at your videos and reading your stories here on line make me go back when I was growing up in Brooklyn, New York back in the 50’s and having my whole Italian family around and it was always all about the food. Everyone is gone now, I’m married, have two great kids, a great wife but not the way I grew up. Everyone basically has their own lives, kids will both be graduating college this coming June and we don’t have the Sunday dinners like I had when we grew up. I miss my parents, Grandparents. I’m retired but I got a gig at the local Walmart because after two months of being home, I had to do something. I’m so used to working with people. I’m making a lot less then I did on my job that I did for 38 years but I love it. Ten minutes from the house, 10% discount on the products and I love working in the Frozen/Dairy Dept. I guess I just like being around food. I stay in shape and it gives me a good feeling that they do appreciate me working for them and that I’m still useful. Anyway, I’m also a musician and use to play in bands in my younger years. We were pretty good too if I do say so myself. Keep up the good work and love your stories behind the recipes Thanks! ~ Dan
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Hi Dan, Nice to hear from you and glad you stumbled upon my labor of love. I know what you mean about everyone being all over the place and the big Sunday dinners are few and far between. I have two boys, one just graduated highschool and approaching college and one still in high school. I would say I am successfully and forcing everyone to stay at the table for a big Sunday dinner about 4 times a year. You have nice family dinners throughout the week but the big Sunday dinners, hard to get everyone together for this. I too miss my grandmother a lot. My mom is still around and I still call her for some Italian secret grandma tips. Yes, ti was all about the food back them. I am 49, and for me growing up was 70’s and spending a lot of weekend at my grandma Salerno’s house. I spent a lot of time with her in the kitchen because that is where she always was! Even when we were eating. She was always cooking! She taught me how to pour love into the cooking. That is the important part! Glad you are working, way better than retirement. Keep on cooking! Here’s hoping you get the family together for some big meals. Miracles can happen 🙂 ~ Ciao, ~8-) Anthony
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Anthony! Thanks for the email. Boy, email, my grandparents would be amazed at the way we communicate now eh? I remember when my grandparents lived up this 3rd. floor tenant in Brooklyn. Small apartment but we all and I mean all managed to get around the table in the kitchen. Those were the best times. Again, thanks for writing back so soon and I’m still watching your videos as of this time.
~ Dan


Anthony! I messaged you on Facebook about the Easter Pie and you were kind enough to write back. I think I am about 20 years older than you are – especially if you were a young kid in the 70’s. I have been a medical data and clinical workflow analyst but am now unemployed and have returned to my painting…which I like better (but the money is not exactly there LOL) And cooking. Keeps me off the street. Anyway, watching you make the meatballs and sauce was just like watching my mom when I was a kid. But after she discovered Ragu and Armour frozen meatballs, that became the tradition to carry on. Sad. (And not to mention I can’t stand the idea of sticking my hands in ground meat. But that’s another story and I am trying to get over it.) My grandpa used to make those bow-tie cookies at Christmas, and the grown ups used to drink little glasses of sweet wine or something with them. And zeppole (is that the spelling?). We make these every year -well I do or my grown kids will rebel against spending a Christmas day here. There are lots of recipes for those and we pretty much try a new one each year trying to find the “right” one. But my mother says they are not what she remembered – what they had was called Fried Men and were breadier. And I see you have a recipe for that as well. But I’m starting to think I need the whole Italian thing at Christmas instead of Rib Roast. They all would probably love it. My mother’s family is pretty much from the Naples region. Our family genealogy tends to say Campania. Your grandmother Salerno…if she comes from Salerno, that’s pretty close and I suspect the cooking traditions are fairly similar. My grandpa Anthony Vuolo from Gragnano came through Ellis Island in 1909 and my grandma Carmella Valluzzi was born in NY, NY 1896 and her family was from Italy. Her parents married in Italy and came over in 1881. (my husband does genealogy and he’s found so much). My dad’s dad was from Sicily…and his mother was excommunicated from the family for that sin. 🙂 I was born in Paterson, NJ and lived in NJ til I was 9. After college in 1977 I moved to Charleston SC..and now live near Columbia SC in Lexington. I am a Christian as well and am part of the Michael Angelo ministry…we do the sets and decorations for programs and VBS. Between us, my husband and I have 7 kids…6 girls and a boy. They range from 38 to 21. We have 4 grand kids…the oldest #1 has 2 (10 and 7) and #4 has 2, (21 months and 5 weeks). #3 is married no kids, #6 got married last September, #2 is getting married this September, #5 will announce an engagement for spring 2013 after #2’s wedding. And Young Son 🙂 …#7 is hiking the Appalachian Trail and just passed the 300 mile mark. We are so amazingly blessed. Adult children, especially when they have marriages and kids to share, are better than all the fantastic years of raising them up. :-). You have yet to experience it, but since you have big family things you know what I’m talking about. Forgive me if I am being too familiar, but I know I love hearing this kind of stuff from people and since you have a chatty blog, I thought maybe you would like to know who’s reading you. I would love to hear your story … Where your grandparents lived and all and how you came to be in NC. If you want to share. Anyway…I love your site, but I said that. Take care! ~ Christina
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Hi Christina, Sorry this is so late. Just seeing your email now. I have email overload. So kind of you to email and share. I’m not sure if you have seen the page on my website or not but I have created a special page that is all about my grandmother and the Italian side of my family. My moms side was the Italian side. My dad side of the family was English Irish but mostly Irish so I am 50% Italian and 50% Irish. Check out my grandmothers page here. My grandma Salerno maiden name (Capozzi) was from Santeramo in Colle: Apulia Region (Puglia), 10 Miles south of Bari, Italy. She taught me so much about cooking and love for food and family. It is deeply a part of me. My grand parents lived in Worcester, MA I spent a lot of time there. I grew up in Springfield, MA. Moved to New Orleans, LA when I was 12, lived there until I was 22, then moved to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, lived there for some time. Met my amazing wife and we moved up to North Carolina about 18 years ago. LOVE it here! I am 49. I grew up with the long 4 – 6 hour dinners…. Multiple Courses, lots of wine and food and wonderful conversation. I learned so much about life during those long Italian feasts… I try hard today to have those long family dinners. It’s getting harder with the boys being teenagers now but I still manage it every now and then. I have been trying to teach the ways of cooking Italian – cooking all day and pouring love into the food. I made a video a while back of me trying to teach the teenagers how to make the entire Sunday sauce (gravy) with all the meats. Great fun. It’s an epic 1hr and 30 minutes long… You might find it enjoyable. Teaching The Teenagers How To Make The Pasta Sauce With All The Meats. Anyway, that’s all for now. Busy working, will have chat more later. ~ Ciao, ~8-) Anthony


Ciao Anthony! My mothers parents are from bisceglie and fathers from agropoli at the bottom of the amlfi coast but my mother’s parents lived next to us and growing up in that setting with all the food was great. Now the grandparents are gone what i remember the most was my grandmother pizza almost a bread on cookie sheets big ones and at least 1 and ½ to 2 inches thick nobody keep the recipe of course because she nellie and pasquale pedone our grandparents were always there. Also nellies as we called them todods but really are tarelli made wicker clothes baskets full every holiday and we all eat them all day and everyone had to take some home were always gone by the end of the day. Nellies were always hard like a pretzel maybe just a little less no salt taste though. Anyways i found your site by a search looking for recipes from bisceglie we have a meat market in akron ohio and make our on sausage i was trying to find a recipe from bisceglie i need to email my cousins in bisceglie but thought maybe i would find one this way first. Also if by anyway your grand mother pizza recipe was a nice thick pizza let me know. I think it’s a great thing your doing to remember your grandparents for the future generation. I also wrote to our cousins in Italy after my grandfathers death in the 1980s since no one else had been to Italy since they came in the 1920s except pasquale 2-3 times over the course of his life. I started going in the late 1980s and 1990s then with my wife and finally 1 cousin came here in the 1990s then last year another cousin my age with her husband and 2 children came in usa now we have the connection between Italy and Akron forever and some of the kids now know each other and if i had never wrote that letter and made that trip in the 1980s the connection between our family’s would be completely lost since my 4 grandparents are the only ones to come the rest stayed in bisceglie we actually have as many relatives in Italy near 100 as we do here nearly 150 people. ~ Bob
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Hi Bob, So nice to hear from you! So glad you found my labor of love! Yes, my grandmother’s pizza was extremely thick. Her pizza consisted of about 1″ of bread dough with tomato onion filling. LOTs of onions and another 1″ bread dough on top of that and it was baked in a lasagna pan! I have her filling recipe noted in my Onion Tomato Bread recipe. I changed it up a bit. But if you took this recipe and cook it in a Lasagna pan with dough on bottom and on top that would be how she made it. i too have relatives I must visit in Italy. You have inspired me. I need to write a letter. I have a long story about my uncle Johnny visiting and trying to find our relatives. All he had was a name of a town and a family name. He had to do a lot of searching and knocking on doors in the back country but he did find our relatives. Once they knew he was the son of my grandmother Anna Capozzi Salerno they let him right in a 7:00pm at night and cooked him a meal! You have to love Italian! 🙂 Would love to chat more but have to run to work. Sorry it took me so long to respond to your email. I have email overload. Happy cooking, Happy times and Share the LOVE! You gotta put the love into he food or it’s no good!  Ciao, ~8-) Anthony


Anthony! Absolutely fantastic recipe. I have made this recipe about 4 or 5 times now and it truly is a thing of beauty. After my grandfather’s sauce, this is the BEST thing I have ever tasted in my life. The closest I have tasted to my grandfather, Angelo’s sauce. I am doing the double batch this Friday (two separate pots like you suggest) for the family. I’m taking the day off of work to make this as it is an all day event for me! One thing I’d like to add though…the first time I made your sauce I made the chops along with everything else but the braciole. Everything to a T. But growing up my grandfather made his sauce with pork spare ribs and since every time I tasted your sauce it made me think of him, the next time I made it I used the space ribs instead of chops. I brown the ribs like just like I would be making the chops before submerging them in the sauce. It came out great! The meat falls right off the bone just like his did, the bones are literally clean when you pull them out of the sauce and it adds such a great flavor. If you’re in the mood to switch up your hallowed recipe try the ribs! I can’t thank you enough for sharing your recipe with the world and the painstaking detail that you put into it. And for bringing back fond memories of my grandfather. I didn’t think I’d taste anything even remotely close to his sauce again but you did it brother. Thanks Again! ~ Angelo
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Hi Linda, So glad to hear you are enjoying the sauce. My grandma would be so proud to know her recipes and traditions are continuing on. That is a very special recipe for sure. What makes it special is usually if your going to cook all day like this you are pouring some love into that cooking as well for those your are cooking for. That is the real secret. That is where the flavor and memory making stuff kicks in! Yes! Two pots!!! Love it!!! You know, I have heard this several times now. I find it so hard to stray away from how my grandmother used to do it, but I think I am going to have to break down and give the pork spare ribs a try! It’s amazing how much flavor pig has 🙂 I am also honored to know that my sauce comes close to your grandfathers and am glad to hear it’s not better. The sauce you grew up with should always be the best ever because along with the tremendous taste there are good times and fond memories of time spent at the table with family and friends and that is something very precious! I have a new recipe coming up on the site very soon for Chicken Soup with Homemade Semolina Pasta. My grandmother called this dish “Mellonbam Soup” Or “Mellan Bon Soup”, I’m still trying to nail down the history behind this dish and the name. This is a wonderful chicken soup with Semolina pasta cooked with the soup in the last few minutes before serving. This is exactly how my grandma used to make and it’s glorious! Took a while to get it, but I finally nailed it down. Now I just have to write out all the details. Here is a sneak peak Grandmom’s Chickon Soup photo shoot! Anyway, I am happy to share my family recipes with you and am very glad you are enjoying them. Keep the traditions going. Nice to see people not afraid to be in the kitchen all day. Ciao, ~8-) Anthony


Anthony! I am 58 years old this year. I have spent soooo much of my life regretting that I didn’t watch my mother cooking growing up. She was an incredible cook and now she has passed many years ago. I buy cookbook after cookbook trying to figure out the recipes I grew up with. Something was always wrong! Your website comes closer than any other that I have searched for years. I can tell these are my mom’s recipes. Because you brought back my memories of her in the kitchen. I can know pass them on to my children and grandchildren. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the time you put into this website. ~ Linda
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Hi Linda, It warms my heart to know that I could help you out with getting these recipes back. I can so understand what you are talking about. These Italian grandma recipes are so special. It’s why I have spent some much careful time getting all the special grandma tips written down finally! It’s a journey I started about 15 years ago. A lot of hard work has gone into getting these recipes just right and emails like your make it all worth while 🙂 Any written recipes I have of my grandmothers are vague to say the least. Some sugar, some salt, cook until done, no oven temp, etc…. I did spend a lot of time in the kitchen with my grandmother when I was a kid so there are a lot of tips and tricks I remember. Others I had to slowly over the years extract from my Mom and my uncles.. Crazy Italians! Secrets that just takes years to finally be released! You have to be sneaky and get the relatives talking about the old days 😉 It took me many many times with much trial and error to finally get them to where I have them You just know when you have nailed it because the smell, the texture and the taste instantly takes you way back to your grandmas kitchen when it was simpler times and there was so much love and laughter share in the kitchen and at the time. It’s quite emotional! It’s so much more about the food! I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. … for example… Christmas, grandma makes her special Anisette cookies that ONLY come out during Christmas and it’s been a whole year since you had some.. MAGICAL! Or the sausage bread, or the ricotta cheese cake or.. oh MAN! I could just go on and on!!!!! Oh.. the 5 hour dinners that seemed to last forever… such a joyous time it was. Those traditions are slipping away! Keeping families at the dinner table is becoming a lost art. Fight to keep it going I say! We must not loose this. I am on a mission to get every single recipe my grandmother used to make spelled out in detail. It might take me another 20 years but I’m on a mission and someone has to keep the traditions in the family going 🙂 Happy cooking, Happy times and Share the LOVE!!!! It’s really the most important part and is what makes all the food so wonderful.. it’s the Love poured in!!!! Ciao, ~8-) Anthony


Anthony! I just want to thank you for sharing your family’s history and food with us. I think that this is truly the best site I have ever found. It shows the love and ca-passion for your family, and the truly great things that are missing in this America that we live in today. Your story tells how much that we have let the great family values and tradition, that we had we let slip away. I love to cook and have had many restaurants and I must tell you there are very few people that have the love and devotion that you show about your heritage and your family. I can relate to your story I was raised the same way, with the family around every Sunday, my uncle Danny playing the accordion and everything seeming to be OK. People helping other people and everybody looking out for there neighbors, it was a time for respect. We made our own wine and my grandmother made apple strudel every Sunday and chicken soup and she never used a recipe. You had to watch and learn and it never seemed to taste just like hers, but I think that is because hers was made from pure love of her family. It is to bad our kids never understood what we tried to explain to them. It is something that you had to be raised with in your life. I am older now and I miss all the good times that we shared growing up and I tried to explain them to people but people don’t seem to care or just don’t understand because they never got to share such a great time in our lives. Almost all the old timers are gone now and most of the family doesn’t seem to CARE, their all trying to buy bigger houses and get rich. But you like me had riches that few people had, even if sometimes we did not know it. The old timers did not have a lot of money buy they had a lot of love that money cannot buy, so thank you for your wonderful recipes, and your wonderful love of your heritage and family! ~ George
P.S. I am Croatian and was raised with Italian friends and I can relate to everything you said God bless.
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Hi George, Oh yes, I so agree with you. So much has been lost in regards to family being together and spending time with each other and just enjoying the simple things. I remember having dinners on Sunday that would last at least 5 hours long. Sitting at the table, several course meals with much love and laughter through the entire time. Such great simple times. I have my own family now and I try very hard to keep that going. Sitting at the table for dinner time is maintained as something very important. I guard that against this world of business and fast food and overwhelming media we now live in. The times I remember spending at my grandparents house, those long meals, the amazing smells and food. It was all really quite wonderful and your right, I definitely appreciate it more now then I did then. I remember grandma Salerno always saying “mangiare, ottenere grandi” (Eat, get big!). I learned to take small plates of food so I would always have at least three plates of the main dish. This would make grandma so happy she would be beaming. You want to make an old Italian lady very happy? …have 3 plates of her food! 🙂 You are 100% correct about the pure love for her family making the food great! That really is what made it great! My grandma Salerno was always in the kitchen, pouring in all the love that she had into her cooking for us! It was very special, there is something very special about that. I catch a glimpse of that when I cook for my family now. You just love to see them enjoy the food that you worked all day making. Brings joy to your heart. What your are talking about, the old times with family and great food is something extremely hard to explain. My website which is a labor of love for the food and for my grandma who used to make it is my little attempt to try to share what I felt and to try and keep that going for other families. I just love it when a young couple just married, a wife finds my site and learns how to cook an amazing meal for her family and she rights back and shares how much fun she had cooking all day with the family and with the family helping out and how much they all enjoyed the food and most importantly their time together. That just makes my day when I get those emails and I get a lot of them. It’s like it’s almost a new concept to some, spending all the time in your kitchen and with your family 🙂 Well, it just makes all the hard work and effort all worth while. Peace to you and long life and happiness and share the love and keep those good times going. Take time out to have a long meal and laugh and love at the table. You know it’s funny, just typing this I remembered a time when my grandma Salerno was teaching me how to grate fresh Parmesan by hand. I remember telling her how hard it was and she just said, just keep grating, and no cheating, use the small holes not the large ones!!! That was a special time. I really cherish those memories so much.! Thank you for your nice letter. God bless you too.)! Ciao, ~8-) Anthony


Hi Anthony! Anthony, Anthony, Anthony.. love to your wife, lucky lady and thank you so much.. you wouldn’t believe my three sons, Armand, Peter and Paul hugged around me as we read your recipes and howled. MOM !! Armand said:” He’s related to us!!” We are the Campanile family although their Dad died many yrs. ago and I am now Diane Beverly (he’s a redneck southern boy from VA,) quite a change but he’s ok he love’s our food only thing bad I could say about him is he eats pickles with my spaghetti! We tease him unmercifully.. Also Mama Campanile taught me to par boil pork neck bones briefly.. rinse them then fry them …then put them in the sauce.. We fight over them at the table!!! And pork braciole (definitely NOT good for you) I make once in a blue moon from pork skin.. I find this in Spanish grocery stores.. We are from Jersey City and live in Orlando now for the past 40 yrs. Home of the “rat” so if you guys ever come to see Mickey.. you must let us know and we can cook up a Sunday meal to share. Mi casa es su casa. Ciao! ~Diane
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Diane, So glad you love the sauce pages. They are a labor of love for sure! I love to share these recipes and love the stories I get back. So many grandmom’s never shared these secrets! Anyway, please tell Armand, Peter and Paul that Anthony says Hi and they better know how to cook some good Italian and keep it going for their kids. Make sure you teach them about having big dinners at the table and learn how to laugh and love and enjoy family. Tell them I said “love your family! capiece?” 😉 … pork neck bones in the sauce? Sound wonderful! Happy cooking and happy times :-)! Ciao, ~8-) Anthony
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Dear Anthony and familia…. I will go to your site first thing in the morning when I have time to relish it… Glad you found us, we printed everything you ever wrote in your recipes and made our “Anthony” book. I had to make three books for my three sons, so they got one each for xmas!! It was the best present they received all three said… (do they love to cook or what?) take care.. I will visit your site often for updates… with Love.. from our house to yours…. Ciao, Diane
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Diane, Wow, you made a book from the site.. Three even! I am honored and I know grandma Salerno would be so pleased to see her meals being shared with others families. Good long meals with family at the table laughing and loving, it’s just so important and becoming a lost art. I’m so glad to share these with you and thank you for teaching those boys to cook. It’s important! Happy cooking,  ~8-) Anthony


Anthony…Meatballs! The BEST I EVER MADE!!! I am originally from Providence, Rhode Island where we specialize in your kinds of Italian/American dishes-and I always thought I was a pretty good Italian cook, UNTIL I stumbled upon your site by accident and started reading-Your site is VERY funny/witty AND educational-I could not stop reading-I finally had to go to the printer and printed out several recipes-The sauce and meatballs one came out first-I made the sauce with the two pork chops-Amazing-I would NEVER have thought of that-I made the meatballs,too, but WITHOUT the Parm Cheese-also skimped on parsley, and did not use the whole-wheat roll-good, but boring- Tried it AGAIN last week, following your meatball recipe to the T this time-Spent $9.00 on real parm/regg. cheese, got a whole-wheat roll from Fresh Market(which you have in N.C.) and did it right-lots of Italian chopped parsley! These meatballs were SUPERB! (Did not forget the SUGAR!) My husband was floored, me too! I even collect Italian cookbooks when not cooking from scratch daily, and YOUR RECIPE was the BEST! I am still in SHOCK! Next time, I will take photos to send to your site-I LOVE the visitor photo section! I have been cooking Italian food from scratch since 1972, and now that I am hooked on your site, I am going to try the other recipes also. GRAZIE! as we say in Providence. Susan, now living in Satellite Beach, Florida (I buy my stuff in Orlando). ~ Susan… now living in Satellite Beach, Florida
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Hi Susan, “Funny, witty AND educational…” WoW! Thanks for the compliment. I think things like recipes should be entertaining and fun to read. I read recipe books and they are just so boring, so business like! Common, it’s just cooking, make it fun and interesting and get the whole family involved, that’s what I say 🙂 Another thing about cookbooks, most of them have very little photos if any at all and if they do give you photos it’s ONE, one photo of the final product… hmm.. but what do I do in the middle and what’s this whats-ya-macallit your talking about here and where do I find this very strange food product your mentioning that I never heard of and what kind of meat exactly? I mean what park of the cow? There are so many parts…. so on etc… I have a dream that one day I will have a cookbook made and it WILL have MANY photos and explanations and actually be user friendly and fun to read. I have always felt that when people write about something they should just write like they are having a nice conversation with you. Anyway… , so glad you took the time to walk through the meatball process step by step exactly 🙂 I find it very fascinating how many people will make the recipe but will not follow it exactly; they always want to throw in their own twists. It is the nature of Italian cooking really. Actually it is quite rare to have this kind of Italian recipe all spelled out in detail with measurements even! When I was a kid I would help my grandma cook a little bit. And she NEVER measured anything, she put some of this and some of that and tasted and then put some more, she just knew! It was like magic! My Mom would do the same thing! How do you know what to put in I would ask. The answer?…. You just know. It’s all a matter of tasting. Well, 44 years later and 100’s of questions and a LOT of trial and error I nailed it! I finally have it figured out and now.. I NEVER MEASURE! LOL!!! I understand now, she’s right, you just know! The key is you have to make the recipe over and over and over until it’s just second nature, that’s the trick! The big secret really is the amount of love you pour into the food when you are cooking it for love ones. That’s what makes it all taste so good! The visitors photo section is my favorite part of the site, that and the sauce talk section. I actually have about 22 pages of email conversations I need to get up on the site. It’s so much fun conversing with people about the sauce and their family history and what they remember about their Italian grandmas. Just a blast!!! I would love to receive some photos from you to add to the site. I look forward to them. Satellite Beach, Florida.. Oh, you’re up by Palm Bay and Melbourne with Vero Beach just south right? I used to go to Vero beach and Jupiter beach a lot. I loved Jupiter beach. I lived in Fort Lauderdale for about 12 years. Enjoyed my time there a lot, but now loving it in NC 🙂 Well, I have to dive into work now. Have an amazing day!! …Happy cooking, Happy Times and share the LOVE!, ~8-) Anthony
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Several Months later…. Dear Anthony,  I am a long term fan of your sauce and meatballs, always making it! I am leaving for Providence, Rhode Island and I just re-printed out your printable version of the whole 10 page recipe to bring up there with me! I will be cooking up your recipe to everyone I know up there (We have a Little Italy called Federal Hill where I can REALLY stock up on Italian goodies!). After I unpack myself at my Mom’s house, I will be heading up to THE HILL, as we Rhode Islanders call it, and load up on egg biscuits/Sardinian olive-oil (the BEST!) San Marzano Tomatoes in BIG cans/Anisette cookies (these are HOMEMADE up there) and lots of other stuff. Then, I will start cooking! I plan to introduce everyone up there to your very well written, amusing site! And the recipes are great! In the old days, I always made watery sauces-never was taught to use tomato paste! Now, thanks to you, what an improvement! I also love your reader’s tips-Used the fennel seeds once-Prefer the sauce without them, though I love fennel! maybe I put too many in. They are like cooking with lavender blossoms-only need a few! Ciao! ~ Yours truly, Susan of Satellite Beach, Florida, formerly a Providence… Italianized-American girl.
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Hey there Susan.. you Italinized-American girl, So glad to hear you are always making the sauce. Nice to hear it was printed out and traveled to Florida 🙂 I hope it made many stomachs and souls happy. That’s a good thing. Big meals are not being made enough these days. It’s all fast food and processed food and quick eat and run. People are forgetting the art of just cooking all day and having a nice long meal with the family. It’s so important! So much love and laughter is shared at the table, people are missing this simple joy they could be sharing with each other. Anyway, I was just in Florida for Christmas. I was in Ft. Lauderdale visiting family. I used to live down there for 10 years. I’m a Massachusetts boy that moved to New Orleans then Ft. Lauderdale, then North Carolina. OH, how I love North Carolina. I am NOT leaving this place ever. I think I have finally found home 🙂 …Homemade Anisette cookies.. Is there anything better? I think not 🙂 Yeah, the fennel tip was a good tip, although I usually make the sauce with the sausage, so I don’t normally add the fennel. ooooh, water sauce.. no paste.. oh that’s not good. I’m glad your using paste now. So, what is the name of this (best) Olive Oil your speaking of? I want to try. Can it be purchased online? OK, well. I’m off to make some homemade country style Italian bread. I’m on my 5th try in the past 2 weeks. I almost have it nailed down perfect! I am SO excited about this. I have been wanting to master Italian Bread for a long, long time! My grandmother would be so proud to know that her grandson can now make Italian bread. I just wish she was her so I can server her some fresh baked Italian bread and see the smile on her face. Well, happy times, happy cooking and share the LOVE! ~8-) Anthony


Ciao Anthony! I’m a second-generation Italian-Australian and I too have fond memories of a childhood growing up with Nonna’s cooking. Every Saturday as kids we would drive down to my father’s parents’ house in Brunswick (one of the major Italian suburbs around Melbourne, Victoria) for a home-cooked dinner with my cousins. She used to cook all kinds of amazing food; lasagna, cannelloni, pizza, rice, chicken cutlets, and not to mention my favorite, arancini! And when it came time to make the home-made salami, we would have the pork ribs and all the other delicious parts of the pig that we couldn’t let go to waste. But it wasn’t just about the amazing food, it was what it all represented, and how it brought the whole family together on a regular basis. One of the greatest things about my nonna’s cooking is that it was the catalyst for us to spend time together, and the dinner table is one of the most important places where this should happen. This for me, is probably the most cherished part of my childhood, and I know that growing up with this family ritual and sense of togetherness is what made me the person I am today, and I owe a lot to my nonna for that. I’m 19 now and sadly, much has changed since the good old days which I miss pretty dearly. Nonna passed away just over 3 years ago and it had quite a big impact on my family. She had been suffering from Alzheimer’s in the later stages of her life, and it came to the point where she struggled to remember names and faces and ages. Naturally, this also had a severe effect on her cooking, and it was probably at this stage where I had come to realize just how important Nonna’s cooking had been as a real foundation for the family and how we connected and spent time together. There was a certain sadness as Nonna came to accept she was no longer able to cook like she had used to, and even more so for us as we realized that we may have taken the times we had for granted, and hadn’t learnt her recipes and techniques so we could continue to pass down as family tradition. It’s definitely something that I regret now. 3 years on and it’s not hard to see how times have changed. Maybe it’s because we’re all grown up now and so much busier than the simple times of childhood, but we just don’t get to see each other as much as we should anymore. Dad visits Nonno a couple of times a week to check he is going ok, but it’s pretty clear that we’ve lost an essential part of what brought us all together. I really only get to see my cousins now at special occasions, birthdays and the like, and when we do see each other I’ve noticed that we do tend to talk a lot about the old days and our fond childhood memories. But enough about the sad stuff, because in reality, how we feel now is just reflective of how great a person my nonna was. She was an amazing woman who is one of the greatest cooks I’ll ever know. Though we may have lost some of these recipes and the opportunity to learn them, Dad still likes to cook with influences from his Calabrian heritage, and it’s encouraging to see that there is still some element of tradition being passed down. It may not be exactly the same as the old days, but maybe it isn’t such a bad thing that our cooking styles evolve and transform through the generations. Having learnt from the missed opportunity, we’re making sure to learn all we can from my mother’s parents, as there are many fond culinary memories from this side of the family, and much of what I’ve said before applies to this side of the family as it does to my dad’s side. But knowing what I know now, and being able to appreciate the fond memories I’ve had in my life, it’s so good to see someone like you who is so determined to keep your family tradition going. I can’t speak enough of how important I see what you’re doing, not just for your family, but for all the people who are lucky enough to have stumbled across your site. And again, I want to let you know that the work you’ve done so far with your site is very much valued to people everywhere, and I wish you all the best of luck with it into the future. ~ Much love from Australia, Michael.
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* Michael went on to ask me several awesome questions, of which I answered in depth. I have those questions and answers in my about page because I felt they answered a lot of questions in regards to why I actually created this labor of love in the first place.


Dear Mr. Baker, I am writing to thank you for sharing your recipe for pasta sauce on your Web site, SpaghettiSauceAndMeatballs.Com. I love to cook. It brings me a lot of enjoyment. And I’m good at it. I can make French dishes, seafood dishes, and a Turkey dinner that all would blow your socks off. But I’ve never been able to make a good pasta sauce. I’ve tried many recipes, and none of them made the cut. Tonight, I made yours, following your instructions to the letter, including the constant stirring. I even added the garlic, for which I have never developed a fondness. And it was simply fantastic. Just perfect. Now I can make my own sauce, and it’s going to be yours — for years to come. I’ll always call it Anthony’s sauce, and I’ll tell people about your Web site. Thanks a lot for filling a big hole in my love for cooking. Best to you and yours. ~ Jim P.S. If you ever have a problem with your computer or need help choosing a new one, don’t hesitate to give me a holler.
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Hey Jim, So glad I could help you find the right sauce. Problem with finding a good recipe is that there is no measuring if you make it like grandma did. Grandma would say, you put, you taste, you put some more, you taste and you just know when it’s done 🙂 Well, I had to ask a LOT of question and I never did get the “whole” recipe until I talked with my grandmother, “ALL” of my uncles and my Mom before I got the “WHOLE” story and all the secrets. But I am very glad I have written down every single detail for this wonderful sauce that I remember from my childhood. I wanted to make sure this tradition kept going. The problem with most family’s today is that they don’t want to cook all day anymore, nobody has time, they are all too busy with today face-paced life-styles 😦 Big meals with the family is becoming a lost art and that is a sad thing. For me and my house, we will eat large and cook all day and sit at the table and actually talk to one another 🙂 Peace my friend and keep on cooking. Have a fantastic day! Ciao, ~8-) Anthony


Hey…… Anthony! I just happened to come across your website while where? Uh….at work. Imagine that? Anyway, you more than likely know by now that I am Italian. Well, to be exact….I am Italian on my mother’s side. She’s from Calabria. Dad, well……he’s Sicilian. Oh, and they came here when my mother was pregnant with me. I guess you could say I was an import. :o) My childhood was for the most part very interesting since we were the only Italian / Sicilian family on my block. It was really great to here my mother yell my full name at the top of her lungs……”Roxana Maria Giovanna Lucia Vitale” while standing on the front porch. Yep….real fun. Then there was my brother, Umberto Nunzio Geno Vincenzo Vitale ( we just call him, Rob ) and my sister, Rochelle Alena Faustina Lena Vitale ( we called her, Chelle ). During the Christmas Season did your family celebrate the “The Feast of the Seven Fishes” on Christmas Eve”? My family sure did. The main course was the stuffed female eel (the Sicilian side)…oohh….yum! Then the broiled bacala with olive oil and breadcrumbs. To this day I can not stand the smell of eel. You know then muscles, calamari, shrimp etc…..We also gave gifts on January 6th (the Epifiano). My mother said we still had to behave after Christmas so “La Befana” ( the female Santa ) would bring us gifts. I’ve looked at your recipes and I am going to try your version of “Braciole”. I have the recipe of my nonna ( my dad’s mom ). Like most of those old school nonnas she only had ingredients but, no measurements. What she gave was written down on a napkin. Through trial and error I have it down now to a science on how to make friggin’ braciole. I’ve given you below two of my familia’s Christmas recipes one for cookies and one for a side dish. Feel free to try them out.

SPUMETI (Chocolate-Hazelnut Meringues)

  • 1 lb. Hazelnut meats, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb. Powdered Sugar
  • 2 + cups Flour ( the + is because you might need to add more depending on the temp in the kitchen )
  • 2 tbls. Cocoa
  • 5 – 6 egg whites
  • 2 tsps. Cinnamon
  • Preheat over to 325 F. Cut brown paper to fit 2 baking sheets and grease lightly. Put hazelnuts, powdered sugar, cocoa and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add egg whites. Mix well until is blended. This the tricky part……you have to first add 1 cup of flour and mix. Then add the 2nd cup of flour and mix. The batter should be the thickness of like, pancake batter. If not keep adding flour until it is. That’s the reason for the “+”. Scoop out balls with a spoon and put onto the baking sheets. 1 inch apart. Bake for approx 25 minutes. ZUCCHINI IN AGRO DOLCE (Sweet and Sour Zucchini):
  • 3 tbls olive oil
  • 4 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbls vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 3 tbls pine nuts
  • 1/4 raisins
  • In a large skillet, heat oil and sauté the garlic to you see the oil bubbling a little. Add zucchini and sauté on both sides until it’s golden. Add the pine nuts, raisins, salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 3 minutes. Mix the vinegar and water and pour into the skillet. Cover and simmer real slow until the zucchini is tender. Maybe about 10 minutes. When done you let sit and serve at room temperature. Well….I’m going to be going now. I’ve taken up a lot of your time here. Plus I should get back to work. I hope you do enjoy these recipes. ~ Ciao Bella!, Roxie

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Roxie, Man! I just can’t believe you were surfing the Internet at work.. geesh! “Roxana Maria Giovanna Lucia Vitale “ …wow! Nice name! 🙂 Mine was much shorter being yelled from the porch.. Annnthooooooooonyyyyy!!!! I would hear that when I was in the woods with my friend about a 1/2 mile from the house. My Mom could really project. Dinner time.. I had to be home for dinner! Very important! 🙂 Well we did not call it “the feast of seven fishes”, or at least I was never told we were celebrating that, but every Christmas we ALWAYS had tons of fishy stuff!! I remember saying when I was a kid, can’t we have something that’s NOT from the ocean? My favorite though was Crab, we always had Alaskan King crab with Christmas Eve dinner. As well as Calamari and a bunch of other fishy stuff of which I can’t remember. Lobster was in the mix as well. The shell stuff they could never get me to eat, the muscles and oysters and clams.. I drew the line there, would not touch it. But there was usually pasta for one of the courses. Christmas Eve Dinner and Christmas Day Dinner were very long dinners… Hours long in fact. Great fun! I have kept the same traditions going with my family, we still have all the fishy stuff now but the differences is, now I love it all, well accept for the slimy oysters and muscles and clams, I still avoid those. However I do like Ipswitch steamers, those are yummy! 🙂 Difference also is that we now have Lasagna in the mix because My youngest son insists on it! Wow, never heard of the female santa thing… interesting.. Yep.. wish those grandmas wrote down some details. I remember one recipe my mom has for one of my grandmom’s cookies and no kidding.. here are some of the direction… Put some sugar, add some salt, there were some measurements, but this is the kicker, at the end of the recipe it said “Cook Until Done”.. Oh love that one!!! WoW! I can’t tell you the pain and agony and effort and trial and error I have gone through for the past 20 years or so (I’m 45 now), trying to get the sauce and meatballs and braciole to come out tasting like my grandmas. I was so close after countless attempts, but something always seemed to be missing, something very small and subtle.. then one day I was talking with my Mom and poof… Out came a deep dark secret that my grandmother used Salt Pork when she was cooking the sauce. WHAT????? I said? Your kidding.. You never told me this.. I’ve been making the sauce all these years and nuttn’, not a peep….. Then My Uncle Johnny.. I talked with him.. Oh yeah.. You mean your Mother never told you about the salt pork? (very important he says)!!! Auuuuggghhh!! Its-a-like pulling teeth to get all the secrets! So she would cut up the salt pork into little bits and fry them up in the pan and then brown the meatballs in the salt pork fat…. FLAVOR!! Secret flavor I was missing!!! Then you take the little bits of nice crunchy salt pork and you throw some in the braciole.. Secrets!!!! So that was the last thing I was missing. After that I was content. I had finally figured out how to recreate my grandmothers sauce. Not an easy thing, you must have perseverance and tenacity and a passion to get it right. Like you said…. “Through trial and error I have it down now to a science on how to make friggin’ braciole.” that statement really says it all. I can hear the anguish in it, the pain, the suffering and frustration…. You got it.. You finally got it! 🙂 This would be a very hard emotion to share with someone who did not grow up in an Italian family. Thanks a lot for the recipes, I will definitely try them out!! Looks like some tasty stuff!!! I will be trying out that cookie before Christmas. 🙂 Will let you know how it comes out. Happy cooking and happy times!!!
Ciao, ~8-) Anthony
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Several months layer… Anthony… Buona Pasqua! Well, Anthony are you ready for Lent? Easter is early this year. Crap! Ash Wednesday is next week the 6th. Now I’ll have to stop swearing for 40 friggin’ days! I am also in charge of making “Colomba di Pasqua”. Basically it’s Easter Egg Bread Basket in English. I have to make some for Palm Sunday and then for Easter. My sister is making “Pupo con Uovo” for Good Friday. That’s pretty much Baked Bread with Egg in English. All the fat you had from Christmas and lost during “fasting” for Lent you put back on just during Easter Sunday dinner There is an Italian saying….”Natale con i suoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi”. English translation roughly is…..”Christmas at home and Easter with whomever you wish”. On Easter growing up we used to have for dinner “capretto agnellino al forno” and “carciofi fritti”. That’s roast lamb, some times goat and fried artichokes on the side. Or we had “capretto agnellino cacio e uova” and “carciofi e patate”. This is lamb stewed with cheese, peas, eggs and sauteed artichokes with red potatoes on the side. We always had first “minestra di Pasqua”…Easter soup. And of course let’s not forget pasta. What would an Italian table be without pasta? My nonna (my mom’s mom. I had a nonna on my dad’s side also) made this pasta dish she called “taganu d’ aragona”. The Easter Pot. It was made with either cavatuna or rigatoni, eggs, tuma (a mild creamy sheep’s milk cheese), aged pecorino, cinnamon, saffron, 8 slices of day old Italian bread, hot chicken broth. She would also put in meatballs and sliced hardboiled aggs. I have to look for the recipe to get the specifics of this. With both nonnas it was like pulling teeth to get something from them. You know how that is. Anyway….have a Happy Easter! Ciao! Roxanne
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Hi Roxanne, Happy Easter! It’s here and is upon us! So, you been doing a lot of cooking I hope! I’m making Lasagna today 🙂 ….”Natale con i suoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi”… I like this saying! Seems true for us, we are always at friends houses for Easter, but Christmas, always home with family. WoW! All your Easter dishes from your childhood sound fabulous! I don’t remember having large special dinners on Easter when I was growing up, probably because of my Dad’s (Irish/English) side of the family. I DO remember the huge Italian feasts at my grandmothers house (My Mom’s mom, the Italian side), those were incredible. Thanks for sharing the names of those recipes. I am going to research these and might start new traditions for the family! Bring out some of my family heritage! Could you share any of the recipes you mention for the Easter feasts? And any other traditions you do for the big Easter weekend? There is a lot of Italian traditions I seem to be missing out on here. Well, happy Easter! He has risen! Hallelujah! Ciao, ~8-) Anthony


Anthony! I came across your site about a year ago and tried your meatballs and gravy recipes first! Now, I have to say, coming from an Italian family on both side, married to an Italian for over 30 years, I always did what MY grandmother and mother did…the “Calabrese” way!!! I learned from the best also BUT until I tried your recipes, I never had people RAVE about my sauce and meatballs!!! No kidding! The first time I made them, my son kept dipping in the pan for more meatballs before they were even done! He wanted to know who made them…Ha! This past Christmas, at a family gathering, my husband’s cousin took home goodie bags of my meatballs and asked that I make him some!!! God rest my grandmother and mother’s souls but I don’t think I can go back to the family recipe!!! Then I tried the anisette cookies…another family favorite and recipe. Well, yours came out soooo good, got tons of compliments!! I want to say, too, I so enjoy reading your stories and letters from the public. Being Italian takes on a meaning of its own and in trying to keep the ‘traditions’ alive and savor the memories is something I am ever conscience of doing! Looking forward to reading more on your site and trying out other recipes. By the way, I told my cousin Chris about your site. He owns a very successful Italian Ristorante and is the last in line of 6 sons of a very successful and respected restaurant owner in Worcester , MA ! I can’t wait to hear his reaction and want him to share it with his father. Who knows? My uncle just may know some of your relatives!! Thanks again for a wonderful website. ~Donna
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Hi Donna, Wow, what a compliment, leaving your family sauce for mine :-o… WoW. I will not let your family know. That could be serious! So glad to hear you like the sauce and the stories. It really is a package deal. Italian cooking is not just about the food, it’s the family and friends and love that is shared while your doing all the cooking and eating and drinking and eating some more. There is such a large cultural experience behind the old Italian way of cooking and have large and long meals “at the table” actually talking with one another for long periods of time. Geesh, kids now talk more via electronics, social networks, cell phone texting, (how do they do it, little bitty buttons and big thumbs.. I just don’t get it) way more then face to face. Sometimes I think the new generation coming up has forgotten how to communicate in real life all together. Very sad thing. I love the fact that my website helps bring families together. I get so many emails saying that they decided to tackle the sauce recipe and have never made a meal that involved ever before and how much fun they had with the family cooking. This brings much gladness to my heart and makes it all worth while. My grandmother would be so pleased to know her recipes are living on and tradition are still going like the old days. It’s amazing you mention Worcester , MA ! My grandmother lived in Worcester and my Mom was born there. They lived in the Shrewsbury area. I spent a lot of good times there eating good food and listening to my Uncle Johnny play the accordion. Oh, such great memories! Keep “fighting” to keep those traditions going. Make the family stay at the table and talk to each other. It’s so important! Turn of the friggn’ TV and enjoy the family is what I say. Be sure to let me know what your cousin Chris says about the recipes. I hope he tries to make the sauce… He might be pleasantly surprised 🙂 Well, enough chatting for now. I have many more recipes “and” stories I will be getting up on the site soon as time permits. Here is a quick story I was just telling my younger son last week: When I have soup, I have to have a “big” spoon.. A table spoon. My sons set the table often and they give me teaspoons to have with my soup. I tell him, the younger one, I need a big spoon!… and that reminded me of my grandma Salerno . She used to drill it into me. You nedda biga spoon, what-you gonna do with that tiny thing, you can’t get no food on it. You needa biga sppon Like-a this one. You use this one… and she would take away my little spoon… 🙂 Somewhere along the way that really stuck with me. I just can’t eat soup unless I have a biga spoon! 🙂 Happy cooking, happy times and share the LOVE! Ciao, ~8-) Anthony


Anthony, Boy, was I ever surprised to hear from you! Thank you so much for taking the time to write back! It’s true; I’m a convert! I can’t wait to tell my cousin Chris and show him your letter! So, your relatives are from Shrewsbury St! Are they the Salerno’s that owned the Black Orchid? Have you heard of my uncle’s restaurant? That would be the original “Rovezzi’s” on Main St. His son Chris is the owner of “Rovezzi’s Ristorante” in Sturbridge, Ma. Go to his website http://www.rovezzis.com when you have a chance!!! You are so right about keeping the traditions alive and sitting at the table and talking to one another. My 3 yr old granddaughter has no clue why I won’t let her get up from the table when she’s over!!! Have to talk to her parents about that one! Again, I look forward to reading more stories and finding more great recipes from you. I love the “biga spoon story”; who doesn’t eat soup with a tablespoon? Thanks again and happy eating! ~Donna, P.S. Going to a family member’s 80th Birthday on Saturday and will be bringing the anisette cookies!!!
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Donna, I’m working on adding more conversation to the website and I noticed I never got back to you on this one. It’s crazy, right now I have about 50 paes of wonderful Italian family and food talk from the website, all email correspondence. Such wonderful reading! Anyway,, yeah, Shrewsbury St! Great little spot in MA. 🙂 No, they did not own Black Orchid. Wow! Rovezzi’s Ristorante cooks awesome! Nice menu! Next time I’m in Worcester I will defiantly check it out! Who doesn’t use a tablespoon with soup? Ha! Well I didn’t until I got yelled at about it 😉 Yeah, teach that 3 year old right about the nice dinners at the table! Oh, thought you might like to know, I just added a new recipe on the website for Stuffed Peppers! I’m very happy to have this one up on the site and nailed down to exactly what my grandmother and mom made. Very happy indeed! Well, gotta run. Keep on cooking and keep the traditions alive and well!
Ciao, Anthony


Salve Anthony! I am hoping that your contact info is still in place….I can’t “not” comment to you… I love your website……I have made your sauce recipe about a half a dozen times….OMG…thank you so much for sharing this…I KNOW this blows away any restaurant sauce I have ever had…in fact..I seldom order pasta and sauce in an Italian restaurant… because I know mine is better…but that was way before I made YOUR sauce….YOU blow them ALL AWAY!!!!…I am looking after my 87 year old Dad…full time…this is always a great project that peaks his interest…even though he is Polish… hahhahaha….Right on for you my friend…I hope all is groovy in your world…..thanks again for sharing!!!!!! ~ Aggie, Finger Lakes, NY
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Hey Aggie, Wow, what a great review! Especially coming from a New Yorker. You guys know good Italian! 🙂 Grandma Salerno would be proud! I am happy to share my family recipe with you. I have been spoiled as well. I have yet to have a sauce as good as my grandmothers, but then I’m a bit bias. Italian restaurants don’t come close! The sauce MUST be made in a home with love ones present and cooking all day filling the house with smells that you can only get from a sauce cooking all day in the house. The sauce taste so good by the time you finally get to eat it, the smells from all day, the cooking of the Italian sauce, the browning of the chops, meatballs and sauce, the sauce.. the garlic, the olive oil…the wine! auh… just the best!!!! I wish you and your dad the best! Enjoy your time with him! My Dad just passed away and I miss him! I have found the Polish to be very similar to Italian when it comes to family and food and passion for both. …and yes! Things are quite groovy in my world at present! ~ Ciao, Anthony


Anthony (although I doubt I will actually be contacting you personally), I just wanted to tell you, how much I enjoyed your grandmothers recipe for pasta sauce and meatballs. In my opinion, the only way to advertise for a particular recipe, is to do it like you did, the actual way people talk, make them feel comfortable and at home. Sometimes, when people read recipes, and the recipe calls for 1/8 tsp of something, folks don’t get the fact that really the amounts put down, are only a guideline. It’s not something written in stone. It’s not baking for gosh sakes. The other thing I wanted to ask is did you write your copy yourself or have someone write it for you with your input? The reason I ask this, is I am presently trying to break into the world of “copywriting” and was curious as to the language selections. I would like to write for you. Anyway, these were just a few things I wanted to say. The other thing is, if you haven’t done so already, You should start an Italian cookbook, called something like this: My Grandmother’s “Favorite Recipes” as told by my grandmother Do it exactly like “Anthony’s Pasta Sauce, Meatballs & Braciole.” I’d love to work with you, but you probably don’t need or even want someone else, but the idea is good. Today, I am making your grandmothers meatballs and sauce and I will get back to you to let you know how superb it was.! ~ Thanks for your time. ~ Respectfully, Jim.
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Jim, Yep, you got directly to me. The website is a one man band 🙂 I wrote everything myself. I feel this is the way people should write and the way I wish they would, like you mention, in the form of someone talking to me, like conversational writing. When I write out a recipe I just basically write it all down like I was talking with you face to face and then go back and fix things that did not make sense, bad grammar, etc.. Glad you enjoy the writing style. I feel it definitely helps people understand how to really make the recipe and have fun while preparing it. I do have a cookbook planned for the future. You would not believe the amount of emails I get in regards to people asking me where they can buy my cookbook and that if I did not have one yet I should. I agree with them. I even have my Mom bugging me about writing a cookbook! Just don’t have the time to dedicate to that yet, I’m married and have two boys, (1) 11 years old and (1) 14 (yikes! a teenager!!) and a wife sent by God and they take all my energy. I also have many more recipes I want to work through in detail. Each recipe really takes a lot of effort to work through the step by step instructions as well as all the photos and commentary to the photos. Also, the vision I have for the cookbook is going to be exactly like the site. I even want the cookbook to look like an old cookbook that has been sitting around the kitchen for years, complete with olive oil stains and such. It’s going to be quite unique to say the least. Often I read through cookbooks and I am left with a longing for more details, more photos and more instruction. Thanks for the offer of helping to write. I might take you up on that when I decide to dive into the project, but that will be sometime from now I believe. Look forward to hearing how your Italian culinary adventure goes. Have fun with it and remember to share the LOVE! That’s where the flavor is 🙂 ~Ciao, Anthony
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Hi Anthony – hey – thanks for actually taking time and getting back to me. I get it from your comments about the age of your boys, you’re obviously an energetic young man. God Bless you. The one thing I must stress to you and I hope you listen – IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA TO DO SOMETHING THAT NO-ONE ELSE DOES – DO IT!!!!!! I see you getting rich making your “My cookbook for people who don’t know how to cook”. Don’t waste your whole life, like many people wanting to have done something but something (usually fear) holds them back. When I was a young man, I was a musician. I was a damn good one. We had a rock band based out of Providence RI. We had backing. All I had to do was “sign the paper” and we would have been off and running and I know that because the drummer we fired because he wasn’t good enough was Fran Christina – who a couple years later started “The Fabulous Thunderbirds”, a band you may or may not have heard of. Anyway my wife told me “if you sign that contract, I will take the baby and leave you.” So a long story short – I didn’t sign. Not only did I ruin my chances for success, but the other three guys in the band as well. That was thirty five years ago, but you know what? The memory never goes away. You don’t get many second chances at anything in life and when your young, sometimes your so close to something, you just can’t see it. Like the words in a song I once wrote “sometimes a man can’t see what he’s got, till it’s gone – and he’s left all alone”. If you have a good feeling about something – listen to your gut feeling – it’s probably telling you what you should do and all you have to do is do it!!! Not only do I see you becoming a world I known figure for you books, I see you as the next – ” Hey – Anthony cooks Italian, so can you” on TV. This could happen and you can make it happen and don’t tell me you don’t have time. Yes you do – just do it!! Good talking to you Tony. ~ Warm Regards, Jim
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Hi Jim, Thanks for all this encouragement. You’re helping me get excited enough about the cookbook project to where I might “make” some time for it 🙂 A musician huh? Cool, what instrument? I am a percussionist, as well as Mechanical Engineer and Children’s pastor. Playing music on those drums is about the most fun I have on this planet! Making music is a joy. Sorry to hear you have regret about that music thing which passed by you :-(. I appreciate the life lesson you are sharing with me and don’t take it lightly. I do think choosing the wife and baby over the music was a better choice though 🙂 What can I say, I’m a family man. …Hey, that’s a Joni Mitchel lyric…”Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone, they paved paradise, put up a parking lot…oooohhh ba ba ba ba” 🙂 Well, I guess yours is different 😉 Do you still play your instrument? Just curious, once you play a musical instrument it’s hard to put it down. Well, thanks again for all the encouragement about the cookbook. I agree it’s something that could actually make me some real money one day, so I want to do it right. TV?? Oh I hope not. I hate TV with a passion. I stopped watching TV altogether over 12 years ago, best choice I ever made 🙂 Happy cooking and Happy times! Ciao, ~8-) Anthony


Hi Anthony! My goodness … I found your website a few weeks ago when I was looking for an Italian cookie recipe. I’m taking an Italian language class, and on the evening of our final, we are all going to bring food. Of course I wanted to make something appropriate. My nonna lived with us until she passed away at age 83, and she was always in the kitchen. Last year my father passed away, and I have since then been so missing the smells and tastes that I took for granted for so many years. Unfortunately, nonna let us watch her cook, and we could stir or chop, but no actual cooking (and more often than not she was shooing us all out of her kitchen). Today I truly wish I had any of her recipes. In the wee hours of the morning I have been reading your recipes, your stories and looking at the photos — they all remind me of “home” … and if it wasn’t after 1:00 am and my clanging in the kitchen would wake the dead, I would start cooking this very minute! ~ Berni
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Berni, So nice to hear from you. Glad I could bring back some great memories for you. I totally understand about the shooing out of the kitchen thing! Grandma Salerno did that to us grandkids and she would often not sit at the table and eat with everybody, she would just keep on cooking and cleaning and eat later when everybody was done cooking. But I did ask her a lot of questions. The only reason I now have these recipes nailed down to something that is actually written down is a very long story. But I can say that I could not have done it without number one, a love for my grandmother and such fond memories of those huge meals we used to have and my Mom and Uncles helping me out with deep dark secret I had to sneak out of them over the years. I can’t tell you the joy I get after “finally” getting one of her recipes just right, in other words, tasting and looking just the way she made it. Pure joy when this is achieved. Many of these recipes I have to make several times, over and over until finally getting those measurements correct, so happy when I get there. Often there are just these tiny secret that have to be revealed by my Mom that only come up during conversations about food and how grandma cooked. Things like, OH yeah, did I ever tell you about the salt pork grandma used when making meatballs and bracioles? What???? I say, you’re kidding, you never told me that secret! See, all these little things took years to be revealed! I’m happy to share them with you. Sorry to hear about your father passing away and the fact that you did not get Nonnas recipes. I hope these recipes I share can bring all that back and can be something you are able to pass on to your own family. Happy cooking and happy times! ~ Anthony
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Dear Anthony, I just have to share one last thing. My best guy pal, Peter, told me of his very Greek grandmother (we often compare notes) that she would never allow any members of the family to remain in the kitchen throughout any dish preparation. Everyone seemed to have a little piece of how to make certain dishes, but no one seemed to have it all. As his Yiayia got older, her daughters and daughters-in-law became intent to get some of her recipes. They thought that surely she would want to pass these wonderful dishes on, and she told them as much. However, she had this habit of hiding a pinch of this or that in a palm, or a jar of ingredients in her apron, and when her ‘helper’ would turn to grab a spoon, or to retrieve an item at Yiayia’s request –IN the pot went the secret ingredient! Drats .. they all thought…we will never get these recipes! Except that their elderly relative promised that she would pass on her recipe box, full of dog-eared and stained cards, on to a family member upon her death. Finally, they thought, they would have the recipes. Of course no one ever really got a good look at these cards, because YiaYia would always slip those in and out of her apron, and then right back into the box, and the box went right back into the locked china cabinet. She rarely looked at most recipes, as the standards – lemon soup, Easter bread, dolmas … all came from memory, but still she told the daughters that all those recipes came from her mother and assured everyone that they were in the box. After the dear lady passed a few years ago, her daughter went to retrieve the box. There was some dismay when they found that many of the recipes were written with an odd mixture of Greek and English words. After some work to get them all translated, they were quite excited to begin cooking. However, just as she had done in life, Yiayia apparently left at least one ingredient out of every recipe! Some of these omissions were obvious, and easily deciphered. Others — well, have had to be stitched together just as you have done — various relatives offering ideas about what they thought was missing, based on what they had seen her do as she cooked and baked over the years. Still more recipes are still in the process of testing … perhaps it is this, or that …. maybe a little more of this herb or a bit of lemon. *laugh* I suppose that in their own way, all of this toil to bring their recipes back keeps these dear grandmothers in our lives. There is something soothing and precious about making their dishes, with a sense always that they are just over your left shoulder, watching you with a keen eye … ready to whisper in your ear when you’ve got it wrong (laugh). ~ un saluto per le nostre nonne ( a salute to our grandmothers ) P.S. …and yes, the smells and sights and tastes of your recipes will surely bring my father, Santino, back to me. ~ Grazie. Bernie
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Bernie, It’s nice to hear from you again. LOL! Locked china cabinet, ha! Hide the precious recipes… So funny! One thing I was lucky about was my Mom had a bunch of my grandma Salerno recipes, something, on small hand written cards that were all stained and yellow. However, those recipes were useless without my Mom and uncles helping to decipher. Here is an example of some of the instructions: Some flours, several eggs, mix well, cook until done!… COOK UNTIL DONE!??? ugh! Well, you know, you just know! That is where all the adventure came into play, trying this and that and one day you will figure it out! There is still one recipe I am working out, the Tarralles, the Italian pretzels. I can’t get them crunchy enough. But I have recently discovered that there “might” have been some boiling of the dough before cooking. Oh… I minor secret! Also, I was putting in yeast and I think that was wrong to. I have nailed down the taste perfectly, now working on the texture. They need to have the lovely crunch and they need to stay that way after sitting around for several days as well. This is what I am missing. The crunch does not stay. So the next time I tackle this, which will be the next couple of days, I will be boiling the dough before baking, will not be using yeast, less oil and slightly hotter oven. We shall see. “… ready to whisper in your ear when you’ve got it wrong (laugh).” LOL… just too funny! Thanks so much for sharing. Have a fantastic day. At present I am up in the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains and just now getting ready for a hike 🙂 ~8-) Anthony
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Dear Anthony, …*laughing* Cook Until Done… I think every nonna and mamma uses that one! I had to learn to cook as an adult because that was what my own Irish mother used to say .. “put in a bit of salt, and a half a hand full of flour and roll until it feels ‘right’ and then ‘cook until its done.” Ummmm yeah.. Helpful! When I first wanted to cook a mean for a boyfriend, I spent the entire afternoon on the telephone with a friend who had to walk me through every step! She had been cooking since she could reach the table, so she was rather certain that assessing me at age 19 I would never ever learn to even boil water! (Thankfully, she was wrong!) I bet you are right about the crunchy texture on the Tarralles. I wonder… if it is like the old style pretzel recipes where they used a water and lye boil bath, which obviously you wouldn’t want to replicate now. Perhaps you could make them similar to bagels with a water and baking soda boil and then bake them? Of course, spraying water atop your dough and inside the oven will help crispy things.. at least it works with bread. Anyway, I was looking for something .. and ran across this article and thought you might like it. There’s a recipe at the end,… “1495 Italian Wedding Course (by Baroness Briana Etain MacKorkhill)“. ooh I’m making your anisette cookies tomorrow to take to my Italian class… I’m sure they will be a hit. .and YES I did make sure to get the right sprinkles. In fact, I was at the grocery and bought flour, sprinkles, yeast, and a 6-pack of imported beer. The checker wondered aloud what sort of meal THOSE ingredients would make! I said that the beer was to ease the pain just in case the baking went horribly wrong. She laughed and said she hoped I wasn’t drinking beer with sprinkles! ~ Berni
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Hi Berni, Sorry just now getting back to you, I’ve been swamped! Ha! Great story on the Italian wedding course, that recipe looks so good! I might dive into this one day soon. Looks like a good thanksgiving meal actually 😉 I might even through this up on the website. I also “might” tackle the taralle’s this weekend, I really want to get those right! Gotta ruin, have an amazing joy filled weekend. ~ Anthony


Hi Anthony! These recipes are almost the same as when I grew up in Astoria, NY (Queens). I moved to Redondo Beach, CA over a decade ago. The people I knew in the old neighborhood moved and the neighborhood changed. It was my mothers friends from Italy who did this wonderful food when I would visit as a boy thru my teens. I made the meatballs and spaghetti – the flavors, smells and taste brought me back to old days (yes I cried). Anthony, you did it. Your a great man in my eyes. There is a good feeling inside that was missing – bless you! ~ Sincerely, Pete, your pizan in California
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Hi Pete, So nice to hear from you! Queens! Those boys know some good Italian! That’s a compliment to hear my sauce brought you back. I’m glad I could help you get that back. Cooking all day really is becoming a lost art and that is a very sad thing. Some of the best memories I have are sitting around the table for hours with family eating and eating and talking and drinking and eating some more!!! Great times! Now you must keep the tradition going! I remember bringing friends to my grandmothers house for amazing meals and they could not wait to eat her cooking! One plate was never enough, In fact, if you only had one plate of her food you would get yelled at. What, you no like-a the food? Have some more, your skinny, you need some meat on your bones. Here, I’ll make you another plate, eat!! 🙂 Oh.. good times! I miss her so! ~8-) Anthony


Anthony – I made the spaghetti and meatballs this morning, Okay, I’m a great cook! I was fascinated with the whole la familia atmosphere of your recipe site. I’m Greek and make stuffed grape leaves like no one else’s! Tonite my daughter’s boyfriend, an Italian food freak from New York, is coming to my house for dinner and I made eggplant parmesan and your sauce with the meatballs, sausage and pork chops. Tastes delicioso! Thank you! Do you own a restaurant? Can’t find this on your site. I cook to relax as I have a heavy duty job and it wipes me out. So I hunt for recipes like I wanted the taste of the Greek meatballs I had in Greece a couple of years ago and two weeks ago, I nailed it! Eating them was like going back to Greece. Okay enough of my crazy talk. I am running as I need to do two appetizers and peach cobbler, shower and make the table pretty…so thanks again. ~ Elaine, Sacramento California P.S. first language was Greek and I too didn’t know I was American – that old Greek heritage stuff mimics the Italian way. I love it. Today’s generation doesn’t know what they are missing.
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Hi Elaine, I’m glad you enjoyed my site and I am also glad you picked up on the family atmosphere. A nice warn and fuzzy grandma family feel is exactly what I was shooting for. Italian cooking is so much more then just about the food as I’m sure you know being Greek. Greeks are so similar to Italians when it comes to passion for food and family! I have known some Greeks and I would have sworn they were Italians! No, I do not own a restaurant, I’m just a guy whole loves Italian food and spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my grandmother and mom and asked a lot of questions. Want to be your grandmothers favorite grandkid? Be very interested in her food! 🙂 Peach Cobbler!!! YUM!!! Blueberry Cobbler is one of my favorite deserts. You are right about today’s generation missing out. My website is an attempt to try to get families back into cooking big meals and sitting at the table and enjoying each others company. I remember dinners that would last for 6 hours! Never left the table. 6 hours! Oh those were great times indeed! ~ Ciao, Happy cooking, happy times and share the LOVE!!!, Anthony


Hi Anthony! At My son Johnnie’s wedding on Saturday, I was talking to my cousins son Jerry Magnifico III. He told me about this website where I could get information on My Great Uncle Francis Clement Capozzi. I called it up this morning and saved it. I just finished going through it and was deeply moved by your story on Growing up Italian It brought me to tears. A little background, I am John Philip Magnifico the Son of Alfred ( Philip) Magnifico the Son of Ann Letizia ( Capozzi ) and John Magnifico from East Boston. Just about everything you mentioned in your story I can relate to. I didn’t think it was so special at the time but as I have grown older and the grand parents and aunts and uncles have gone and how things have changed I realize how blessed I was Growing up Italian. * If you would like information for the Family tree form Anna Magnifico’s branch I would be glad to give this to you as best I can.! ~ Sincerely, John
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Hi cousin John! Nice to meet you! 🙂 Oh, so nice to hear from another cousin!! 🙂 Lovely! Glad you liked the story, it does paint a picture of a time long gone in America. I personally remember those huge Sunday afternoon feasts and is one of the reasons I have poured so much energy and time into my website which shares my grandma Anna Salerno’s recipes. I have high hopes the families will actually sit around the table again and enjoy themselves with great food and much shared love! Problem is nobody wants to take the time to cook all day. Well, I force my family to have long dinners just to keep the tradition going. So much can be shared at the dinner table, relationships are sustained in this way, love is shared and happiness goes down deep. Guess it’s a thing that is very hard to put into words. I would love to receive anything you have on the Anna Magnifico’s branch, that would be fantastic! More about my Italian Grandmother and the Capozzi family here. Ciao, ~8-) Anthony


Hi Anthony! I am so glad I found this site! My copy of your sauce recipe that I printed in 2001 is really gettin’ nasty! I can’t wait to try a bunch of other recipes, especially the eggplant parm. (I’ve never mastered this–sometimes great, often greasy). Anyway, I, a wasp raised on raw hamburg and yorkshire pudding, never had much success with sauce (gravy?) until I made yours for my husband, who said that it was better than his first-generation Italian mom’s! Or any of his auntie’s! It has become a staple here, and I’ve given it to everyone I know. Just wanted to say thanks, it’s a silly thing, but a fellow from your background can understand the pride I feel when the family really enjoys what you make. It will be our traditional family recipe. Thanks again! ~ Sincerely, Jori
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Hi Jori, Raised on raw hamburger and yorshire pudding… oh my! 😉 So glad to hear you loved the recipe and found it again. I made several “important” additions since 2001. I have discovered some long lost secrets that my grandma Salerno did which my Mom”FINALLY” shared with me… Little subtle things like.. Oh yeah.. She used to brown the meatballs in salt pork fat… and I say WHAT?????????? I’m 44 years old and your are just NOW sharing this wonderful deep dark secretwith me? OK, tell me more!!! Then I started calling my uncles and asking them many questions about their moms cooking. You really have to pull out the important secrets or they are gone forever. I am very happy to share these with you and happy to know the tradition is being passed on. I totally understand the deep satisfaction you get when after you have worked hard all day on a wonderful meal to have your family/guests LOVE the food and to see them very satisfied with the meal. Makes it all worth while. Thanks for sharing your story with me, love to hear stuff like this about my grandmothers recipes. It would put a smile on her face is she new that people all over the world were making her recipes 🙂 I have many more to come, just slow going, I have to translate the recipe instruction like “Cook until done” and “Put in some salt” and so on… My Mom has a lot of hand written recipes of my grandmothers. I am slowly making my way through them all. Well, happy cooking, happy times and share the LOVE!! ~ Ciao, ~8-) Anthony


Hi Anthony! I was compelled to write after my brother forwarded me your website. We grew up in NJ and we were both under the impression that the Anisette Cookie was a family thing (a/k/a Nanny’s Cookies) — we had NO IDEA it was a classic known Italian Cookie. Nanny’s recipe is a little different from yours: instead of adding spoonfuls of dough onto the pan, we roll out the dough and cut it into strips and shape the cookies like figure 8s or the shape of a ribbon or a knot. Mom would always make a special one for each of us by shaping our initial. We also put anisette in the icing. I have found that either people LOVE these cookies or do not like them at all. It’s an all or nothing cookie. My father loved his before they were iced, and he would dunk them in his coffee. My brother loves TONS of icing. Throughout the years I would share with friends and be somewhat taken aback when they looked at me like “Eh. It’s okay. Nothing great.” WHAT? Nothing GREAT? Seriously…did you TASTE it? I wonder if our taste buds are biased because of the love our families put into them when making them, or because it’s a tradition. I made “Nanny’s Cookies” for the first time last year. Nanny made them every year at Christmas until she died. My mom made them every year since, but last year age was catching up to her and she wasn’t able to stay in the kitchen for the 6 hours necessary to complete the cookie process. I took the job on. I did it to help out my mom and so that my brother would still be able to say (after 39 years) that he’s never had a Christmas without “Nanny’s Cookies.” This is really saying something because my brother was in the military for four years – he was in Colorado, Afghanistan, Japan…My mom would bake them and ship them to him wherever he was. However, she would also have to bake a various batches of other Christmas cookies so my brother could share with the other military guys. He was very selfish when it came to “Nanny’s Cookies.” He would even try to ration ME when we were together…One for you, one for me. Two for you, one, two for me…You get the picture. I gained new respect for the generations before me….the cookie takes time and patience. I called my mom several times with questions and concerns. My first attempt was a success (although the cookies should have had more icing according to Tony, my brother). This year my brother and his wife attempted to make “Nanny’s Cookies”. They used cookie cutters (wrong). But I was proud of them for trying. He said they are quite yummy, even if they look like more like frosted biscuits than the traditional cookie. Although I was a little disappointed to find out that the Cookie is not a special family cookie, I was fascinated to learn that other families share in this same tradition (and enjoyed your website)…it will always be a Special Cookie to me.! ~ Sincerely, Gina
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Hi Gina, It’s nice to hear from you Gina. Glad you were compelled to write. I love getting these emails from the site. Such great reading 🙂 Oh the Anisette cookie. Oh Yes! This is a very special cookie indeed! It’s funny, after I have read through your email I have just now realized that I have gone 45 years without a single Christmas going by without Anisette cookies 🙂 Like you. My grandma made them every Christmas, then my Mom made them then I learned how to make them, calling my Mom several times to get it all right. I still remember how proud I was when I finally nailed it after many laborious attempts, failures, very close but not quite there until finally success!!!! So I mailed my Mom some, they were perfect! Exactly like grandma Salerno’s, I mean the taste, the structure of the cookie the look everything.. Perfect! I thought. So my Mom calls and says, you got the wrong sprinkles! Ugh.. Not wow Anthony, these are great, just like grandma’s, good work son! Nope. All I got was, “Your used the wrong sprinkles”.. Ha!!! Now I use the right sprinkles. Anyway, thanks for dropping me a note about the lovely Anisette cookie story. I think it’s really special that your Mom mailed out those cookies to your brother. Auh the Love! That’s really what makes these cookies so good! It’s the love that is poured into them, you can taste it in every bite! ~ Ciao, ~8-) Anthony


 

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