This has been an incredible journey for me. My background is in science. I have worked in a research lab for the last 24 years. I think that is why my writing style tends to be on the dry side. After being a straight line thinker for all of these years it is tough to change! That was my biggest fear when Deborah talked me into helping out with this. I figured I have been cooking for years so the cooking wouldn’t be that big of a challenge, but the writing scared the living heck out of me. Well, like all things that scare you I have learned if you just attack it bit by bit you can handle anything. Little would I know that the cooking would turn out to be the bigger challenge.
As Deborah laid out in her final blog, one of our commandments that we all swore to live by, was to follow the recipes exactly. We were not allowed to change anything. I really hadn’t realized before how much I tinker with every recipe that I make. When I started to make my first recipe, I had to stop myself multiple times from adding or subtracting ingredients. I even had the sneaky thought that as long as it wouldn’t show up in the picture who would know! I then stepped back and realized that the challenge is about working outside of our comfort zone. I needed to conform to the rules.
This was so much harder than it sounded. You have to understand that one of my jobs for our business is to come up with the recipes for the café. The way I normally do that is to find a few recipes that have aspects that I like and then combine them until I come up with a recipe that works. This was quite a hard habit to break. I did it though, even when it just seemed wrong to me. I found out that when I did exactly as Marcella said, the results were amazing.
The recipes that I loved the most were ones that stretched my cooking skills to the limit. I had never made my own pasta so I was especially proud of how my Tortelloni with Swiss Chard and the Gratineed Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi turned out. My mouth waters just thinking about them. My favorite meat recipe was the Veal Roll with Spinach and Proscuitto Stuffing.
I have made this a couple of times now and it is always a hit. I found a lot of recipes to love in this book, so it is hard to narrow down my favorites, but I think these would be my top three.
I want to thank all of the other Pomodori for their wonderful stories that they have posted during this process. It is my habit to read the blog every morning after checking my email. I will dearly miss this. Even on those days when I didn’t feel great something in the post would make me laugh. I also felt connected to these other people that were going through this process with me. That was a very special feeling. I did not comment on many of the posts, but there were so many that touched me greatly. I will also miss Marcella’s comments to all of us. They made me realize, even more, how much thought and care that she had put into every recipe in the book. I really want to thank Deborah for including me in this process. It has been a great learning and growing experience. I will miss it.