About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Saturday's Final Thoughts from Palma | Main | Marcella's Epilogue »

Beth’s Final Thoughts

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.

Comments (3)


I can really relate to everything you said, Beth. Thanks for putting it all into words.

ed hoos:

I started reading these after it was well under way. As this is my most-loved cookbook, I'm going to miss reading about the recipes I've become so familiar with over the years as well as the ones I still have yet to try and other's thoughts about them. The posting seemed like a little gift every day on Face Book.


Great job stepping out your comfort zone.

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The previous post in this blog was Saturday's Final Thoughts from Palma.

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