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.

« Notes from a conscript | Main | Friday's final thoughts~ »

Cindy's Final Thoughts

So here I am, writing my final post for our Pomodori E Vino blog. Such mixed emotions I have as I try to gather my thoughts. Yes, there have been frustrations. Those times when I thought "How do I get that recipe made and posted in time when I forgot to purchase a special needed ingredient." and "Can my weight really handle one more really good meal, when I really should just be eating a salad for dinner?". But those frustrations have been so outweighed by the rewards of this experience. How many people have the opportunity to cook their way through an extraordinary cookbook, and have the author herself comment, critique, and give suggestions on each and every recipe you have made? Not many, I don't think. But Marcella has been so generous with her time in giving this to us, and I treasure each and every word she has written to us.

So today, I will share with you the menu that I have choosen based on the recipes I have cooked from "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking". This menu is the one that I would cook when planning a feast for friends. The one that I can imagine really enjoying cooking, as my friends sit around sipping great wine and lending a helping hand as needed. This is the meal I can picture sitting around my large dining room table, in front of a roaring fire, with the lights dimmed, as we anticipate the awaiting flavors that our noses have already experienced, and now our mouths are now eagerly waiting to taste.

We would begin the meal with the simple appetizer of Marinated Carrot Sticks. Tender carrots, gentle spices, and the tang of red wine vinegar.

We would next move on to our first course. An amazing Lasagne with Mushrooms and Ham. Creamy, earthy, and very flavorful.

The main course would be Oven Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Rosemary. A delicious simple roasted chicken, flavored with the perfect duo of garlic and rosemary. And of course, roasted potatoes would be served alongside.

The chicken would be accompanied by the side dish of Asparagus and Proscuitto bundles. Who cares if there was already ham in the lasagne - this dish is too good not to include.

Asparagus and Proscuitto Bundles

And Fresh Mushrooms with Porcini, Rosemary, and Tomatoes, because we haven't yet had our fill of mushrooms or rosemary.

Dessert would be a fruit dessert of Baked Apples with Amaretti Cookies. Few ingredients, but those that mesh perfectly together.

Did I mention there would be lots of wine flowing, lots of great conversation, and lots of toasts to Marcella and Victor, with whom this wonderful experience would never have been without their support and encouragement? Cheers, Marcella and Victor. I thank you both.

Comments (7)



Thank you for all of your hard work, dedication, GREAT PHOTOS, and so what if you gained a few pounds!! Your "recap" is eloquent and heartfelt.

Grazie e brava!!

Hope one day (or evening with roaring fire and dimmed lights) to join you and Scott at your dining room table(and healthy scraps for Miss Bella). It would be an honor.

Un grande abbraccio!

A beautiful celebratory menu, Cindy. I'll be watching my mailbox for my invitation. Thanks for taking this journey with us.


Brava, Cindy!

Barb Cabot:

All your efforts were so appreciated. Lovely menu you've listed above. Thanks for all the hours you spent cooking. It was a fun time for all of us.

Cindy, it sounds like a great menu!

I have so enjoyed all of your posts, along with your gorgeous photography. I loved the photo of you catching a fish.

Speaking of fish, I hope you try the whole fish stuffed with shellfish again...

Thank you for giving me so much pleasure!

Ray Anne:

I envy the lucky people in your life who enjoy the benefits of your skill, food and generosity. It has been a pleasure to follow your journey through these recipes. Thank you.


Wonderful feast menu! I'm going to miss your amazing photography.

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