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.


And In the Beginning... Archives

March 23, 2010

How Did This Madness Come to Be?

It all began with the decision of the Foodies Reading Group at a Barnes & Noble store in the St. Louis area to read Marcella Hazan's autobiography, "Amarcord".


One of the group, Deborah, thought it would be a lovely surprise if Marcella would be willing to sign new copies of the book for everyone in the group. She wrote a note to Marcella. To her great delight, received a phone call from Marcella saying she would be pleased to accommodate. Deborah intended to keep this news a secret, but she isn't good at keeping secrets. As you would expect, everyone was thrilled.

Fast forward a few days to Facebook conversations about how many of us learned to cook Italian food the "right" way from "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking". A comment was made that the one cuisine most of North America loves and cooks is Italian. And the person most responsible for teaching us the right way to cook Italian wasn't, in our opinion, being accorded the appropriate recognition today.

Not taking away from the well deserved admiration for Julia Child, but come on ... If you took a poll of North American home cooks, what do you think the results would be? Fussy French food or honest Italian food?

We rest our case.

Somewhere along the way, someone makes an offhanded and ill-advised suggestion that we do a Julie Powell thing and cook our way through Essentials.


One thing leads to another; cooler heads prevail; and the decision is made to share the cooking responsibilities by splitting up the week among seven people. That meant that the three in the St. Louis area, (Deborah, Irene, & Beth), would still need some reinforcements.

Deborah, who is a member of the SlowTrav community, and has participated in a weekly food challenge with other Foodies in that community for several years, put the call out. And they responded.

First it was Cindy, from Alaska. She jumped right in, without hesitation. Doug, from Eastern Ontario also didn't hesitate to accept the call. Sandi from Alabama wanted to join the group, but was not sure she could commit to every week, so Jan from Florida partnered with her to alternate weeks. Once the separated-at-birth-twins Jerry from Ontario, and Palma from California learned they could share a day they threw their mutual hat in the ring as well.

Sixty-two weeks of posting every single day is daunting. So, as a safety measure, we strong-armed Kim , from New Jersey, into agreeing to be our pinch-hitter.

Our group was complete.

Next we needed to lay the ground rules. Not many, we aren't good at following rules - or recipes.

So the first rule needed to be:
FOLLOW the recipe - faithfully. No tinkering without Marcella's written permission.
Rule two.
We would take the recipes as they came in the book. No trading. Too bad that Cindy doesn't like chicken livers and Deborah has an aversion to Squid.
Rule three.
Since seasonal & fresh is the bedrock for all good Italian cooking, it's OK to cook ahead and save your documentation for the appropriate posting date.

That was it for the rules. Now the process.
Originally we were going to document this entire thing only on Facebook. We didn't think we needed a blog. This is all about reminding all of our foodie friends what a treasure we still have among us in Marcella Hazan. We weren't looking for a book or movie deal. We just wanted to keep it casual and allow our individual styles to dictate how we wrote our respective daily reports. So we set up a collective identity: Pomodori e Vino.

For several weeks now we've been chatting on this Facebook page and adding friends. We were so honored when Marcella, herself, decided to 'friend' us and keep an eye on our progress.

It soon became apparent to us that one glaring limitation to Facebook needed to be addressed. There is no compatibility to schedule future posts. So, we decided to create this blog.

We'll schedule our posts here and program them to appear automatically on Facebook every day. Our friends will be able to make comments directly to Facebook, or leave them on the blog if they prefer.

And, it begins -- soon.

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Pomodori e Vino in the And In the Beginning... category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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