Inspiration, we all love this word, because everyone wants to be inspired. Especially when times are difficult, the need for inspiration bubbles out of all of us like a dormant fountain waiting to come to life once more.
I realized this last year, more than any other time of my life, how I have been inspired since my childhood by the great family of women I was born into. My Mother, my Nanas, my aunts, to all these beautiful and strong women I dedicate this book.
I look around me and I see women in grocery stores shaking their heads, reading a list, and crossing out items. What they are trying to do is decide what is most needed to feed their families, and keep their budget. The stores are filled with tempting traps. This is not the first time in our country’s history that difficult and challenging times have fallen on us. My grandparents and parents lived through the Great Depression. I always remember my parents, aunts and uncles, saying that they were never aware that lack of food was one of the issues. Their tables were always bountiful and the smell that came from the kitchen comforting, besides being heavenly. I find that description, like my own. Growing up our table was always bountiful and the smells and tastes from the kitchen were heavenly. There was no place in my world more comforting and safe than my home and the homes of these women I loved so much.
I soon realized that the heart of our family lived in the kitchen. The women of my life began in Sicily, Carlentini and Lentini, near Catania. They were widows of World War I and victims of the Padrons that owned the land and enslaved the common hard working people. They were my roots. I was told stories of survival and always between the lines I smelled the fresh baked bread, the orange salads, the pasta sauces and I could see family sitting around the table. My visit to Ellis Island put before my eyes the vision of my grandparents, both sides, coming to this great country, we so proudly call America. This land of opportunity for all. This was the America I was born into, I was taught from infancy to love my home land and to always be proud of my roots in a far away country. I have done this my whole life. Now I am going to share the wonderful culinary journey of my life with all of you. I know you will be inspired, comforted, and satisfied.
Though I learned a lot from my Nana, my greatest inspiration came from my mother, whose remarkable ability to love and nourish her family was her life goal. Her success was to produce generations of inspired cooks. Male and female. To this day we gather our families together with bountiful tables where love, comfort, and inspiration flows freely. Welcome to this part of my world, it continues to inspire and comfort each new generation. All who partake are wrapped in the love of those who create the feasts.
I believe that the greatest recipe ever made has these basic ingredients:
– A lot of love (unlimited)
– A dash of inspiration
– A lifetime of feelings
– A cup of hope
– A pinch of luck
Mix all ingredients together and create magic.
You’ll never fail and you will nourish your whole family.
— Marilyn Longo