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Before We Begin

Whether a good cook comes from a hereditary line of culinary masters or learns from a specific environment, I believe that I was destined to be at least a passable cook. As a child I listened to radio cooking shows with my mother. Then with the magic of television at the age of five, I was transported to Chicago and the “Francois Pope School of Cooking.” Right after my daily disappointment of not being seen in Miss Frances’s mirror on Ding Dong School, I watched the creation of beautifully crafted food. The chefs wore gleaming white coats and had every ingredient pre-measured into a little dish. My love of china and crystal as well as a man in a crisp uniform could have begun here.

As for coming from a long line of cooks, that is true as well. Tony’s father came from a farming family from the hills just outside of Rome Italy, near San Marcos in the province of Foggia. Their home was a simple one, with a pot on the fire almost constantly. When Grandma Giacobbe came to this country in the early 1900s, she brought along all of her favorite recipes, many which Tony & I still use today with only minor modifications.

My ancestors were also engaged in farming. The family homestead and dairy farm was in north central Illinois. Whether dinner was a beef roast or a rabbit pie, vegetables from the garden always accompanied dinner. Wherever we set up housekeeping, we also ...

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