Cranberry relish

 

 

Cranberries and a silver spoonCranberry relish did not come out of a jar at my Mom’s house. My mother made everything from scratch, giving her homemade specialties to her friends and neighbors. I cannot find all of my mother’s recipes in the recipe card box she made for me. When in doubt, I use my memory as a backdrop and my experience as a cook to reconstruct my absolute favorites. As I stand and stir in the pan with a wooden spoon, I can just hear my Mom’s voice explaining how she makes her homemade relish.

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Caldogno at Christmas in 1964


At the age of three I moved with my parents and my brother to Italy. I remember the trip vividly, though in bits and pieces from a child’s point of view. Our family stayed in a hotel in the middle of the city of Vicenza while my parents looked for a place to live. This in itself was a great adventure. Ultimately my parents found a place to live to the town of Caldogno, to the north of Vicenza, along the provincial road to Dueville, in the direction of the mountainous region of Asiago.

We moved into the ground floor of a two-story , white house paved with marble. Angela, our neighbor from upstairs, had a balcony and hung over it often to talk at length with my Mom. Luigi lived nextdoor. He was our “landlord” my mother explained. This sounded quite mysterious to me at the age of three. Luigi had thick dark glasses, wore a navy blue beret and had a leather satchel across his shoulder. He drove about on a scooter. He took care of our garden.

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The first post

I’ve written notebooks full of ideas and recipes all mixed together with thoughts concerning food and color combinations, plate arrangements, table settings, styling and food presentation. My notebooks form a history in themselves, tracing my work as a cook.

After procrastinating for a number of months, the perfect hazy Sunday morning has arrived to sit down at the kitchen table and write the introduction to my own kitchen diaries.

Cooking brings the senses alive. Substance, taste and smell come to the foreground. A chemistry of ingredients mingle as the kitchen becomes perfumed. All other activities fall into a backdrop as the elements of a meal come together.

This is my cooking journal. Ultimately it will form a book of notes on simple dishes and meals made from a cupboard of favorite ingredients.  My collection of recipes are primarily from the authentic Italian kitchen. Although not strictly vegetarian, I will highlight vegetables and herbs, and other beautiful elements to be found on the kitchen tables of my friends in Italy.

I prefer naturally grown produce as well as fresh and seasonal ingredients obtained from people who care about their products. My passion is for healthy food, free of artificial colors and preservatives. My quest is to document wonderful dishes that are as easy as pleasurable to make.

As my journal develops I will construct a library of special sources. My favorite place to buy food is at farmer’s markets, thus I will write about the special markets I know and my relationship to them.  In addition I will make a scrapbook of personal photographs.

Cooking inspires.  The content of this journal of recipe writings are inspired by mothers and daughters. First and foremost, I dedicate my work to my mother who taught me the love of cooking.

Saluti – Terri Salminen