I grew up in northern Italy surrounded by Renaissance architecture and mysterious Venetian works of art. I experienced childhood in the romantic countryside and dreamt of becoming a writer. In my teens I filled my first notebooks with philosophical thoughts and poems, interwoven with recipes. My mind and my pen wandered as I sat at a white baroque-style desk, gazing at the purple Alps from my bedroom window. I soaked up the Italian way of life effortlessly, where food, people and culture are so closely interwoven. I learned how to cook from my mother, while living in a part of the world where grilled polenta and risotto are an essential part of weekly homemade meals. Cooking from scratch came naturally at our house and the kitchen was the center of a vivid social life.
My idyllic Italian past forms the foundation for a rich legacy of shared family recipes. Cooking is the constant factor in my life and I have written about food, culture and society for as long as I can remember. My love of the kitchen, for the simple beauty of the changing seasons and for sitting down at the table with friends and family, are habits I take with me wherever I go. In the course of my travels, I have come to realize that cooking is an inspiring activity appreciated by all. To my mind, exchanging food brings the world together. It is what we all have in common, no matter which culture or country we come from.