Rosetta Costantino was born in Calabria and moved to America with her family at age 14. Although they left behind much of what was familiar to them, the Costantino family never lost their culinary traditions — and now Rosetta shares them with us in My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy’s Undiscovered South.
When paging through My Calabria, you feel like an honorary member of the family at the table as you learn about how Rosetta’s father recreated their Calabrian garden in Oakland, California; how various members of the family make the same dish; and also the 11 ingredients every Calabrian pantry should have on hand.
Rosetta also shares information about the historical and cultural influences on Calabrian cuisine and lifestyle, so aside from being a wonderful collection of recipes (150) that includes appetizers through dessert, My Calabria is simply a wonderful resource book on the region — you’re getting so much more than a cookbook here.
The recipes themselves are authentic as they come and easy to follow — one of the best things about Calabrian cooking is that it’s user-friendly as it uses so few ingredients — and the book is just gorgeous. There are plenty of full-page and other sized color photos throughout, not only of recipes but also of various sights from around Calabria.
From a personal standpoint as someone who has been making Calabrian food ever since I could cook — first from my grandmother’s recipes and now also from P’s mom’s — I give this book five very full espresso cups out of five. Rosetta is a wonderful tour guide through this region’s food, history, and culture, and I highly recommend My Calabria for anyone who is interested in Calabria, southern Italy, or southern Italian cuisine.
You can find out more about Rosetta, her book, and her culinary tours at Cooking with Rosetta and her blog, Calabria from Scratch. You can also listen to Rosetta’s interview in the Eye on Italy podcast, which I co-host.
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