Not My Mother's Kitchen
"When life gives you lemons, make limoncello! Not My Mother’s Kitchen is a funny, loving and oh so useful manual on food, family and survival when your mom is a terrible cook."
—Mo Rocca, host of "My Grandmother's Ravioli"
Award-winning chef Rob Chirico learned to cook as a defense against his Italian mother's awful meals. The first sentence of his touching, funny memoir is “My mother was an assassin.” Unlike what we imagine the traditional Italian mother—creating mouthwatering dishes like Cacio e Pepe and Summer Puttanesca—Mrs. Chirico did not like to cook. Dinner often meant a bowl full of Chef Boyardee Spaghetti and Meatballs or sandwiches of cold cuts. But Rob’s home was filled with a lot of laughter and much love.
An affectionate and nostalgic look back at his journey from the frozen food aisle of a Queens grocery store to gourmet chef, Rob Chirico has filled this memoir with over 70 recipes that he has perfected along the way. If your idea of heaven is food and family, dig in.
"A heartwarming story of growing up in an Italian-American household where there was no dearth of love, but not much in the way of good food. Thrown in for good measure are plenty of recipes, cook's tips, and historical anecdotes. It's a keeper."
—Julia della Croce, writer, journalist, and cookbook author
". . . no mere cookbook . . . it is a family's history and also American history. . . ."
—Michael Stern, author of Roadfood, Chili Nation, and American Gourmet
Read an excerpt of Not My Mother's Kitchen.
Try this recipe for A Thoroughly Unorthodox Puttanesca
As a self-taught cook, Rob always had an interest in food, despite growing up in a home that offered no inspiration. He flipped burgers in college and had no idea that he would enter the Sutter Home Build a Better Burger Contest in 1991, where he was flown to the Napa Valley, and competed for and won the grand prize of $10,000.
Read more about Rob Chirico.
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