Not My Mother's Kitchen

Not My Mother's Kitchen

  • 2495

By: Rob Chirico

Mo Rocca, host of "My Grandmother's Ravioli" says: "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."

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

Rob Chirico discusses Not My Mother's Kitchen on Heritage Radio Network's "A Taste of the Past."

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Author & Illustrator Bios:

Rob Chirico, author

Rob Chirico is a freelance writer and artist whose work has appeared in the food journal Gastronomica. Previous works include Field Guide to Cocktails (Quirk Books) and Damn!: A Cultural History of Swearing in Modern America (Pitchstone Press). He lives in Western Massachusetts.

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Awards & Honors:

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Editorial Reviews:

Library Journal

Award-winning chef Chirico’s (Field Guide to Cocktails) humorous culinary memoir recounts his love of Italian food that developed as a reprisal against his mother’s dreadful cooking. Growing up in an affectionate Italian family, Chirico’s home life was filled with laughter and music, but his dinners often consisted of canned and frozen foods and perhaps some cold cuts from the local deli. His grandmother, however, was an accomplished cook, and as the author accompanied her to their local markets, he developed both an admiration for good cooking as well as the ability to discern the excellent vs. average characteristics of ingredients. Chirico shares more than 70 recipes, including soups, salads, pastas, meat dishes, and pizza. Each recipe is prefaced with an introduction that includes a family anecdote or compelling facts about a particular item. Most of the recipes are uncomplicated and include easy-to-find ingredients (for the occasional rare product, a mail-order source list is included). Appendixes feature the author’s favorite kitchen utensils as well as cookbooks he deems influential. Filled with nostalgic stories, delicious recipes, and a wealth of facts and tidbits about Italian food, this will appeal to readers who enjoy chef biographies.

Publishers Weekly

Chirico (Field Guide to Cocktails) delivers a title that is equal portions humorous memoir and cookbook, and totally entertaining. Comically referring to his mother as an assassin in the kitchen and to his quest to conquer the cuisine of his heritage as a measure of self-preservation, he shares his trials and tribulations from starting as a picky eater in a home where cooking didn’t exist to becoming a passionate cook and food professional. His love of Italian food was ignited during a trip to Italy, where he discovered how the locals truly ate. Recipes include long-simmered summer tomato sauce; spring risotto with gorgonzola, ramps, and cherry tomatoes; and cacio e pepe. Along with these Italian favorites, there are some atypical recipes such as baked stuffed tomatoes and lamb ragù. Chirico also provides historical and informative details on ingredients and recipe lineage. Approachable recipes and fun facts make this an entertaining read.


ISBN: 978-1-62354-501-7

ISBN: 978-1-63289-200-3 EPUB
ISBN: 978-1-63289-201-0 PDF
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Page count: 240
6 x 9

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