I came across an article in the Los Angeles Times that took me to a place of true nostalgia with a touch of comfort. The title “Boiling down a cookbook set” by Evan Kleiman (who I know personally and is a phenomenal chef) jumped out at me as I remembered her contributions that changed how we “pizza” in Los Angeles in the 1980s by introducing the Neapolitan pizza maker.
Before I ventured off to open my first Maria’s Italian Kitchen I remember visiting Kleiman’s small Angeli Café. The tastes and smells of my experience were so familiar that I went home and told my mom Maria, “She cooks exactly like you!” I began to dig deep in this article about how she is downsizing her home, which is something my husband and I have recently been acquainted with since all the kids have earned their degrees and are starting life for themselves outside of California. Over the decades Kleiman has collected thousands of volumes that have taken her around the world, painted pictures and murals and even provided a history lesson or two while learning authentic and delicious recipes.
After reading this article I sent her a quick text and a snap shot of my mom’s cookbook collection. Funny that she thought I was just resending a picture of her book shelf. My mom’s collection looked just like hers! We continued to chat as I shared with her that my mother has the same love for cookbooks and she reads them like novels. My mother’s favorite cookbook by Carol Fields was so broken, used, read, egged, floured and highlighted that we had to tape the bindings so she could read just one more quick recipe on tasty breads. Evan Kleiman and my mother’s hunger for their craft reminds me of our homey style and recipes at Maria’s Italian Kitchen. With all of their knowledge and expertise, referring to a cook book shows their love, humility and passion for food and we pride ourselves on those very three things at Maria’s Italian Kitchen. Love, humility and passion are the first steps taken in any dish prepared.
Eat. Drink. Smile.