Monday, October 29, 2007

Italian food, Catholicism and Family

Francesca's Kitchen by Peter Pezzelli was a nice break from the heavy books I've recently read. The book was a light read which brought to mind fragrant aromas of Italian cooking, going to Confession and the joys of family life.

I have always had a dream of going to Italy (which I hope will come to fruition someday) and maybe even living in Tuscany. The idea of going to a small town market, buying local produce and creating a wickedly delicious meal is something I wish I could do every day. I love the book Under the Tuscan Sun and in some ways Francesca's Kitchen was reminiscent of this book, although it takes place in Rhode Island.

Francesca, is an old Italian Catholic who lives alone. Her husband is dead, her two daughters live far away and her son although near by is a bachelor. She finds herself going through extended periods of loneliness and depression and longs for something to break up the monotony of her days. Eventually she responds to a babysitting ad in the newspaper. Soon every afternoon she babysits Penny and Will. They are the children of Loretta, a young single mom who struggles to balance work, her family and her sanity. Francesca wins her way into the children's hearts through food, tough love and compassion. It is Francesca's Catholic faith, strong will and determination that also help her to once again find joy in her life.

At the back of this book you will find an author's interview as well as some favorite Italian recipes (lasagna, biscotti, etc.). This book will have
your mouth watering the entire time. It is a heart warming story that will make you smile!