Cooking & Entertaining

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers: Recipes and Stories from Tuscany to Sicily

WINNER 2011 IACP Judges Choice Cookbook Award (International Association of Culinary Professionals)
WINNER 2011 IPPY Gold Award (Independent Publisher Book Awards)
Best Italian Cookbook of 2010 - Publisher's Weekly

American chef Jessica Theroux spent a year traveling throughout Italy, cooking and talking with Italian grandmothers, learning their secrets and listening to their stories. The result is a charming and authentic collection of recipes, techniques, anecdotes, and photographs that celebrate the rustic and sustainable culinary traditions of Italy’s most experienced home cooks.

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers
features the histories and menus of fifteen grandmothers, each of whom welcomed Ms. Theroux into their kitchens and pantries and shared both their favorite dishes and personal wisdoms. From the dramatic winter shores if Ustica to the blooming hills of Tuscany in spring, readers will journey through Italy’s most divers regions and seasons, to discover the country’s most delectable dishes, from the traditional to the unexpected, and meet the storied women who make them.

Part travel diary, part photo essay, part cookbook, Cooking with Italian Grandmothers features over 100 time-honored recipes, from the perfect panna cotta to the classic meat lasagna.


Recipes and wisdom from 12 Italian grandmothers
100 classic Italian recipes
A number of regional and seasonal menus, complete from appetizer to dessert.
Over 150 full color photographs.

About The Author

Jessica Theroux is a chef and artist whose passion lies in building community and health by gathering people around the kitchen table. A photographer and filmmaker, in 2003 Jessica was awarded the Arnold Fellowship by Brown University to travel to Italy and document food traditions. In 2005 shw was nominated by Alice Waters of Chez Panisse for a year-long culinary fellowship at the Montalvo Arts Center. She is now a freelance chef, teaching cooking at the Esalen Institute, Montalvo Arts Center, in the public school system, and privately from her home. Jessica continues to be in awe of food as a simple yet profound source of pleasure and connection.

  • Publish Date: September 28, 2010
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Cooking - Regional & Ethnic - Italian
  • Publisher: Welcome Books
  • Trim Size: 9 x 9
  • Pages: 250
  • US Price: $40.00
  • CDN Price: $40.00
  • ISBN: 978-1-59962-089-3


WINNER 2011 IACP Judges Choice Cookbook Award (International Association of Culinary Professionals)
WINNER 2011 IPPY Gold Award (Independent Publisher Book Awards)
Best Italian Cookbook of 2010 - Publisher's Weekly

"I just watched her (Jessica's) documentary and loved it -- such a beautiful evocation of what it means to take good things from the land in the purest way and prepare them and cook them  in the most natural and healthy way.  The woman who took us through the process was wonderful, and it was great to have the closeups of her and of all the little steps she took, from harvesting to cleaning, to making a fire, to cooking.  Watching all that can only make people think seriously about how they're eating, how they're living, and how attractive is the old-fashioned, simple way of life.  Made you think also of the importance of saving the small farms which have been threatened with extinction, and of how we can do that even in this post-modern world." -- Howard Zinn

In the kitchen with these wise women, Jessica observes much more than how to make the perfect osso buco and torta di mele. She sees what makes Italians Italian, and conveys the beauty and idiosyncracies of this culture with such insight that it carries us right to the heart of Italy. Cooking with Italian Grandmothers is an essential read for anyone hoping to understand the role of food in nurturing, or simply wanting to cook up some delicious traditional Italian home food.
--Sarah Weiner, Executive Director, Seedling Projects

"The Best Italian Cookbook of 2010"
-- Publishers Weekly, The Best Cookbooks of 2010

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers reads like a diary, a treasured recipe collection, and a photo album, all at once...Add Cooking with Italian Grandmothers to your collection and you, too, will taste your way through Italy with Jessica Theroux.
-- Andrea Mitchell, 

Buy this book if you or someone you love is interested in Italy, traditions, cooking, travel, discovery. Buy this book if you can picture yourself reading it propped up in bed at night and bringing into the kitchen the next day to take the lasagna recipes for a spin. Buy this book if you feel our elders have something important to offer us, or if you believe that there's something worth preserving in the oldways.
-- Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn

“This made me think of my Great Aunt Marge, a giant among Italian home cooks. She left behind a trove of recipes, but more than that, kitchen memories my family still savors – just like the women in this tome.”
–-Lynn Andriani, Senior Editor, Publishers Weekly

"Theroux spent a year in Italy, collecting recipes and stories from a dozen grandmothers...Usha in Le Marche shares her plum almond tart recipe, and Maria in Sicily schools Theroux on homemade ricotta. Needless to say, this book is a must for any Nonna-less Italophile."
-- 7x7 Magazine

"Cooking with Italian Grandmothers: Recipes and Stories from Tuscany to Sicily comes from an American chef who spent a year traveling throughout Italy cooking and talking with Italian grandmothers, learning their secrets and stories.  The result is a fine blend of history and recipes of twelve selected grandmothers who welcomed Theroux in theis kitchens and shared their favorite dishes.  From Roasted Leeks with Eggs and Olives to Brocolli and Pine Nut Pasta, this is packed with flavor and insights."
-- California Bookwatch

"This book is a joy to read, and awakens the appetite with its clear and simple recipes. I'm delighted that the author is a graduate of our Chef's Training Program at the NGI - she deserves all the success coming her way."
-- Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO, The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts, NYC

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers begins the important work of documenting the simple traditions that have been passed down verbally through exquisite, heartfelt anthology that is an important reference for us all”.
-- Alice Waters, from the introduction

"In preparation for my second ever trip to Italy, I was eager to absorb the stories and picturesque details of Cooking with Italian Grandmothers. The chapter about Bruna brought me back to thoughts of driving through the country side, the welcoming people, and the amazing yet simple foods. More reading found me inspired to try Bruna's Coniglio in Bianco (white wine-braised rabbit). As much as I love a good rabbit dish, I had yet to cook one myself until now. Totally lovely and easy to prepare, this rabbit dish worked beautifully with Maria's Cauliflower in Ricotta al Forno. I can not wait to try our more dishes and read the full stories of each grandmother. A true experience - I wish I had been there. I LOVE THIS BOOK."
-- Dava Guthmiller, CEO & Creative Director of Noise 13 Design, Leader of Slow Food San Francisco

"Jessica's elegantly crafted personal portraits present these recipes as artifacts of individual lives lived in rhythm with landscape, season and in harmony with tradition. The whole of this work transcends the expected."
-- Amaryll Schwertner, Chef/Owner of Boulettes Larder, San Francisco

Author Bookshelf: Alice Waters