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Book details
  • Genre:COOKING
  • SubGenre:Courses & Dishes / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:134
  • Format:Hardcover
  • Hardcover ISBN:9781543904413

Mariooch's Kitchen

Food That Will Gather Your Family

by Mary Abitanto

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When I was a little girl, my Italian father called me Mariooch, a variation of Mariuccia (pronounced mar-ee-ooch-ee-a), which means “little Mary” in Italian. When he would say, “Mariooch Mangia Cabooch.” I thought it was some endearing Italian phrase, but years later I found that he was just saying in his own funny and rhyming way, “Mary eats cabbage.” To this day, I still laugh about it. Thanks, Dad! Humor is a key ingredient in life! I guard, honor and cherish family mealtime. Even if my husband, three children and I are very busy and moving in different directions throughout the day, at mealtime we gather together. It gives us time to reconnect with each other, share the happenings of our day, and enjoy a warm delicious meal. Writing this cookbook was a labor of love and when looking for the book’s title I had to search no further than my father’s nickname for me. So, welcome to my kitchen - Mariooch’s Kitchen – Food That Will Gather Your Family. 


This cookbook includes a collection of some of my favorite meals and recipes. My hope is that these will inspire you to create delicious meals for your family and friends. My family teases me and says that I inherited the Italian cooking gene from my grandmother. It is true that her influence on my cooking, and in my life, is immeasurable. When I’m making homemade ravioli, tomato sauce from tomatoes from Italy, and especially when baking homemade Italian bread, I’m reminded of childhood memories of cooking with my grandmother in my kitchen. When asked how she made a recipe, she would say, “I used a little of this and a little of that.” She had such an extensive knowledge of Italian cooking, even though she didn’t follow a traditional recipe. I know she would be proud that I am continuing to carry on old world family traditions. I also learned to cook from my parents, Midge and Mike, and the Swiss and Irish influences from my mother still resonate today in my meals. I have been incorporating the lessons learned from my family with inspirations from my travels around the world, my own personal creativity and recipe development in my home kitchen, and my desire to avoid waste and incorporate fresh local ingredients. I call myself a “Homegrown Chef” and for more than a decade I have been just that. My youngest son, Jack, was diagnosed with food allergies as a baby, and eating out was not an option for our family. Healthy eating and allergy-friendly meals became a way of life. Jack, along with my husband Peter and my two daughters, Maggie and Sydney, have become my taste testers. In my recipes, I avoid using fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree-nuts and sesame. I also tend to avoid cooking with egg. I will note on recipes that apply if it is gluten-free, egg-free, tree-nut free, peanut-free, or sesame-free. I do not cook gluten-free, but like to note it if a recipe can be adapted. My cookbook offers recipes that you can make all year round. Some are Italian classics like my Italian Style Meatballs, Rustic Tomato Sauce, Spinach Lasagna, Eggplant Parmesan, Homemade Pasta, Ravioli, and Potato Gnocchi. I also offer some all-American fare like Chicken and Dumplings Soup that will warm your heart and soul, Creamy Dill and Lemon Dip, White Bean, Red Onion and Arugula Pizza, Roasted Vegetables, and Macaroni and Cheese. Some Mediterranean inspired foods like Homemade Hummus, and Lemon Chicken with Orzo are included as well. My desserts will not leave you disappointed. I offer an array of desserts including my Vanilla Cake, a scrumptious Apple Pie and a recipe for Ricotta Cheesecake that has been in my family for many generations. You will get your kids to eat their veggies with my Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Yam Cookies. Yummy or should I say Yammy! This cookbook provides a strong foundation in which to create delicious food for your family. Every recipe is easy to follow, nutritious and calls for you to use the freshest ingredients available. These recipes have become go-to family meals.

About the author
Mary’s passion for food, family, giving to others and the bonding ritual of mealtime are all integral to her life. Rooted in her Italian grandmother’s old world traditions and memories of boisterous family gatherings, Mary’s modern Mediterranean inspired take on the family meal incorporates fresh and local ingredients and alternatives for families with food allergies and food sensitivities. Mary has successfully managed her youngest son’s food allergies with creativity and inclusiveness. She resides in a small town located along the East Coast, close to two horse farms and many local farms. For the past six years Mary has shared her value of the importance of a home cooked meal by volunteering as a cook for an area preschool that serves hot breakfasts and lunches to underprivileged and homeless children. This homegrown chef also shares her cooking, healthy eating and healthy living tips through regular posts on her blog An accomplished food photographer and food stylist, the blog also showcases Mary’s latest creations. Mary balances being a mother to her three children with numerous entrepreneurial endeavors, including owning a wholesale apparel business, and developing her blog and cookbook. She is the creative inspiration behind all of these projects. When not deriving pleasure from watching friends and family devour her meals, Mary spends as much time as she can outdoors and at the beach.
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