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Rosemary and Bitter Oranges

Growing Up in a Tuscan Kitchen

Patrizia Chen's childhood was suffused with the scent of simmering pots of cacciucco -- a local, hearty seafood stew -- and of the pittosporum blooming along the Tuscan coast. Her family's house and sumptuous garden in the Italian seaside town of Livorno are at the center of this captivating book that weaves together simple, delicious recipes with a love of home, family, nature, custom, and, above all, food.

The family cook, Emilia, a feisty, temperamental woman from a nearby fishing village, dutifully produces bland white dishes for every family meal, as dictated by Patrizia's grandfather. But behind the kitchen door it's a different story. One day seven-year-old Patrizia is led by a wonderful smell into the kitchen, where Emilia is preparing a spicy red sauce bursting with garlic and onion. With one bite, Patrizia becomes hooked. In the spacious, sun-drenched kitchen and adjoining herb garden, Emilia takes Patrizia under her wing, disclosing the secrets of her favorite Tuscan dishes.

Through vivid descriptions and charming anecdotes, Chen brings to life the white Carrara marble terraces, the coal-burning stoves, antique roses, and sacks of chestnut flour that fill the family house, kitchen, and garden. This delightful and evocative narrative will welcome you into the heart of Patrizia's Tuscan home and allow you to bring the robust flavors of Emilia's cooking into your own kitchen.

Photograph by Elisabetta Catalano

  Born in Livorno, Italy, Patrizia Chen is a former professional model who has lived in Egypt, Japan, Todi and Argentina. A superb Italian home cook, Chen is renowned for her gourmet dinner parties; her first book, Rosemary and Bitter Oranges, told the story of how she learned to cook as a child in Tuscany.  She is an avid tango dancer who brings her natural energy and charisma to everything she does--including contributing to numerous Italian publications and founding TangoInk--an online tango magazine. Chen lives with her husband in New York City and has two grown children.

More books from this author: Patrizia Chen