Italian Celebrity Chef Says 'Every Day Can Be Festive'
Maria Liberati, celebrity chef, is recognized as an expert in Italian cuisine and culture in the U.S. and abroad. Interestingly, she began her career as a model, and said transitioning from modeling to cooking was a natural progression. She said she observed the connection between food and the stylish trends of the Europeans while traveling there on modeling assignments. "There is a presentation aspect that involves color in the dishes with all the fresh ingredients," she said.
Her latest book, The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions is a companion to her first book, The Basic Art of Italian Cooking.Consisting of 140 holiday recipes, it also offers wine paring tips, and the author's holiday anecdotes from time spent in Italy.
When asked to describe the premise of her book, Liberati said it is a cookbook designed to help the reader acknowledge that every day can be celebrated, not just holidays- in terms, of food, of course."I have included recipes that are festive but easy enough to cook for even a novice cook but special for anyone at any level to want to experience. there are some traditional recipes that I have 'tweaked' and some new ones. The Holidays covered are Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve, New Year's Eve, the Epiphany (A holiday for children with kid friendly recipes), Valentine's Day, Carnevale. Even if your family traditionally celebrates other Holidays you can experience these Holidays through the recipes and stories here," she said.
What follows is an interview with Maria Liberati,in which she discusses the inspiration for the book, the take-away she hopes readers will enjoy, and family members that have influenced her writing process.
What prompted you to write the book?
"I live in both Italy and the USA and spend many a Holiday in Italy. Holidays are a lot different in Italy than in the USA and are much less commercial, they are more about the food, family and friends that you share the occasions with than the material gifts you receive. So I wanted people to be able to experience that in some way in their own homes here in the US. That is why I have also included short stories about Holidays in Italy. They can experience the food and special recipes through the easy ,traditional recipes, but it was also necessary to include the short stories to give the full experience and people that are armchair travelers and those that don't like to cook can also enjoy the book."
Is there a key person or group that has inspired you in the process of writing?
"Besides my grandparents and aunts and mother who began my early interests in the culinary arts, I get my inspiration from the mountain town that I live in in Italy and where my great grandparents had their vineyard. No fast food restaurants there and a special occasion can be going for a walk to get artisan made cheese at a special cheese store or a freshly baked pastry at the local bakery. These were the sentiments that my grandparents when they came to the USA-making something simple into something special. So I used this as my inspiration for a Holiday book. Holidays are a time when people seem to only be concerned about what kind of material gifts they are getting but there are so many other ways to enjoy the Holidays and make them stress free and make them a time to be thankful for what you have already!"
As you embarked on writing your book, what was the overall message you wanted to convey to your audience?
"First of all, that you can make any meal into a special occasion with a special meal and don't have to wait for a Holiday to cook these recipes/menus. *Holidays should not be about the material gifts we receive but about the other gifts that we take for granted- having food on the table and friends and family and others to share the food with. These are the real gifts to be thankful for!"
Tags: Jackie O'Neal , Maria Liberati , Italian Cooking , Italy , European Fashion
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