This is my grandmother’s recipe book that she gave to my mother when she moved to New York for graduate school in 1982. This book and the recipes it contains have been extremely important to my mom as she navigated a completely different way of life in the US, eventually marrying an American man and raising her kids in the US. The book’s recipes are unique in that they also help to tell the story of my grandmother and our family’s past in Italy. My grandmother was born in Trieste, Italy, a small town on the northeast part of the peninsula. Historically, Trieste is remembered as being a key port of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and therefore many aspects of the culture have Hungarian and German influences. This historical tradition is emulated through the food culture of the region and, as the recipes show, the German and Austrian influences have remained with the traditional food to this day. For example, recipes such as gnocchi di pane or gnocchetti are accompanied by little notes by my grandmother of the original German names of the recipes: knödel and spazle, respectively. This book was extremely important to my mom as she immigrated to the US as it helped her maintain a connection with her food culture and family traditions at home and allowed us, as kids, to be connected with our family history when we could not physically be with our relatives.
– Katherine Hunegs