Italian Spices: A Memoir

(5 customer reviews)

Italian Spices: A Memoir is a small book beginning when I was 12 and meeting cousins, Aunts, magnificent art, fabulous food and different customs. What it was like to fly in 1960 from Manchester NH to Rome Italy during post war reconstruction. To live where I didn’t know the language. To look at history and cemeteries of Americans and feel pride. It began with my parents romance which culminated in marriage after only 3 weeks and lasted 67 years. And demonstrates my love for this family and the joy of melding our cultures. Recipes spice up the book as well as humor.

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Description

This is a story of family love over long distance.  At age 12 the author had no idea of what to expect when she left Manchester, NH for a 16 hour propeller flight out of Boston eventually landing in Rome, Italy where she would live for 3 months.  This is a story of surprises, adjustments and growth which partly imitates her immigrant mother’s trajectory as a war-bride first arriving in the US right after WWII.  It is also the story of strong bonding between cousins and the gifts of her Italian cousin as her life ended prematurely.

 

 

Touring

Although the book begins in Rome in 1960 it spans 50 years of travel to and visitors from Italy. It takes you on the author’s searches to find some of her cousins who had disappeared from her life following the loss of their mother who was linked to Gina. Thus regions around central Italy are explored with trips to Venice, Florence, Naples and on to Pompeii. Eventually cousins are reunited in Sicily which is a great adventure with Etna pouring out magma in the background. Sicily is more ancient than even Rome and shows much of Greek architecture and, of course, wonderful meals!

Who should read this book?

Initially written from the perspective of a 12 year old the story unfolds with humor and the curiosity you would find in most young people. It is actually an excellent book for any first time visitor to Italy or a seasoned traveler wishing a fresh view. It helps prepare the reader for the art, the history and the ruins as though they were among the first to discover these miracles.

Italian Food

This book demonstrates how the heart of a family and the heart of a culture are never far removed from food. Early in the book the author describes her first meal with family in Rome and how it had moments of both confusion and joy. How she had to overcome certain very American prohibitions regarding cuisine and conquer her New England stiffness regarding vino. Food takes the family through many occasions and the author describes how her mother helped woo her prospective husband by providing him with the largest potatoes at the meal and the most delicate pastas and sauces. Joyous repasts appear throughout the book.

Familia

Family visits to the States engendered great excitement here. Gina would cook for weeks in preparation freezing all she could for ease of final preparation when the visitors were with her. The author and her husband would arrange for the best local explorations and even obtained extra tickets so Elena and Ezio could experience the authors family’s favorite sport UCONN basket ball. They loved the fact that the women’s coach was Geno Auriemma. They were proud that he was so important in America.





And when Elena was very ill my last weeks with her were spent learning her special recipes. We joked she was the brains and I was the body who could chop things and put them together as she instructed. Much of the advise on Italian cooking came from her and Ezio as well as, of course, from my mother.




Additional information

Weight 4 oz
Dimensions 7 × 7 × 2 in
Book Type

Paperback

Category , , ,
Tags , , , , , , , , ,
SKU 32489125

5 reviews for Italian Spices: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Priscilla D. Douglas

    I was surprised by the way Italian Spices: A Memoir took an historical perspective of Italy around WWII and reflected the challenges of a bi-cultural family emerging from the war and into the 50ies. Waspish New England must have been a daunting environment for an Italian war-bride to enter especially as she knew no English and none of her husband’s family. The book shows how a determined woman used her talents as a hard working cook and seamstress, combined with her beauty and charm to thrive as a wife and mother and eventually a store owner. Her recipes and influence on her children made her truly successful. As a registered dietitian I was enthralled by the healthy and fresh use of foods in her version of the Mediterranean diet as shown in her recipes. Once I started Italian Spices I could not put it down until I had read the entire book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hoitt

    Italian Spices was a delightful read. I was quickly pulled into your family with its sometimes warm and dear, sometimes quirky and amusing moments. I was deeply touched by your relationship with your cousin Elena, especially as she struggled with ALS; and your evolving understanding of your mother and the life she had led. The story, seen initially through the eyes of a sheltered 12 year old American girl then transitions with her as she gains independence and later becomes a successful professional and loving mother and wife with a deep value for both sides of her family. Thank you for taking the reader on this beautiful journey.

  3. Staubach

    Italian Spices: A Memoir is a richly peopled travelogue and a tasty appreciation of Italian home cooking. In the book, author Cindy Adams connects the story of her mother, a much in love, young war bride who immigrates to the US to be with her GI husband at the close of World War II with her own quest to know and understand her mother’s people and culture.  From her first visit to Italy at the age of twelve, to her later trips as an adult, Adams is embraced by aunts, uncles, and cousins. She fills the book with recipes and descriptions of her relatives’ daily lives. We see her uncle make weekly trips to the countryside to purchase large jugs of light, white wine, which he decants for the table; a family friend’s artichoke farm; a bustling market. The book is also a tribute to Gina, Adams’ mother, who was not only a good cook, but who ran her own shop, Roma Ladies Wear, in New Hampshire for 25 years. Italian Spices is a testament to what it means to be Italian-American. Written with warmth and charm, it will inspire readers to explore their own roots.

  4. Daryl Perch (verified owner)

    “Italian Spices: a memoir” by Cynthia Herbert-Bruschi Adams, will make you smile, laugh and cry, sometimes at once. It will also make you hungry. It is part travelogue, part cookbook, written with affection for her Italian kin and peppered with delicious family recipes.

    The book recounts the author’s experiences in getting to know her bicultural family. Her mother, Gina Bruschi, was a WWII war bride who fell in love with Robert Herbert, an American soldier in Italy. She left her native country to settle in New Hampshire and raise the author and her siblings. Meanwhile, Gina rose from a young woman in a strange land who did not speak English to the longtime owner of a successful dress shop. There is much to admire in this woman.

    She and her kin were great cooks, which is partly responsible for my growling stomach while writing this review. I can’t wait to test some of these fresh Italian meals at home.

    The author’s adventures in Italy over the years make for a breezy, entertaining read. But the interesting, hard-working relatives that she gets to know and love give this book its heart.

    We should all write down precious memories like these to share with our children and pass on to our grandchildren. This book shows us that there is nourishment in kinship and poetry in ordinary life.

  5. Bruno Tomassini (verified owner)

    “Italian spices” is an authentic recollection of our days in Rome when
    my cousin was a child.

    It, also, touches me and our family very deeply that she came to love us
    all so much as the years went by.

    She is a good, deeply Italian girl and we all love her a lot.

    Cindy è sempre stata la mia cugina prediletta : la piu’ lontana, come l’Italia dall’America, la piu vicina negli affetti e nel cuore, mantenendo così quel legame che ha unito mia zia Gina a me , suo primo nipote, con il quale ha trascorso una parte, sia pur breve della Sua meravigliosa esistenza.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.

Once I started Italian Spices I could not put it down until I had read the entire book.

Priscilla D. Douglas

Italian Spices was a delightful read. I was quickly pulled into your family with its sometimes warm and dear, sometimes quirky and amusing moments. Thank you for taking the reader on this beautiful journey.

Linda Hoitt

Italian Spices: A Memoir is a richly peopled travelogue and a tasty appreciation of Italian home cooking. In the book, author Cindy Adams connects the story of her mother, a much in love, young war bride who immigrates to the US to be with her GI husband at the close of World War II with her own quest to know and understand her mother’s people and culture.

Staubach