I just finished reading this delightful book: The Lost Ravioli Recipes Of Hoboken -- A Search for Food and Family by Laura Schenone.
I've always felt that the old recipes of our ancestors are a treasure to find, keep, and pass on, and often bring with them many remembrances that tell the story of a family more clearly than any genealogical chart ever could. The recipes of our grandmothers, and great grandmothers, are all too often lost in the shuffle of modern life and modern conveniences, and perhaps a changing palate and the lack of accessibility to ingredients of the "old country."
When the author, Laura Schenone, asks an elderly aunt for her grandmother's ravioli recipe, the ravioli of their past, the one that mothers, daughters and sisters would make together on holidays and celebratory occasions; little pillows of delicate pasta around a delicious savory meat filling under a homemade tomato sauce. She wants a piece of their history, and the "sacred dish" of their past. When Laura receives the recipe card from her Aunt Adele, she sees cream cheese as an ingredient, and she is puzzled and wonders why her great grandmother, who emigrated from Genoa Italy in the early 1900's, would have such an American ingredient in her ravioli? There must be some mistake! Thus starts her investigation, and the beginning of her life changing search.
The Lost Ravioli of Hoboken is a memoir, a culinary mystery, a travel guide to the Ligurian region of Italy, and a cookbook, all rolled into one fascinating story.
See Laura Schenone's website Lost Ravioli for more information about her book, and hear an NPR interview with her here.
Updated to say that she now has a lovely Youtube video where she makes ravioli using the technique she learned in Italy.
You will be inspired to write down your own special family recipes, and the stories that go along with them, to keep and pass along to your family too. Some ideas on how to save your family recipes can be found here at the Recipes Today web site. Go make a legacy!