For the past three years, Wren & Willow has had the pleasure of creating and publishing cookbooks chalked full of recipes from our dear family and friends. This year was no exception as we concluded our cookbook trilogy with One-Hundred Italian Eats by Wren & Willow. This year's book was a tribute to Italian family roots and heritage, and how food has a magical ability to bring us all together. Regardless of your family heritage, I hope you also have special memories and stories from around your dinner table. Allow me to share part of my heritage with you. -Laureen Miliziano Skrivan

One of the greatest memories of growing up in a large, extended Italian family on the East Coast, were the feasts. My grandma Josephine would spend days before the meal chopping, preparing, and cooking, never once looking at a recipe, and like magic, she would produce a seven-course meal that could feed the entire neighborhood. Grandma’s home in Trenton, New Jersey was humble; her dishes and table cloths did not match, but we knew that as we gathered around small card tables set up in the living room, we were about to indulge in a meal better than the finest Italian restaurant in town.

Her love of family and food was passed down to my father, George Miliziano, who loved nothing more than sharing a good Italian meal with his family and friends. Before eating, he would always take off his work shirt and wear a plain white undershirt so he could eat his pasta and gravy (that’s Italian for tomato sauce), with unbridled passion and without fear of splashing on his nice clothes. He would sit down, bless the food, and then declare Mangia! or Eat! His favorite time of day was dinner, and even as the dishes were still being cleared, he was already hankering for his next meal.

Now that both my grandma and father are gone, it is my privilege to carry on the love of good Italian food and pass it along to my children and grandchildren. It is a pleasure for me to watch my children learn how to host and have large gatherings in their homes with too much food for us all to eat. I know my father would have loved watching his great-grandchildren learn how to eat pasta with gravy and good meatballs, always while wearing a white t-shirt.

Some of the recipes in our new cookbook do not have precise measurements – that is the Italian way of cooking. This made for a challenging task when collecting recipes as many relatives simply replied, “What recipe? You just know how much of each ingredient is needed.”

The Italian way is to enjoy the meal for as long as possible, just like Grandma Josephine did. She always served a seven-course meal, which extended the time family and friends spent together. Every Italian is shamelessly proud of their heritage. When I meet a fellow Paisan (Italian), we have an instant bond and connection because of our deep roots. If you get a hankering to be part of the Italian food club, One-Hundred Italian Eats by Wren & Willow will help you create the very best Italian comfort food to serve to your family and friends!

If you would like your own copy of One-Hundred Italian Eats by Wren & Willow,

email us at info@wrenandwillow.com