I’m ready for my close up~

Nonna at her finest~

Here is the last of the three videos I filmed with the Stefani family in Viterbo. I think this one really shows her spirit. She makes me laugh—a lot. The month I lived with them in 2005 was filled with laughter. The entire family is very humorous and they all know how to tell a good tale.

In this clip she is telling me that her mother didn’t like to tell Nonna her secrets, so when she gave Nonna a recipe she would purposefully leave things out. Nonna caught on and started watching her mother cook and when her mother noticed that she was preparing the recipe WITH the left out, secret ingredient she said, “Why are you putting that in, I didn’t tell you to do that!”

I must admit that I am not 100% sure of the translation, but that is the gist of the conversation as I understood it. And until I am corrected, that is my story and I am sticking to it. Remember, even on a perfect day, I only speak Italian at a 2-year-old level.

Regardless—I love this clip because you get the true flavor of Nonna.

On another video matter~

I am currently being featured on the blog dishKarma with a video of my “Ultimate Italian Meal.” It lists the dishes, mostly from Italy, that I love to eat. They have a pretty impressive list of other “Ultimate Meals” videos by Ming Tsai, Christina Pirello, Hagan Blount, and Stephen Fried to name a few. They also feature links to food charities and organizations that are helping to bridge the hunger gap in America. I hope you enjoy my piece and, more importantly, their blog.

Some exciting news about my manuscript should be coming down the pike soon. I am looking forward to sharing all of the details with you.

Until then…enjoy Nonna’a story, my meal, and dishKarma. 

Buon Appetito!


About the Author

Mark LeslieMark Leslie, seen cooking on NBC’s "The Today Show" and Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family," loves to cook for anyone with an appetite, vacations in Italy every year, and lives to eat his way through every plate of pasta and cone of gelato placed before him. His first book, “Beyond the Pasta: Recipes, Language & Life with an Italian Family,” tells of his life in Italy while cooking with an Italian grandmother. He shares his food experiences on his blog at www.beyondthepasta.com and has taught cooking classes in California, Georgia, Minnesota, Texas, and across Alabama. While judging for high school culinary events, he was chosen by the US Department of Education to judge for their "National Education Startup Challenge." Mark can be regularly seen cooking on NBC-affiliate, WSFA-TV 12's "Alabama Live! each Friday, bringing easy, locally sourced recipes to central Alabama. His iTunes app “Beyond the Pasta” features helpful videos and more of Nonna’s family-style recipes that she shared with him, plus, upon its release, it was named “New & Noteworthy” by Apple. DaVinci Wines chose Mark as their "2012 Storyteller" in Language Arts—where they sent him to Vinci, Italy, to write about wine, food and life. Mark, his home and book have been featured in such national publications and blogs as House Beautiful, Paula Deen, Food Republic, The Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, Field & Stream, and The Daily Meal. A Chicago-area native and “Yankee” by birth, Mark has lived in Alabama for over 24 years, and celebrates the fact that he started life eating farina, progressed to grits, and finally arrived at polenta. Buonissimo!View all posts by Mark Leslie →

  1. Kris KendrickKris Kendrick03-05-2010

    She is precious!!!

  2. lucasilucasi04-13-2010

    Hi Mark, Nonna’s speaking with Luca’s help. I would like to clarify your doubts about lemon sauce for the chicken. Its name is “SALSA BECCANOTTO”. In Venice dialect Beccanotto means woodcock as in the past this sauce was made for cooking these wise birds. Anyway, I visited your website and I never thought to be in internet!! I thank you for the wondeful things you write about me even if I am ashamed a little bit. We are waiting for you in Viterbo and thank you again for your friendship,With all loves from me, Alessandra, Lillo, Mariana, Francesca, Thais, and LucaLa Nonna

"Beyond the Pasta" is owned and operated by Mark Leslie. Unless otherwise specified all content, writing, recipes and photography is original and held in copyright through the Library of Congress. It may not be used without the express written consent of Mark Leslie.