Biba Caggiano says, “Mark, you have captured the essence of the Italian people.”
“Beyond the Pasta: 28 Days of Recipes, Language, and Life with an Italian Family” is a labor of love for me at the moment. The book is a travelogue/memoir/cookbook with each “chapter” being a daily entry based on the e-mails I sent home from Viterbo in August 2005. Each daily entry starts with a photo and ends with one of the many recipes we prepared each day. In between the two, I write about my experience of the day: the things we cooked, the language I learned, the places we visited, and, most importantly, how I was allowed to become a part of this Italian family and given an intimate look into their daily life.
Today I received a very nice note from TV chef, cookbook author, and Sacramento restaurateur Biba Caggiano giving me permission to quote her for the book. Several months ago I sent the introduction and first three days to her with the hope of securing an endorsement. She called me weeks later and raved about the material saying, “Wow Mark, can you write! You have captured the essence of the Italian people.” High praise indeed, coming from an Italian.
If you aren’t familiar with Biba Caggiano, I highly recommend that you check out her website: www.biba-restaurant.com. Also, if you live near or happen to be in Sacramento, CA, you must eat at her restaurant. Her food is absolutely ITALIAN and not Italian-American. I ate there three times over the weekend of my 40th birthday and I thought I was back in Italy–her food is that authentic. Also, the recipes in her cookbooks are easy to make and delicious to eat. Truly, check out her website, restaurant, and her cookbooks. You won’t be disappointed.