What is the book about?FE contains the heart and soul of an Italian kitchen; all the things not found in recipes, and translates them into simple instructions that any novice cook can follow. It's a book about what goes on inside a cook's head as they're creating menus and meals. FE presents a humorous look at food, relationships and your kitchen set against the FE meal. FE provides a year's worth of entertainment and tips so that you too can begin living La Dolce Vita with your family and friends...
What is creating La Dolce Vita about?It's about the food; totally about the food. The lifestyle revolves around the production, acquisition, preparation, and consumption of food. And wine, of course. When you have these, the very best of these, then comes the desire to slow down and appreciate them. When you slow down and appreciate them, in the company of your family and friends, suddenly you are living La Dolce Vita. This book is about doing just that, having a casual, lengthy, start-slowing-down-for-the-weekend dining experience every Friday evening.
Is this your first book?Yes. I am planning follow-up books, Saturday Evening, to discuss effortless dining for 10-20 people, and Monday Evening to discuss dining for 1-2 people, and possibly a screenplay of Friday Evening with more stories of the people around the table with the food being the back story.
Did you visit your or your husband's cousins in Italy?Yes, we visited Jim’s cousins in Italy. He has cousins in several towns in the Val Di Non, which is in the province of Trentino/Alto Adige in the north of Italy (this area was once part of Austria), and in the town of Piana degli Albanesi near Palermo, in Sicily. We have also visited Venice, Rome, Florence, Bolzano, Trento, Orvieto, Palermo, Agrigento, and Milan.
Was the cover photograph taken in Italy?The cover photograph was taken of wonderful table set for a Friday Evening dinner in front of a view from Ortega Ridge in Montecito, CA. There is a picture of the roast goose from the L’ inverno seasonal menus on the back cover.
Who did the design and where was the book printed?The design and production was done by Media 27, Inc, a Santa Barbara company.
How did you come to write the book?Kristin's brain injury forced me out of my career and into my kitchen. The loss of my job required me to rethink my cooking style, and our finances. Focusing on food helped keep me sane during the very difficult times of her recuperation. The food lifestyle became the avenue for my creative urges. Kristin's care requirements forced me to slow down; my cooking style went from fry to simmer. We spent much more time together in the kitchen, and around the dining table. Over time we realized that the long, lingering Friday Evening meals were becoming the highlight of everyone's week. As I approached fifty, I realized I had not made any mark upon the world. Unable to return to a career in engineering, and unable to start a career in cooking; I realized one day that what I did do very well was "Friday Evening." I wrote it all down so it could be shared with others. It has been an adventure ever since. I hope that the readers will also find the happiness that I have found, no matter what the other challenges of their lives are.
Why do you omit cooking times and ingredient amounts from the menu items?Friday Evening is not another cook book. Friday Evening was intended to inspire others to begin experimenting in their own kitchens. Every oven is different. Every tomato, potato, and carrot is different. Everyone’s taste is different. It is my hope that the readers will refer to their existing cookbooks if they need detailed ingredient advice. I want them to throw away their cookbooks and start learning how to cook. I want them to make mistakes, learn from them, and begin to understand the dynamics of cooking. Most of all, I want the readers to try, to determine what they like and don’t like, and to cook foods to their tastes, within the dynamics of their own kitchens, not mine.
Why do you say that Friday Evening is the ultimate gift?I believe that this gift under $50 is capable of changing someone's life. After year's of creating my own "sweet life", I realized that adopting a food-centric lifestyle can be a path to happiness. I hope that you will not only purchase a copy of Friday Evening for yourself, but also realize that it can be a perfect Mother's Day (or Father's Day), graduation, wedding, anniversary, birthday and hostess gift. I hope that your friends will read Friday Evening and that they will begin to create happiness, through food, as I have. Who wouldn't want more happiness in their life?
What have other readers said about the book?
"I laughed all the way to my kitchen!"
"FE is a beautiful, well written discussion about how to find happiness by changing your food relationships and life priorities."
"[A] wonderful book, a cookbook with a heart."
"It has inspired me to a get back on the healthy way of cooking."