Growing up in an Italian family, I was immersed in the culture of food. I believe that good food is more than just sustenance. Food unites us all as human beings. Food is a common thread and a significant part of our culture. Mom taught me the importance of good food and nutrition and how important bringing the family together around the dining table was to our culture. For people with scarce economic resources, a regular source of nutritious food at little or no cost is a tremendously vital component of their existence.
My mom, Angeline, was a wonderful cook, and a great collector of recipes. As part of my work as Executive Director of the Amesbury and Merrimac Housing Authorities, I published a regular newsletter for our residents and would always include some of Mom’s recipes on the back page, under the heading The Recipe Lady. The residents loved these recipes, not only because they were delicious, but because they used common, inexpensive ingredients and seasonings – perfect for anyone on a budget who loves great food.
I was introduced to Our Neighbors' Table during my tenure at the housing authorities. Once I became aware of the mission and the good work that was being performed by ONT, I became a devotee. Our Neighbors' Table was a force of good that would assist our residents in a multitude of ways, not the least of which was to enhance “food security” by providing good nutrition, on a regular basis. Over the last decade, I have seen Our Neighbors’ Table expand its mission and outreach, even in the midst of difficult economic times for small charities. I get deeply involved in causes that I believe in, and Our Neighbors’ Table is one of my favorite charities.
My participation in Our Neighbor’s Table was so important to me before my mom passed away in 2014 at the age of 97; and now especially after her death, it is a way I can continue to honor her and stress those things that were very important to her.
To honor my mother and to keep her memory alive, I have put together the best of her recipes in a cookbook called, appropriately, The Recipe Lady. The initial run of the “The Recipe Lady” cookbook will be paid for in full by my family to honor this great lady. All of the proceeds will go directly to Our Neighbors’ Table. One of the single most important aspects of mom’s life was “La Famiglia” (the family). I am sure she would be very pleased to know that her recipe collection will benefit families in need and give them the opportunity to gather together each day around the dinner table with a wonderful meal to nourish their bodies, minds and spirit.
Working with charities is an American Tradition. For me, the most important contribution I can make is to assure that elders, the disabled, and especially families with children have access to good nutrition. It's getting back to the basics. And it's about staying local.