My name is Cara Mia Cipolla Kretz. Translated in Italian, it literally means My Dear Onion.
As a home cook, wife, start-up entrepreneur, recovering corporate workaholic, and travel aficionado, the creation of this blog is a natural place for me to explore my culinary heritage while finding a little creative enjoyment.
Family, homemade Italian cooking, and traditions are important to me. I grew up in a large Italian, Catholic family in the Chicago suburbs. As the eldest of eight children, living in close proximity to Nonnie (my grandmother), numerous aunts, uncles, and tons of cousins, I learned to cook for a crowd. My sisters – Marisa, Gia, Lisa and Lara – and I were the sous-chefs to our two Grandmas, and Mom. Three generations of women from two Italian families converging in the kitchen together. It was bliss. At first our jobs as young chefs were to set the table and wash dishes. Eventually they let us help to roll out meatballs, stuff the ravioli and tie the braciole. We learned from the best.
My father’s family comes from Aragona, Sicily, an especially beautiful village in the mountains near Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples. My grandparents Settimo and Maria emigrated to Chicago from Aragona and opened a grocery and butcher shop on the North side. Food was always central to our family as long as I can remember.
My mothers’s paternal family is from Ireland and maternal family from Calabria, near Naples, Italy. Surprisingly potato gnocchi was not often on the dinner menu. We were blessed that my Mother wrote down many of her family dinner recipes. However some of her recipes just had to be learned by watching.
My goal in writing this blog is to pass on our family recipes to the next generation, and hopefully inspire a few more great Italian home cooks. In this blog I will show you the tips and secrets of three generations of Italians and point out shortcuts that make it easy in this modern world. Since some people learn better by watching and doing, I have also included short videos for some of the recipes that will focus on more of the techniques and process I use to make a successful dish. For the foodies, I even have a few advanced and fun dishes to try.
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