My parents had a farm in Northern California and grew many of the trees and vegetables which I now cultivate on my own little patch of Italy. My dad would really be surprised; as a child I showed little interest in helping him with the orchard. I adored our family's Italo-American neighbors, especially Azalia De Martini, Pina Jacuzzi, Emma Dragon and her mother Anna. They had big families and gardens and were always making ravioli, biscotti and foccacia. It was great fun assisting in their fragrant kitchens and I wanted to be Italian, too.
Years later I studied studied medieval and Renaissance Italian art history at UC Berkeley, and after a career in art and graphics, eventually found my way to Italy in 1993. In the next few years, nostalgic for the taste of that just-picked tomato still warm from the sun, I planted my own garden, restored the house where I live, and in 1996 helped to create the Amore Sapore cooking team, joined by my friend Paola.
Still connected with the wider world of food and travel, I belong to the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) and edited the association's Culinary Tourism Section newsletter, Appetite for Travel. A Culinary Trust Julia Child grant for food history research enabled me to produce the book Sustenance: Food Traditions in Italy's Heartland, a guide to farms, markets, and fairs in the Upper Tiber Valley. I am also a member of Slow Food Alta Umbria and the Mediterranean Garden Society.
In my spare time I love to explore the diverse regions that make up the country of Italy, garden, and cook with friends.