Beyond The Pasta: Recipes, Language and Life with an Italian Family

BEYOND THE PASTA                              MARK LESLIE

Several years ago, on a break between theatrical gigs in Alabama, Mark traveled to Italy and fell in love with the people, food and culture. Armed with just enough courage, minimal Italian language skills, and a certain proficiency in the kitchen, he enrolled in a full-immersion cooking and language program. He would travel to Viterbo, Italy and live with an Italian family. His teachers were beyond his wildest dreams-he learned to cook from the grandmother, or Nonna, of the family, who prepared every meal in a bustling, busy household, as women in her family have done for generations. Her daughter, Alessandra, taught him the language with patience and precision. Besides culinary secrets and prepositions, they opened their lives to him, and made him a real part of their extensive family. Though the book contains authentic, delicious family recipes Nonna shared with Mark, Beyond the Pasta delves into food memoir subject matter not found in a typical cookbook. It was the day-to-day shopping with Nonna, exploring the countryside and le gelaterie, where he truly developed his language skills and a new, more joyful and uniquely Italian way of looking at the world. 


This was a good cookbook with good stories to go along with the recipes. The author taking a trip to Italy and learning to cook from an Italian family mostly from the grandmother or Nonna. The area in which he was learning was a little different from where my family was from, so some of the recipes were different. Yet some of the ingredients were the same. I found that to be interesting. This book also took me back to my father teaching me to cook from his grandmother’s recipes. He was the eldest son in our family it didn’t matter boy or girl the eldest was expected to help in the kitchen and he did. His love of stories and food was passed down to me and that was what this book brought back to me. The smells of the kitchen when cooking certain Italian foods is like no other, with a glass of wine while cooking and then sharing with family or friends or both is what cooking is all about. I got that from this book. The recipes were all easy to follow and overall this was a very good book. I received this book from I gave it 5 stars. Follow us at

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