thoughts on day 641

I’ve spent a lot of time talking lately about the nourishing power of cooking. I’m often on the giving end of that relationship, and it’s a role I cherish. Every now and then, though, it’s nice to step out from my usual position behind the stove, and simply be on the receiving end of a homemade meal. After six weeks of traveling to do publicity for the book, things winded down yesterday as I made my way home from Toronto. What an incredible bookend to what started here in NYC at the beginning of April.

Vittoria made her famous rice balls for my arrival in Canada. Nick contributed homemade dried sausage, as well as red and white wine—both homemade, to our dinner. Mary made the most perfect crostata with a jammy plum filling, and a crust that will haunt me until I have time to get into the kitchen and replicate it myself. Marisa made the main course, and what better way to make me feel welcome than with pizza? I felt so at home being with Marisa and her family, that I sat on the kitchen counter mere minutes after meeting her mom, Vittoria, so I could position myself just right to snap some shots of the incredible spread they had all prepared.


There are so many things I want to catch you all up on. Right now, I’ve got two big birthdays to kick off. The girls turn five and ten tomorrow. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that reality. How can I be the mother of a ten year old when I still feel fifteen at heart?


Friday night there will be a dozen kids flinging dough around my kitchen, as we usher in a new decade for my sweet Isabella. Twenty four hours later, we’ll be knee-deep in beads, paint and markers for some DIY fun for Virginia’s 5th birthday. By Saturday night, the apartment will be put back together, the chatter and chaos of the preceding 24 hours behind us. The house will be silent after swelling with the sounds of celebration and laughter, but the memories will be ingrained for a lifetime, creating one more stepping stone in a path towards happiness.

Music Pairing: Wouldn’t It Be Nice by The Beach Boys

Watch my Build a Better Pantry segment on Global TV.


  • elissapr

    So fab seeing you in Toronto – and yes…perfect musical pairing for this post!

  • Denise @ Creative Kitchen


    Happy Birthday to your beautiful girls!! It’s still amazing to me that they share the same birthday 5 years apart. So neat! My younger 2 girls are the exact same age as yours….they just turned 10 and 5 this past November and January respectively. 😉 They are good ages….I’m enjoying it immensely. I can hardly believe my 14 year old is only a few weeks away from her first “formal” dance. We just went out dress shopping with her BFF and BFF’s mom (which is a great friend of mine) last night. My friend & I are in awe that we’re in this station of life. My oldest starts high school in the fall. What?? Really?

    It sounds like you have a celebration to remember coming up. I know you girls will have a blast, and Mikey will be with you in soul and spirit. I know he would be incredible proud of you, your strength and all the grace at which you’ve handled yourself these past 641 days. 🙂

    I’ll be thinking of you this weekend as I’m donning my chaueffer hat & driving the teen girl all around for her social outings these next 2 night, all the while balancing the 10 year old who thinks her older sister gets to do it all. LOL.


  • merry jennifer

    I hope your girls have wonderful birthday celebrations and that you get to step back and watch them for a bit, enjoying their happiness with the day. Please give them — and you! — hugs from me.

  • Maria in NJ

    double digits is big time….congrats again on the book..and the girls birthdays!! Oh and Happy Mothers Day too!!…m

  • Liz

    Good to hear that the book tour went well. As I referred to my own copy, here in Montana, I thought of you often.

    Best, best wishes for a wonderful weekend with your birthday girls.

  • Marisa

    What a special post, I always feel extremely close to you when I read them but this time it’s exceptionally close 😉
    Happy birthday to those beautiful girls!!! Wish we could celebrate it with you!!! One day, we will. Xoxoxoxoxoxo

  • Jenn

    Happy Birthday to your beautiful girls! Born on the same date, very cool. Long time reader but had to comment when I realized that your Isabella was born on the same day in 2003 as my Alexandra! What a blessing and the best Mothers Day gift ever, right? Congrats on your new book, best wishes for you guys! Jenn in CT