Heirloom Kitchen

Heirloom Kitchen

Heritage Recipes and Family Stories From the Tables of Immigrant Women

Book - 2019
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HARPERCOLL

A gorgeous, full-color illustrated cookbook and personal cultural history, filled with 100 mouthwatering recipes from around the world, that celebrates the culinary traditions of strong, empowering immigrant women and the remarkable diversity that is American food.

Born in Italy, Anna Francese Gass came to the United States as a young child and grew up eating her mother’s Italian cooking. But when this professional cook realized she did not know how to make her family’s beloved meatballs—a recipe that existed only in her mother’s memory—Anna embarked on a project to record and preserve her mother’s recipes for generations to come.

In addition to her recipes, Anna’s mother shared stories from her life in Italy that her daughter had never heard before, fascinating tales that whetted Anna’s appetite to learn more. So, Anna began reaching out to her friends whose mothers were also immigrants, and soon she was cooking with dozens of women who were eager to share their unique memories and the foods of their homelands.

In Heirloom Kitchen, Anna brings together the stories and dishes of forty strong, exceptional women, all immigrants to the United States, whose heirloom recipes have helped shape the landscape of American food. Organized by region, the 100 tantalizing recipes include:

  • Magda’s Pork Adobo from the Phillippines
  • Shari’s Fesenjoon, a walnut and pomegranate stew, from Iran
  • Tina’s dumplings from Northern China
  • Anna’s mother’s meatballs from Southern Italy

In addition to the dishes, these women share their recollections of coming to America—stories of hardship and happiness—that illuminate the power of food, and how cooking became a comfort and a respite in a new land for these women, as well as a tether to their native cultural identities.

Accented with 175 photographs, including food shots, old family photographs, and ephemera of the cooks’ first years in America—such as Soon’s recipe book pristinely handwritten in Korean or the measuring cup Anke tucked into her suitcase before leaving Germany—Heirloom Kitchen is a testament to female empowerment and strength, perseverance, diversity, and inclusivity. It is a warm and inspiring reminder that the story of immigrant food is, at its core, a story of America.

Profiled women and countries:

Gina (Calabria, Italy)

Maria (Calabria, Italy)

Lisetta (Sardinia, Italy)

Kanella (Greece)

Stacey (Scotland)

Emilia (Ukraine)

Tsilia (Ukraine)

Marina (Moscow)

Bea (Serbia)

Monika (Poland)

Susanne (Hamburg, Germany)

Anke (Berlin, Germany)

Tina (North China)

Daisy (South China)

Chizuko (Japan)

Soon (Korea)

Magda (Philippines)

Lydia (Philippines)

Khurshed (India)

Shobhana (India)

Shari (Iran)

Cheri (Iraq)

Lucy (Armenia)

Irene (Lebanon)

Shekaiba (Afghanistan)

Fethie (Palestine)

Nikita (Haiti)

Janet (Mexico)

Haydee (Puerto Rico)

Rocio (Peru)

Angela (Cuba)

Maria (Dominican Republic)

Morgana (Brazil)

Sheila (Panama)

Jennipher (Ghana)

Safoi (Morocco)

Amina (Egypt)



Publisher: New York :, Harper Design,, 2019
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780062844224
Branch Call Number: 641.59 GAS
Characteristics: 255 pages :,colour illustrations ;,26 cm
Additional Contributors: Scrivani, Andrew - Photographer

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laurendouglass May 28, 2019

A beautiful collection of recipes from immigrant women, showcasing their stories, experiences and cooking. A good reminder that America is a nation of immigrants and are all the better for it.

My only complaint: the whole of Africa gets only 20 pages and stories from only three women. It feels a bit imbalanced.

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