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Domenica Marchetti calculates that she has spent at least half her waking hours at the stove or dinner table. She grew up in an Italian family, with a mother who had her shaping gnocchi and ravioli before she could walk. She is the author of four books on Italian home cooking: The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy; Big Night In: More Than 100 Wonderful Recipes for Feeding Family and Friends Italian-Style; The Glorious Pasta of Italy; and Williams-Sonoma Rustic Italian: Simple, Authentic Recipes for Everyday Cooking. Her fifth book, The Glorious Vegetables of Italy, will be published in 2013. She is a graduate of Columbia School of Journalism and worked as a reporter at newspapers in New Jersey, Detroit and Washington, D.C., covering everything from school board elections to billionaire philanthropists. She has never attended culinary school and has no intention of doing so.

By Domenica Marchetti

Postcard from Mackinac Island

Labor Day marks the end of tourist season on Michigan’s Mackinac Island. Most of the summer dwellers and day-trippers have departed by ferry back to Mackinaw City. The more intrepid ones have ferried over to St. Ignace, in the Upper Peninsula, in order to cross the five-mile-long Mackinac Bridge—the world’s fifth-largest suspension bridge—back to the …

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Mulberries can be a blessing as well as a curse

I have long thought of mulberries as the cockroaches of the berry world — prolific, ubiquitous and universally despised. As a fruit, they lack the intense, complex flavor of blackberries or the soft delicate appeal of raspberries. As an ingredient, they have always seemed more trouble than they’re worth, with an intrusive stem that runs …

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A mother who made artichokes before they were trendy

Like kale, cauliflower and other vegetables, artichokes are enjoying something of an “it” moment. There are Pinterest boards devoted to artichokes, videos on how to clean them, even an Instagram hashtag (#carciofogram, after the Italian word for artichoke, ‘carciofo’). A beautiful photo of baby artichokes graces the cover of my most recent cookbook. Yet I …

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The Italian Easter Bunny leaves a pizza rustica

Sure, I looked forward to chowing down on chocolate bunnies and jelly beans on Easter morning when I was a kid. But I was just as excited about later in the day, when I could dig into a slice of my mother’s pizza rustica. Don’t let the word “pizza” fool you. This is no tomato- …

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Sweet Potato-Chocolate Cake

The Kitchen Sink: Back to ‘Victory Garden Cookbook’

In January, my husband signed us up for a weekly CSA (community-supported agriculture) program. Since then we have been “blessed” with an abundance of winter greens and sweet potatoes. Especially sweet potatoes. Lots of them. Big ones. I’ve put them in soup and in chili, and we’ve consumed more than a few batches of these …

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Holiday Drinks: Hot buttered rum

Not everyone has a taste for rum—the tropical liquor made from molasses and other sugarcane byproducts. And yet, there is something supremely appealing about rum when it comes attached to the words “hot” and “buttered.” It immediately conjures snowy nights and blazing fires, plates of sugar-dusted cookies and the sound of sleigh bells in the …

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Cops & Doughnuts an arresting success

Police officers are charged with protecting a community’s citizens. The cops in Clare, Mich., population 3,128, went one step further: they saved the town bakery. In May 2009, Clare City Bakery, a fixture on McEwan Street for more than a century, was days away from closing its doors for good—one more small-town victim of Michigan’s …

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The Kitchen Sink: remembering Marcella Hazan

There was no Julia in our house when I was growing up. My Italian-born mother was always a bit suspicious of the large woman with the warbly voice who so enthusiastically preached the art of French cooking. But from the time her first cookbook, “The Classic Italian Cook Book: The Art of Italian Cooking and …

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The Kitchen Sink: The tomato sandwich

Harriet M. Welch turned me on to the tomato sandwich. Harriet, better known as “Harriet the Spy,” was the spunky and nosy protagonist of the classic children’s novel, the girl who spied on her friends and neighbors and recorded their failings and eccentricities in her notebook. She also ate a tomato sandwich for lunch. Every …

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Postcard from New England

I spent 4th of July weekend on the beautiful rocky coast of southern Maine. I went to York to teach at Stonewall Kitchen, and since I like road trips, I grabbed the first three people I could find, which happened to be my family, and brought them with me. It was my first visit to …

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