I have been asked this question many times, while I was writing my book and even after `why.’ It is a question that I even asked myself many times, while I commenced writing it and even during the early mornings waking up at 5 am, and writing. It was a force that I cannot even explain to you, I just knew I had to write. It had started when my beloved mother passed away, she was an amazing person, full of love and so much to give, I had the privilege to be with her and my brother when she passed. It was like when she passed away, all that she had and all that she had done in her life was gone, like the wind. I felt an immense sadness that a woman who had left her country and family to come to a new country, and not know any one, and make a life for herself, together with my beloved father for their children, and for the generations to come.
What a selfless act, especially for today, would we sacrifice, our own lives for the future generations? I admired her so much, as I was not in her position or neither that of my father, and grandparents. So I cannot even fathom the depth of the sacrifice of life. My grandfather and grandmother (nonno and nonna) came in their late ’50’s. I am in totally admiration of my families, sacrifices for this generation and for future generations. They came with many other family members, and my father came with his entire family of 5 brothers, including my grandparents.
Going back to my beloved mother, I knew that she and my ancestors had given me the privilege to be the person I am today, from all of my experiences in this life, my journey in this life, too, has been one of learning many lessons, especially of character. I truly wanted to embalm this generation of immigrants that gave their all to their families, who loved unconditionally and who made personal sacrifices so that they could get ahead in life.
Her recipes and that of her mother, I used to watch her when she cooked as a child, she left her parents at the age of 21, and did not see them for a very long time. While I watched her cook, I often wondered if she listened to her mother while she cooked, she had that far away look. The absence of the loving heart of her mother. This generation, never saw their parents grow old, as they where always young to them, because of the memory from when they left them.
I wanted to preserve the recipes, that I remembered, before I could not remember them myself, so I took them from the chronicles of my soul, so that my own children would not forget, and to share them with you, and teach them to many as they come to my cooking school. Generations of lessons we have learnt along the way, the experience are the jewels that we leave behind, to inspire you and help you create dishes from generations of cooks.
To share the journey of this generation of immigrants and the generation of first born Australian children, born from this era. My story is not my own, as many have gone through the same road, but what I really wanted was to celebrate for the next generation of children and leave a trail of courage and strength for them as they journey into the future.
Thank you to this country Australia, for giving my family an opportunity to leave our own trademark of family and heritage.