Hello, my name is Sera, which is short for Serafina.
Let me begin by telling you a little bit about my family. My parents and grandparents immigrated to New York from Sicily in the 1950’s, spurred on by poverty like countless others who left the island in search of a better future. In the Old Country they were peasant farmers.
They taught me their native Sicilian language, which some refer to as a dialect of Italian, but in reality is considered a separate language. They also taught me about their customs, traditions, and food, so I’m really a peasant girl at heart. I’d like you to imagine while enjoying these dishes that you are sitting down with me at my family table – a Sicilian peasant’s table.
My own story begins with my passion for cooking and a desire to document my family’s recipes, culture, language, and history. It all started with my grandmother Vincenza (Nonna), who was a phenomenal cook, but not to be eclipsed by my mother Maria, also a great cook in her own right. Nonna began teaching me cooking at the age of five. Looking back, my earliest memories are of me literally at my grandmother’s apron strings. Nonna’s teaching is where I received my Sicilian education and love of the cuisine.
The inspirations for my recipes come from my family, mostly from my mother who lives in New York City and still resides in the house where I grew up. My father Pino (Giuseppe) is the go-to guy for info on cultural questions, especially on old customs. Others who have inspired me greatly are my Aunt Antoinette, who owned an Italian bakery in Long Island, N.Y., and all my second cousins and family friends who also emigrated from Sicily.