Always Eat the Hard Crust of the Bread: Recollections and Recipes from My Centenarian Mother
by David Mazzarella
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Benigna Preziosi Mazzarella led a life that seemed the epitome of ordinariness, except that it also embodied a perfect storm for longevity: amazing genes, adherence to a Mediterranean diet, and almost compulsive physical activity. Benigna imbued her days with an energy all her own. Even more remarkable, she lived to be over one hundred and seven years old.
David Mazzarella, a journalist and the son of Benigna, shares a cooking, eating, and lifestyle guide based on his mother's philosophies that a lifetime of hard work was not bad, that laughter was even better, and that the only enemy in her life was fat. Known as a wizard in the kitchen, Benigna possessed uncharacteristic dislikes for a lady who exclusively cooked Italian food—she had little use for garlic, oregano, unpeeled tomatoes, wine, and the insides of bread. Mazzarella offers a glimpse into a typical day in his mother's kitchen along with the recipes of her most sought-after dishes, including one made with a mysterious herb.
Always Eat the Hard Crust of the Bread shares a wonderful tribute to a tough matriarch and inspiring cook through entertaining anecdotes, personal foibles, unforgettable sayings, and practical recipes that share one woman's secret of how to live a long and happy life.
"A delightful tribute to a long-lived mother and some quirky family members with dozens of Mama's unique recipes, including one made with an obscure herb that few know how to use."
—Gwen Romagnoli, co-author of Italy the Romagnoli Way: A Culinary Journey