WHOLE LOTTA LOVE: Cookbook contributor Sarina Bau holds a tray of traditional Italian biscuits.
WHOLE LOTTA LOVE: Cookbook contributor Sarina Bau holds a tray of traditional Italian biscuits. DEIRDRE SMITH

Tasty treats from Stanthorpe's Nonnas

EVERYBODY thinks their nonna makes the best cannoli or caponata but then they might have found that she was strangely reluctant to share her secrets.

A new book called Mangiare Da Amici - Rustic Italian Cooking will not only blow her secrets wide open but let you into another 50 treasured dishes.

David Hansen of the Italian Australian Welfare Association, based in Stanthorpe, said the compilation of recipes started as a simple project drawing on the memories of the association's clients, many of whom were over 80 years of age.

"The recipes were brought from their home countries,” he said.

"They weren't being written down.

"There was a dilution of culture in the second and third generations and they were being lost.”

Each recipe comes with a photo of the contributor, with a brief story about their life and an explanation as to why the dish is special.

"I don't know if you have ever tried to get a recipe out of your grandmother,” he said. "It's in her head, there's a dash of this and a dollop of that.”

The recipes then had to be trialled to see that they worked as described before being submitted to the all-important taste test.

Then it was suggested that contributions should also be translated into Italian.

"But there's bush Italian and everyday Italian and university Italian,” Mr Hansen said.

"If you asked five different people, they'd all say it a different way.”

But 50 recipes could hardly be enough and plans are already under way for a second collection of classic dishes.

The book was launched at the International Club last Friday with a special morning tea and eight-course lunch showcasing the chosen recipes. The contributors were all part of the event and received a copy of the book. In cases where the contributors had passed away, their children represented them.

The book costs $25 and

is available from Vince Catanzaro, Solicitor at 157 High St, the Information Centre and Mitre 10 at 47 Maryland St.

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