Gio and Toni's Remember “La Famiglia” Tomato Sauce. Family style, for their families and now, yours.
The small town of Vincolise, in Southern Italy, is difficult to find on a map. But it was there in a tiny kitchen that arguably the best tomato sauces were created. Growing up on the family farm, Giovanna and Antonietta learned from their mother and grandmother the joys of simplicity in cooking. “Since I was too young to work in the fields,” Gio recalls, “I helped at home learning how to cook meals for our family of 10.”
The young sisters also learned the meaning of hard work. Feeding and tending to the farm animals, carrying baskets of goods back and forth from the mountains, and even selling the organic cheese their father had made each morning to the townspeople—so that the family could have food on their own table to eat. Here, farm-to-table cooking wasn’t a trend, it was reality.
At 17 and 20, Antonietta and Giovanna came to the United States in search of the American dream. Attending night school to learn English, during the day they worked together in a factory making pocket books.
Antonietta met her husband and went on to have two daughters. Giovanna went back to Italy to marry her love. They returned to the States and had four children of their own. Giovanna's love for cooking allowed her to earn a living as a cook at a local high school, preparing lunches for more than 1,000 students and teachers.
Living minutes away from each other, the sisters have always remained close, keeping their love of cooking and eating as a family a cherished tradition. Gio sums up how the two sisters feel today. “Although it’s easy to buy pre-made meals or fast food, I cook every day. Every meal is prepared by me. I love cooking because it brings families together. Through my cooking, I know my children and grandchildren are having nutritious and healthy meals.”
Today, you can find both Antonietta and Giovanna in front of their stoves making their signature tomato sauce for authentic Italian dishes. Pasta, stuffed peppers, lasagna or parmigiana, the sisters still insist on fresh tomatoes and basil hand-selected that morning from the garden.
The best part of their traditional Italian cooking? The pure love of “la famiglia” that drives them to stand in front of those hard-working stoves every day. As Gio says from the heart, “I want to share my knowledge, experience and love for cooking with others. It is a legacy I’d like younger generations to appreciate and continue with their own families.”
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