Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weekend Cooking- An Excerpt From Adriana Trigiani's The Supreme Macaroni Company


This post is part of Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking.  If you have anything related to food, cookbook reviews, novel or non-fiction book reviews, recipes, movie reviews, etc., head over to Beth Fish Reads and add your post. Or, if you want to read food related posts, head over to read what some interesting people have to say about food.



Adriana Trigiani is one of my favorite authors, both for her compulsively readable books and for the funny, kind person she is. Her fans, myself included, have been waiting rather impatiently for the third book in her Valentine series, and the wait will be over soon as The Supreme Macaroni Company publishes on November 5th.

The books follow the adventures of Valentine Roncalli, a thirty-something unmarried Italian woman who creates gorgeous wedding shoes for her the company her grandparents founded, Angelini Shoes, located in Greenwich Village in New York City.

Valentine comes from a loud, raucous Italian family and my favorite scenes in all three books are set on Christmas Eve, during the Feast of the Seven Fishes, when we get to see the Roncalli family cook, eat, drink, laugh and eventually fight. These scenes always have me in stitches laughing out loud, and usually the people sitting around me while I am reading them eye me warily.

At this year's celebration, Valentine has big news for her family; she is engaged to handsome Gianluca, the older Italian leather tanner she fell in love with in Italy in the second book of the series, Brava, Valentine. This is big news for the family, and they get down to brass tacks right away, immediately planning the reception at Leonard's, the huge, overly ornate catering hall.

Also discussed is a tradition I am not too familiar with as I am from an Irish family- cookie trays. Valentine describes them to Gianluca this way:
"Another Italian-American institution. Every woman in the family bakes cookies, dozens of them. They box them up and meet at a disclosed location where they stack the cookies on trays lined with gold doilies. They wrap the pyramid of cookies in cellophane and tie it with curling ribbons that, once again, match the bridesmaids' dresses. As dessert is served, the flowers are removed from the tables and the cookie trays become the centerpieces. They're pretty and delicious, but never forget, it's also a competition, fig bar against fig bar, but no one sings the National Anthem and gets a medal in the end- you just get bragging rights."
She continues:
"You got snowballs, pizelles, amaretti, sesames, chocolate biscotti, mini cupcakes, jam-centered thumbprints, peanut butter rounds witha Hershey kiss hat, seven-layer cookies, coconut bonbons, and confetti- don't forget those candy coated almonds. They are good luck, even when you crack a molar when you bite down on one."
An Italian Cookie table from Italian-Canadian Life
I know that the cookie table is also a big Pittsburgh tradition; I'll have to ask my sister-in-law about it. Have any of you made cookies for the Cookie Table at a wedding? Let me know in comments.

In the meantime, be sure to put The Supreme Macaroni Company on your TBR list for November; it was definitely worth the wait. For more information on the novel, visit this Facebook page.

My review of Very Valentine is here.
My review of Brava, Valentine is here.

15 comments:

  1. A cookie table sounds like a wonderful tradition. But I've never seen one at a wedding in Missouri.

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    1. I would love to participate in something like this.

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  2. Oh yes! I'm not sure about these days, but when I was growing up (in Ohio) the cooking baking frenzy accompanied every major event--weddings, births, deaths, bar mitzvahs, graduations, engagements, major birthdays and anniversaries, and holidays.

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  3. Oooh, I haven't read this one - will be hunting it down to read soon. Cheers

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    1. I like that Valentine is not a perfect character; sometime you want to shake her.

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  4. I've participated in cookie swaps, but have never seen a cookie table. I love cookies, though! I read the first Valentine book, but haven't gone on to the others yet.

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    1. All three books are so good, and this last one leaves you hoping for a fourth.

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  5. I once had a student ask to reschedule an exam so she could go home and help with the cookie table for her sister's wedding -- of course I said yes!

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    1. What an understanding professor you are. I hope she brought you some cookies as a thank you.

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  6. I grew up in an Irish family...but close enough to the Italian neighborhood to know about those cookie trays!!

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    1. I guess we didn't live close enough to the Italian neighborhood!

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  7. The cookie table is such a lovely tradition -- wonder why it isn't more widespread than it is. Encountered my first in Pittsburgh.

    I'm not familiar with these books but love the excerpts you shared. Will add them to my TBR list!

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  8. I like the idea of a cookie table! Where have I been that I am not familiar with this concept?!
    That is a good book you are profiling here today.

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