Someone once told me that miracles are higher laws happening on a lower plane. I like to think that we participate in the creation of miracles all the time. Whenever I plant a seed in my garden and watch it sprout, grow and bloom I feel as though I'm witnessing nature's miracles. This is alchemy in action - the transformation of one small thing (a seed) into something much larger (a flower, a medicinal herb). The concrete, physical manifestation of a seed into a fully grown plant is remarkable (how could something so tiny grow into something as large as a long stalk of garlic or a giant pumpkin?), but is far outweighed by the mental, spiritual and bodily effects that plants have upon us. Flowers have the ability to make us smile; echinacea, the ability to remedy the common cold; rosemary, the ability to help us better remember; sweet potatoes, the ability to sustain our energy for long periods of time...I could go on and on.
I'm not sure exactly when, but there was a point at which I began to understand the idea that food is so, so, so much more than what is on my plate. Grocery stores, farmers markets, recipes, cookbooks all create a tangible starting point for us to think about food. But when I take a moment to reflect on how each item of grocery store produce came to arrive in my kitchen, I'm reminded of the remarkable journey that began with a seed.
When any of us cook a dish, the individual journeys of each ingredient alchemize to create one meal - indeed the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When we prepare food thoughtfully and eat it slowly, our senses come alive to their true purpose - they experience all of the bounty and nourishment that Mother Earth offers us.
Thinking deeply about a plant's journey from seed to sprout to maturity has intensified my love for cooking. By the time I'm picking up a bunch of carrots from the grocery store, those carrots have already gone through a lifetime of experiences.
I celebrate Mother Nature's bounty by developing original recipes featuring many of the fruits, vegetables and grains that I'm truly amazed by. Over the last 20 years, I've experimented with hundreds of recipes - from my ancestry, from my husband's ancestry, from friends, from friends of friends, from cookbooks, from blogs. Fast forward - these recipes are being transformed into a BOOK. I’m writing a book. I'm writing a book with my daughter, Nicola. I'm pinching myself because I can hardly believe that it's happening! Heritage, Celebrating Family Recipes is about food alchemy and nourishment. It’s about sustaining yourself, your loved ones and Mother Earth.
The recipes in this book were born of an intuitive sense of how to combine ingredients (avoiding many common allergens like soy, dairy, gluten and sugar) and with deep gratitude for the sustenance that the food itself provides.
This book will meet you wherever you are - whether it's your first time dabbling in the kitchen or if you're an experienced chef. You'll find that there are simple recipes (as simple as a sprig of rosemary in hot water). Other times, you’ll be asked to grow and stretch beyond what you think you have time for. Behind all of the written formulas is a space for you to experience creativity, light, joy and wonder. When we prepare food with consciousness, the senses come alive and sparkle with a bone-forming, skin-glowing shout out from your taste buds and belly saying, "Damn that’s good!" Thank goodness that Mother Earth knows how to womb those sacred seeds to provide sustenance for her children.
Heritage is a self-published book that is the brainchild of Laura and her daughter, Nicola Parisi. Together they are writing, prop-styling, food-styling and photographing this collection of recipes. Stay tuned for publishing date!