These recipes were tested and improved in the kitchens of my mother, her mother, good friends and family over generations.
After long hard days of laboring in the mines, at the factories and on the farms, we gathered in the evenings not only to the love of God, family, and friends, but to these wonderful foods.
As did so many others, our family proudly fought world wars for our new country. And as we prospered and built new lives in America, these were the recipes that fueled our bodies and our spirits.
My mother, Mary Harrison DeGraziano, collected these recipes over her entire lifetime from a multitude of loving friends and family. A history of her life and her many friendships can be found in these recipes.
Mom had to stop school in the seventh grade, leaving home and working elsewhere to earn and send money back to a large family. Finally Mother ended up in New York City in the 1930's and 40's.
In New York City, at a dance one night, she met and about one year later married, my father Peter Frank DeGraziano.
When I was young, we moved from Brooklyn, New York to Berwick, Pennsylvania, near Mother's family. Here I grew up.
Twelve years later, my parents moved to Goshen, Indiana, then Chicago, Tom's River, New Jersey, Westchester, New York, and then back to Berwick, where Mother lived until her passing.
All along the way Mother made many wonderful friends as she collected recipes. Mom often just looked at a recipe with a faraway gaze, recalling warm golden memories of so many deep and special friendships.
Now I realize that Mother spent her life not only collecting and preparing these recipes, but, even more importantly, collecting and cherishing her friends. These recipes served to bookmark memories of her many valued friendships.
Everywhere Mother went, people greeted her as a life-long friend. She understood people, human needs and dynamics better than most, and people everywhere just flocked to her.
I never heard her judge another person.
Thank you, Mother, for all your love, guidance, advice, understanding, friendship and these exceptional recipes.
Thomas S. DeGraziano