Hello! I’m Serena.
I’m the creator of Rustic Plate and am also a columnist, blogger, food educator & photographer. After half a lifetime of living in big cities like New York, Philadelphia, Milan and London, I currently reside in the university town of Auburn, Alabama, with my husband, two daughters, a cat, two kittens, a doggie spirit named Jake whom I miss dearly, two goldfish, one fresh water snail, and 27 wooden cooking spoons.
Other facts about me, in no particular order:
- I was born in the Piedmont region of Italy in a small city called Ivrea. As a result, my heart and culinary foundation are deeply embedded in Italian cuisine. That said, I have lived for most of my life in the United States and have been influenced heavily by the melting pot of flavors found in this ethnically diverse nation.
- I have lived in three different countries (U.S., Italy & England) and have traveled throughout Europe, the Caribbean and North America. My next destinations are Spain, Chile, Peru, India and Australia.
- I am mom to two strong-willed and talented daughters. One revels in food like her mamma. She was eating mussels from a shell at the tender age of 2 and began making comments like ‘this could use a little more rosemary, mamma’ at 6. I can always count on her for an honest and thoughtful assessment of the dishes I make. My other one could happily survive on mac-n-cheese, chicken fingers and fruit if I let her. Bridging the gap between these disparate food sensibilities is one of my greatest challenge as a mom and home cook. They certainly keep things interesting. I love them truly, madly, deeply 99.9% of the time, though I have been tempted to sell them both to the gypsies the other .1%. It hasn’t happened yet, but consider yourselves warned girls…
- My dishwasher, table setter, sommelier and dinner party co-host is my husband Erik. For whatever reason, he puts up with my irrational Mediterranean temperament, my insatiable fascination with (and purchase of) facial potions, and my fastidious repulsion to overhead lighting. His only complaint about marrying me, that he’s shared anyway, is that he has gained a permanent 10 pounds since meeting me. Oh well.
- Long ago, I was a singer/songwriter in New York City. I had my own band and played out at bars and venues throughout the city. The best way to sum up my music career is that I am now a food writer. Should you care to have a listen, here are two of my songs: When Bags R Packed & I Like Strawberries_(PG13)
- I am an omnivore, though meat is generally a supporting actor, never the lead. In my 20s, I was a vegetarian with leanings toward macrobiotic and Ayurvedic principles. But after a few years of good intentions, I remembered bacon…and steak…and chicken cutlets. After all, I am Italian and we eat everything.
- I love introducing people to new foods and flavors. My husband once swore he’d never eat a Brussels Sprout or anchovy, and now he loves both. That was me. I also love getting kids, even adult ‘kids,’ eating more vegetables by preparing them in a way that makes them irresistibly yummy. A reader once emailed me to let me know that her grandson, known for snubbing green beans, ate 5 (five!) servings of this recipe.
Thanks for visiting! Now…let’s cook something!