The idea of writing a book came to me after an evening of preparing a meal for some friends. I enjoy cooking for others. It is relaxing and creative, and I find that, most of the time, everyone always wants Italian food. Halfway through dinner, I was already getting requests for another sumptuous event. A thought came to me to try to recreate the meal and write down the recipe. We do not usually cook with recipes in my family so that was a novel idea. After that, when cooking, if a dish was exceptionally tasty and looked pretty, I would try to recreate it. It was at that time that I finally realized I had a lot to say about food. I paid such special attention in preparing delicious as well as nutritious foods in not only Italian dishes but also my individual taste that I had to share them. Between learning at a young age about how food was grown, harvested, and prepared, combined with my degree in holistic nutrition, I realized the amount of information in my head was overpowering. So I decided to write The Farmer's Daughter's Guide to Nutritious and Delicious Eating. I hope you enjoy my tribute to my family and my very fortunate life, including the Martino family photos. Consider this my contribution to your journey for good, healthy, and fun eating!
Chapter One "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are."- Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin This book is a little of what I know about growing, preparing, sharing, eating, and enjoying homemade, delectable, and memorable meals that are actually good for you, and good for the soul. I will help you not only prepare food, but know why you are eating it, besides the obvious, and give you some pointers on the spices, oils, and techniques that make the dish. Mindfulness. Mindful eating is conscious eating, and I believe an even better experience. Think about your body and all the parts that will flourish and be well nourished, with everything it needs and what you give it. Yes, I use short cuts in some recipes, but if you learn the art of preparing a meal, you will find many ways to eat well, and know your way around the grocery stores and farm markets, as well as the kitchen. I will share some of my travel experiences in this book as well, as they always bring me back to the wonderful food that new places and tastes bring, to help elevate even the most sophisticated palate. Of course, I admit to being a full blooded and bodied Sicilian woman, who believes health and food go together like pane and vino. I was born and raised in the country on a fruit and horse farm, and learned very early that having a garden of fresh vegetables and eating fruit off the tree, as well as knowing how to prepare these nutritional foods, was essential to my life. By the end of this book, you will realize that whatever you put in your mouth to eat, affects your health. Unfortunately, there are many other influences in our lives that contribute to our health, but this is the one thing we alone can control. Growing up in the country, my family had many businesses. One of which was our country market. I spent many a summer, weekend, and holiday there, working and learning. I watched my parents explaining the simple ways of preparing the beautiful fresh goods, as well as growing the lovely herbs and plants we had in our greenhouse, and felt very fortunate. Spring opened up the store with Mother's Day and Easter plants in our beautiful greenhouse. In the summer, we would have a "pick-ur-own" strawberry patch, and all the freshest of fruits and vegetables. Flowers covered the front of the market. However, my favorite time of year was autumn. Apple picking time, a chill in the air, raw fresh cider, winter squash, pumpkins, and beautiful winter chrysanthemums lining the walkways. It was a busy time as we were in two places at once. Thanksgiving was a joyous and very grateful time, as harvest was over, and Christmas on its way. My mother would always have a cornucopia on the table with fresh fruit and flowers of the season. Our Horn of Plenty, was duly noted at our table. The store was closed until it was Christmas tree time. My father would reopen the store for a few short weeks to sell some of our beautiful trees including blue spruce, our customer's last visit for the year. My first interest after high school was in healthcare. Since then, I broadened my career into the legal forum using my medical knowledge as a successful tool. Ultimately, my interests have become evident in holistic medicine. I finally received my bachelors in Holistic Nutrition, became certified as a Life Coach, and realized by then, I had a lot of information that needed to be shared. I found that many people avoid natural medicine and eating healthier, just for the simple reason they have not been exposed to, or educated, to understand it. I will try to give you a healthy foundation, as well as some of my personal experiences, for the overall picture that I wish to paint for your complete experience of the Farmer's Daughter's cookbook.
The combination of Ms. Martino's family roots in country living, combined with her education in healthcare, as well as a Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Life Coach, resulted in a more mindful approach to the general preparation and choices in food. She has loved traveling the world, experiencing different culinary practices, as well as the food and spices. Her Italian country ancestry is an obvious background for many recipes in "The Farmer's Daughter's Guide to Nutritious and Delicious Eating," as well as her knowledge of healthier more holistic practices to daily living. She presently lives in Florida, but continues to enjoy the fall season in the southeast rural and mountain splendor whenever possible.