Savoring Memories and Meals

The preparation of food plays a central role in the lives of my Italian and Italian-American heroines, and many of the most dramatic or meaningful moments in their stories take place around the table. The night before my heroine Giulia leaves her mountain village to sail for America—a voyage she sees only as exile from everything she loves—her grandmother prepares one of her favorite dishes, lamb roasted with rosemary and garlic. Giulia recalls the meal like this:

“Despite my sadness and my unwillingness to eat at midday, my body now gave in to hunger. I devoured the meal, savoring every mouthful.”

In America, food becomes for Giulia a way both to hold on to her memories and express her love.

Roast Lamb

½ cup olive oil
¼ cup soy sauce
Juice of one lemon plus grated peel
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
4 large cloves of garlic, slivered
Boneless leg of lamb (4-7 pounds)

Combine olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice and peel, rosemary and garlic in small bowl and blend well.
Place lamb in a glass baking dish and pour marinade over the meat.
Cover, refrigerate and marinate for several hours, turning frequently.

Roast at 325° F for approximately 20 minutes per pound for medium rare, 25 minutes per pound for medium or 30 minutes for well done. Allow the meat to sit for approximately 10 minutes before carving.