The connection started in 1943 in a beautiful little Sicilian coastal town called Cefalu'. Joseph and Sarah, teenagers at the time, who lived just a couple of streets from one another, caught a glimpse of each other's eyes in passing. This sweet courtship lasted 7 years before Joseph finally asked permission for Sarah to be his bride in 1955. Sarah and Joseph both had aspirations of an adventure to begin life together in America. Since Sarah acquired proper papers to arrive in America prior to Joseph, they were separated for 17 months before reuniting again in New York. Life was difficult for the college educated immigrants. They found themselves working in factories just to survive. By chance, a friend of the couple led them to Louisiana State University for some graduate schooling for Joseph while Sarah continued to keep the couple afloat financially. Upon Joseph's completion of a Master's degree in horticulture, the couple now had opportunity and choices. They realized making their way in America now seemed within their reach. They traveled the world while serving the US Government through American Foreign Aide in Somalia, Africa for 5 years in the 1960's before finally settling in California. Throughout their time in California, Joseph and Sarah have truly lived the American dream They were owners of numerous shops including a drapery business, hair salon, and quilt and needlework store. Sarah would run the stores while Joseph would work as a Farm Advisor for the University of California. As a team, they only had each other to depend on. They raised a son and two daughters and now have 6 grandchildren and one step grandchild.
Through the years, we have returned to Italy many times as a family. We have enjoyed visiting with the many relatives they left behind who encouraged them on their adventures. As a child growing up in this family, I remember it was happy, loud, and always loving. You see, for Sicilians, the dinner table is the center of the family. This is where you talk, you learn, you get your opinions out. You might argue a little, you may laugh a little, you may even cry a little, but you were together and you knew you were loved deeply and you were connected to each other's lives. Our meals were always recipes brought from that little town of Cefalu', Sicily where it all started. It was that connection to the homeland that has always stayed with my parents. The tastes, smells, and ingredients may vary a little, but the memories are still there. My Momma and I published our first version of "A Taste of Sicily" in 1997 the year before I got married and was getting ready to start my own adventures in life. Twenty years later, we decided we needed to add more recipes, share our story, and include some pictures. We hope you enjoy trying my Momma's authentic recipes as much as we enjoyed making this book. It was completed in true Sicilian fashion-a little laughter, a little arguing, and of course, a lot of love.