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On Technology

Foodies of the world love to gripe about the horrors of globalization and modern technology:  nectarines from Chile, corn syrup, plastic packaging.  Yes, I agree.  But globalization has also brought some benefits, including a lot of international knowledge and a passion for preservation.  It's made people rally around old recipes and food history.  The Internet seems to be one of our best tools. 

Let me give you one example:  Years ago, I received an email from a woman named Marialuisa Schenone--same last name as mine--from Genoa, Italy, home to my dad's grandparents.

She'd stumbled across my web site and decided to write me.

"I know where your family comes from," wrote Marialuisa.  "They come from the village Lumarzo where all persons are Schenone."

Over time, Marialuisa and I developed a correspondence based on old foods and memory.  I was writing a book on my search for my great grandmother's Genoese ravioli recipe, and it turned out Marialuisa's mom was a famous ravioli maker in a mountain village north of Genoa.  Before long Marialuisa was inviting me to come and visit. "My mother awaits you.  She will make ravioli when you come."

Six months later, I was driving up into the hills of Liguria with Marialuisa at the wheel.  She was taking me to her mother's town--full of Schenones--higher and higher into the mountains, filled with chestnut trees.   She took me to the graveyard there, filled with dead people who shared my last name.  And finally to her mom's small cottage, where we entered to find ninety-year-old Giuseppina bent over her pasta board, kneading dough. 

That day, Giuseppina, taught me to roll pasta in a big thin circle, just as my great grandmother used to, using a long stick--a skill that has been largely cast aside in favor of machines.

In the search for old family recipes--I had many similar amazing encounters in Italy, and so many were based on a similar initial thread of email.   In other words--I found my rustic, pre-commercial, handmade ravioli recipe--and traced it back to the 13th century, largely through this modern technology.  What a paradox.   

Now if only I could figure out my new cell phone.   Damned technology.







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Jellypress is about Nancy and Laura having fun with what they love: old recipes, art, and ideas--as we find them in our modern lives.  We met...read more »

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Yes, all the artwork on Jellypress was done by Nancy. Go to the Jellypress Art page

The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken: A Search for Food and FamilyTo find out about Laura's search for a long lost family recipe, click [ What's a Jellypress?

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love the site, keep it up

    – Aphrodisiacs (May 05 2008 at 4:19)


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