At 22, Maria left the orphanage with no personal possessions, minimal schooling and no skills other than what she carried in her head and her hands - the knowledge acquired during a childhood spent preparing delicacies for other people's celebrations.
Bitter Almonds is a remarkable memoir, a tribute to Sicilian food and culture, and the record of an historic and vanishing craft. At the heart of the book are forty-six recipes of unique Sicilian specialities, written down for the first time. In the early 1950s, Maria Grammatico and her sister were sent by their impoverished mother to the San Carlo, a cloistered orphanage in Erice, an ancient hill town on the western coast of Sicily. It was a Dickensian existence - beating sugar mixtures for six hours at a time, rising before dawn to prime the ovens, and surviving on an unrelenting diet of vegetable gruel. But it was here that Maria learned to make the beautifully handcrafted pastries that were sold to customers from behind a grille in the convent wall. At 22, Maria left the orphanage with no personal possessions, minimal schooling and no skills other than what she carried in her head and her hands - the knowledge acquired during a childhood spent preparing delicacies for other people's celebrations. Today, she is the successful owner of her own pasticceria in Erice, a mecca for travellers the world over. Her counters are piled high with home-made biscotti, tarts, cakes, and jams - Torta Divina, Cassata Siciliana, Cotognata. A frequent customer, Mary Taylor Simeti became first friend and then chronicler of Maria's moving story.
Why buy from World of Books
Our excellent value books literally don't cost the earth
"'The poignant story of a Sicilian woman...an astonishing account'" * The New York Times *
About Maria Grammatico
Mary Taylor Simeti was born and brought up in New York City. In 1962 she went to Sicily, where she married and raised two children. Her books are the acclaimed SICILIAN FOOD (Grub Street '99), ON PERSEPHONE'S ISLAND (Bantam, '01), the forthcoming TRAVELS WITH A MEDIEVAL QUEEN (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, '02) and BITTER ALMONDS with Maria Grammatico. A respected food writer who occasionally contributes to the New York Times, Mary lives in Sicily with her husband Tonino. MARIA GRAMMATICO's famous pastry shop, the Pasticceria Maria Grammatico, can be found on via Vittorio Emanuele in Erice, Sicily.
Bitter Almonds by Maria Grammatico
Used - Very Good
Transworld Publishers Ltd
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.