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Celebrating Heirloom Recipes at New Haven Museum

New Haven, Conn. (December 16, 2021)— After years as a professional chef, Connecticut resident Anna Francese Gass had a food epiphany: she realized she had no idea how to make her Italian mother’s meatballs. That insight led to Gass preserving a collection of her mother’s recipes, and later documenting and publishing the recipes of immigrant women from across the globe. Gass, who came to the U.S. from Italy as a youngster, will share her journey and highlights from her book during a virtual lecture, “Heritage Recipes of Immigrant Women” on Thursday, January 13, 2022, at 6 p.m. The free event will be hosted by the New Haven Museum. Register here.

Based largely on her book, “Heirloom Kitchen: Heritage Recipes and Family Stories from the Tables of Immigrant Women,” Gass’s presentation will cover the stories and dishes of strong, exceptional women, all immigrants to the United States, whose heirloom recipes helped shape the landscape of American food. In addition to their recipes, the women in Gass’s book shared their recollections of coming to America—stories of hardship and happiness—that illuminate the power of food, and how cooking became a comfort in a new land for these women, as well as a tether to their native cultural identities. Gass will also share her mother’s meatball recipe (hint: add a little sauce in the meatballs!).

Noting that American food is the food of immigrants, a blend of the diverse cultures, traditions and flavors that traveled to the nation’s shores over centuries, Gass asserts that immigrant recipes are the true melting pot of American heritage.

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