Authentic family recipes and nostalgic stories from an Italian-American Foodie. Peter was born and raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY and is a second generation Italian-American. After 3 short years attending Our Lady Of Guadalupe Catholic School, Peter went to PS 204, Dyker Heights Junior High School and New Utrecht High School. He has a degree in Journalism from Long Island University and is an avid photographer, gardener and pet owner. When Peter is not out selling, he is relaxing at his home in North East Pennsylvania and cooking for his sons, Michael and Joseph, family and friends. Peter’s passion for food was inspired by his Mother’s and Grandmother’s cooking, and the neighborhood he grew up in, but at the age of 10 Peter felt he could do it better himself, so he did.
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I just got sent to your site …………………..and I feel like I’m living a dream.
Momma mia……………… Bensonhurst. I grew up on Bay 8th Street…. and all those aromas are drifting back to me.
That was the home of all the good cooks…………………………. Thank God for good cooks. I was fortunate to eat good….and learn some of what they made. Wish I knew more.
Thanks for taking the time to share all your recipes…. family stories. It’s a hug in the heart.
We were the few, the proud, growing up in Bensonhurst. We were living the dream! Glad you enjoy my blog.
The band years sound like you had a lot of fun… growing up…. and marching you into cooking… to the words and music (memories) your grandmother taught you.
STOPPA DA BOOM-DIDDI-BOOM-DIDDI-BOOM! Now this one you should have put to music.
I loved hearing your memories…………..especially the laundry/bleach memories too. Food went with laundry in lots of families, it’s where the lady of the house spent most of her time…. until the basement got them. Then for exercise…. the up and down dance…. cleaning, laundry machines walking downstairs……… back up to catch the 1:30 As the World Turns……then back to put in the rinse….. and eventually dinner got started.
Would you believe I can’t buy escarole up here in Maine… northern Maine. Have to try planting some next spring.
Loved escarole in chicken soup………………… and raw in our salad.
Geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze Louise, I’m so glad I found your site.
Louise, I’m glad you found my site as well. Thanks so much for your comments, they mean a lot to me.
Peter, I found your blog today by accident and I am so happy! I’m originally from Passaic, NJ and your recipes remind me of my childhood. My mother was sicilian and so many of your recipes remind me of some of the food she made. I was looking for the eggplant patties (which I did not appreciate as a child) and that is how I found you. My mom passed away 4 years ago so thank God for the internet and you! Your stories are as delicious as your recipies. I can’t wait to make the pork chops with the potatoes! Today I live in California so you have provided a trip down memory lane for me. Many thanks!
Thank you for your comments. I’m glad you enjoy my little blog. I know Passaic well. I work near there. California is a long way from Passaic. Just returned from a vacation in Northern California. Beautiful State!
I am delighted to find this site. I just tried the crab sauce recipe and I think I might be in love… Do you ever offer cooking classes?
Melody, I’m delighted you found my site as well. Glad you like the crab sauce recipe. Every time I post a recipe I’m teaching someone to cook.
I’m trying to subscribe to your newsletter. However, I tried twice and never received an email confirmation.
Wendy, you can subscribe to my blog and get an email notification each time I post a new one. I do not have a newsletter you can subscribe to. I checked and your subscription was received. Thank you!
All I can say is what a great site! We are in the bahamas for a few months and I had some small fresh spiney lobsters and needed to do something with pasta..i used your fettucini with pink lobster sauce..using the spiney lobsters and it was fabulous…thank you so much!
Tich, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for saying so.
Hey Pete, I did have this in my favorites already as I mentioned. Great blog. Let me know when there’s too many leftovers.
Thanks Steve. Good food should always be shared.
Great site! My dad is from Brooklyn and my mom from New Jersey and all these recipes bring back so many great memories of my mom, aunts and grandmas cooking!! My parents live in Charlotte, NC now and I live in Greenville, SC with my husband and two girls. I try hard to cook like my mom and grandma and show my girls their Italian heritage!! Thanks for the great recipes and bringing back so many memories. My moms family all lives in Pt. Pleasant NJ and I have spent many summers crabbing in the bay which then turns into my aunts delicious crab sauce!!
Jaime, I’m glad you enjoy the site. I’ve spent many summers in Pt. Pleasant and crabbing at the Jersey Shore.
SEEING YOUR REPSONSE TO JAMIE ….. BROUGHT SUCH A SMILE TO MY FACE….NOT TO MENTION THE SONG MY HEART STARTED TO SING. Where have you been ????????
MISS YOU !!!!!!!
Too long to wait between each new blog entry. Hope you Mom is good…. and all in your life is A-OKAY 🙂 Louise
Louise, we are all doing well. Sorry for the time between blogs. I was posting consistently 3-4 times a week for almost two and a half years. I’m building up my resources and working on my book. I’ll keep you posted.
Momma mia…. 3-4 times a week…. where…. please send me to what I’ve been missing 😉 🙂 Glad all is good with your family. Louise
WOW!!! I was just introduced to your site and I can’t stop reading it and looking at the great pics. Peter, you have brought back so many happy memories for me. I grew up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn; my parents were both Italian from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Reading your blogs has stirred up memories of happy times we so often took for granted. I was always able to smell my mom’s cooking at least 4 doors away while walking down the block!! I still cook many of my mom’s and grandmother’s comfort recipes. Thanks for this great site!!
Pauline, I’m glad you found my site as well. We should never forget where we came from. Enjoy the recipes.
Thank you Peter. You are absolutely right…. I am very proud of my Brooklyn roots and even prouder of my Italian background. Made over 100 riceballs and a large pot of sauce for the baked ziti yesterday…. for annual party tomorrow night and will be making zeppole’s at the party — can’t wait, all my daughters friends look forward to this every year!!!
I love reading everyone’s comments…. sharings…. and telling you how much we all appreciate every single word you post…. not to mention the recipes.
It’s wonderful to be connected to so many like this.
We all really enjoy your sharing Peter… as you can notice 😉 🙂
ciao for now, Louise
AND………………. the oven roasted veggies was SUPER !!!!!! BIG HIT…., NO LEFT——OVERS 😉 🙂 🙂
Glad to hear that Louise!
Hello Peter, I am happy,happy,happy that I found your site it sure does bring back the best memories of being raised in the good old Bronx and being Italian,I was wondering if you would have a recipe for mussels fra diavlo. Thank You for a Great site and the best memories.Joe.T.
Joe, try this recipe and add 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes to the sauce, depending on how hot you like it. Have a Merry Christmas! https://cookingitaliancomfortfood.com/2010/10/03/zuppa-di-cozze-mussels-in-tomatoe-wine-sauce/
Peter: I was trying to catch some of the year’s last sunbathing while reading lobster rose sauce recipes (so that I never have to pay Filomena’s Georgetown, DC, prices again). Your fettuccine with lobster sauce recipe popped up and I was so taken by the simplicity plus the appetizing photos that I prepared it for dinner, although with shrimp since that’s what was on hand. Fabulous and educational. I’m about to slip into a coma from it all but I wanted to thank you first. And I want to go see this Bensonhurst — it sounds so Travolta. Thanks, dear. Elizabeth
Hi Peter, I came across your website while hanging out at my son’s apartment in Boulder, Co. last night. I’m intrigued with food, especially Italian, and I appreciate the attention that you give to detail. I just read your short bio this morning; I also attended Guadalupe. (As did all my cousins, my mother and her sisters). I graduated in 1957. My family founded and owned Alba Pastry on 18th Ave until 2004,. and e we knew many business people in Bensonhurst.
I’d love to hear more about you.
Nick, Alba Pastry Shop was an institution in Brooklyn. I remember it well. I was in Guadalupe until the third grade, then my parents transferred me to public school. My sister and brother went to Guadalupe until high school. I went to PS 204 and then Dyker Heights Junior High and graduated from New Utrecht in. My grandfather Pietro Verga, had a butcher shop on 15th Ave between 77 and 76 street. He also had a butcher shop on 18th avenue run by his brother Tom Verga. You might have known them. Thanks for your kind words. The blog is a labor of love and marks a legacy of my mother and grandmother and all my relatives who’s recipes appear on it. I’m glad you enjoy reading it.
Thanks for your reply. Great to hear your comments. We live in a small world that seems to be getting smaller all the time. I didn’t know your family’s butcher on New Utrecht (which wasn’t far from our cousins Aliotta’s Pastry, or Luigi Alba). My cousin married Chubby Basile. (thin as a rail) who worked at his family’s butcher shop on 18th, near 68th St. My dad went to Utrect also, it’s great sharing these memories about B’klyn. A friend who accompanied me to my parents funerals remarked that the Bensonhurst community is like a village in Italy, although the neighborhood has changed considerably since our youth. Here’s an article about the change, published 15 years ago, that you will enjoy: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/17/nyregion/well-ices-are-still-italian-immigration-patterns-shift-altering-old-neighborhood.html?action=click&module=SearchSubmit®ion=Masthead&mabReward=relbias:s&url=http://query.nytimes.com/search/sitesearch/?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&contentCollection=Homepage&t=qry624&pagewanted=1
Like a burst of Spring……. Here you are !!!! When are you going to publish your book. I have not received a love letter of food like this in a while. It just revived me. 🙂 haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…… Love everyone’s comments….. like being back in Bensonhurst.
Ciao…………. happy memories make life super
Peter – I love your website and all the recipes you have on it. My mom used to make these soups that I loved growing up. How I wish I would have learned how to cook them before she passed away. Now I only hope I can find these recipes again. Do you have any recipes for these soups: Ceci and Pasta; Peas and Pasta; Gagootz. These were the simplest recipes with very few ingredients. But oh how I miss them. Please let me know if you have any recipes for these. Thank you so much!
Lou, I’m glad you enjoy the site. I have a few recipes for cucuzza. Here is a link to one of them, if you add some chicken broth to this it becomes a soup.https://cookingitaliancomfortfood.com/2011/08/07/cucuzza/ Here is another link to a recipe for cucuzza with pasta. It’s not soup, but it’s delicious.https://cookingitaliancomfortfood.com/2010/07/04/pasta-con-zucchini/ Hope you enjoy them!
Hey my brother Gerard told me about your site. You knew each other growing up. We probably met at some point but he has about 7 years on me so I was barely a teen at the time. Do you remember the Ave U feast in Gravesend. I can still smell the zepolies, I’m sure I spelled that wrong haha
Al, the last time we probably met was when your brother and I were only teenagers. So you might have been 8 or 9 years old! Gerard and I hung out quite a bit when we were teenagers and even after we both got married, which by the way he was responsible along with a previous girlfriend that got me and my wife together. Even after he moved out of Staten Island to Florida we got together a number of times. I hope you enjoy the recipes and stories on the blog. I lived for a short time on West 6th Street and Avenue T so I remember the Avenue U feast and especially the 18th Avenue Feast. Those were some of the best times of my life. Hope your well and give my regards to your brother!