The Milk of Almonds

The Milk of Almonds


Edited by Louise DeSalvo and Edvige Giunta
Italian American Women Writers on Food and Culture

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Paperback Edition
ISBN: 9781558614536
Publication Date: 10-01-2003

Often sentimentalized as nurturing through food, Italian American women have struggled against this stereotype to speak of the realities of their lives. In this unique collection, they speak in voices that are loud, boisterous, sweet, savvy, and often subversively funny. Drawing on personal and cultural memory rooted in experiences of food, more than fifty writers dissolve conventional images, replacing them with a sumptuous, communal feast of poetry, stories, and memoir.

Though they begin with food, the writers in this collection quickly carry the reader into unexpected, sometimes shocking terrain as they bear witness to the historically unspeakable in the Italian American experience—mental illness, family violence, incest, drug addiction, AIDS, and environmental degradation. Tantalizing and appetizing, this collection is intellectually and politically provocative, for it revises any predictable notion of what it means to be an Italian American.

"The pieces in this impressive anthology are, with varying degrees, gentle and piercing. Some are best read alone over a cup of steaming cappuccino, while others pack more of a punch when read out loud to sisters or girlfriends. Editors DeSalvo and Giunta have collected a vast, thoroughly wonderful assortment . . . that defines today's female Italian-American experience." —Publishers Weekly

"What a powerful chorus of voices, breaking silence while breaking bread. Fully orchestrated in poetry and prose, these voices sometimes acclaim and sometimes defy the culture they share as Italian American women—who write, and write brilliantly. If food is their medium, power is their message, the power of words and images to evoke the dislocations and contradictions of the harsh, sensuous, soothing, disturbing world embodied in cultural foods." —Betty Fussell, author of My Kitchen Wars

"The Milk of Almonds provides a rich repast indeed. Whether sampled in small bites or in the entire multifaceted banquet that is the complete work, this collection, like a deeply satisfying meal, is something to savor." —Jessica B. Harris, author of The Africa Cookbook

"Fed by anger, fed by love, fed by hunger: writing about food inevitably reveals our dreams, resentments, and longings. The Milk of Almonds will unsettle readers who think they know Italian American women. Its poets, storytellers, and memoirists demonstrate just how good food is for thought." —Donna Gabaccia, author of We Are What We Eat