The very first lunch in our new house

My name is Rita. I’m a 31-year-old full-time mom, part-time blogger based in Tuscany, Italy, with a strong passion for cooking and gardening, together with all things art-related (apart being a mother, wife, housewife and blogger, incidentally, I’m a textile conservator…). I live with my husband Mario, the official photographer of the blog, and our 8-month-old son Lapo in a small flat with a pretty large garden in the mill town of Prato. Although I’m a true city-dweller, I run my house as if I lived in the country, growing my own fruits and vegetables the best I can – job and family permitting – and turning them into homely, easy recipes (though yes, I do hang around markets and supermarkets, because it’s really impossible to grow everything your own – what about rearing hens and cows? Mmm…).
I believe in simple cooking, the kind everyone can try and appreciate without being chefs, only gourmands. Because anybody can successfully cook: you just need a little passion and a lot of patience!

Draining pasta

Mi chiamo Rita e sono una mamma a tempo pieno (e una blogger part-time) che abita in Toscana, con una passione per la cucina, il giardinaggio e tutto ciò che ha a che fare con l’arte (per la cronaca, oltre ad essere madre, moglie, casalinga e blogger, sono anche una restauratrice di tessili…). Vivo con mio marito Mario, il fotografo ufficiale del blog, e il nostro bimbo Lapo di 8 mesi in un piccolo appartamento con giardino nella città industriale di Prato. Nonostante sia nata e cresciuta in città, mando avanti la mia casa come se vivessimo in campagna, coltivando frutta e verdura come meglio posso – lavoro e famiglia permettendo – e trasformandoli in facili ricette casalinghe (anche se devo lo stesso andare al supermercato, perché è davvero impossibile far crescere tutto da soli – come la mettiamo con l’allevamento di mucche e galline? Mmm…).
Credo in una cucina semplice, quella che tutti possono fare e apprezzare senza essere grandi chef, solo buongustai. Perché tutti possono cucinare con successo: basta solo un po’ di passione e un po’ di pazienza.

Mario at a pub in King William Walk, Greenwich

My name is Mario. I’m Rita’s husband and the official photographer of the Culinary Taste, as well as the taster of all Rita’s recipes. I share with my wife a strong passion for food (though I prefer eating rather than cooking), and I support her as I can – giving my suggestions and taking pictures. Because of my job (I’m an engineer working for Physio-Control, an American company), I spend a pretty good time away from home and I use to have dinner at many fashionable restaurants and cafés all across Italy and abroad. But no restaurant can compare to my wife’s homely cooking or to the enthusiasm she puts in everything she makes. I hope to be able to show in my pictures the colors and tastes of her recipes so that you can enjoy them as much as I do.

Mi chiamo Mario, sono il marito di Rita e il fotografo ufficiale di the Culinary Taste, nonché l’assaggiatore di tutte le ricette di Rita. Con mia moglie condivido la passione per il cibo (anche se preferisco mangiare piuttosto che cucinare) e la sostengo come posso – dandole consigli e facendo le foto. Per via del mio lavoro (sono ingegnere per Physio-Control, una ditta americana), passo molto tempo fuori casa e pranzo/ceno in diversi caffè e ristoranti alla moda in Italia e all’estero. Ma nessun ristorante è paragonabile alla cucina casalinga di mia moglie o all’entusiasmo che mette nel fare le cose. Spero di riuscire a trasmettere con le mie foto i colori e i sapori delle sue ricette così che possiate gustarvele come me.

    • Rita said:

      Hi! Thanks for stopping by.

  1. Hi Rita! Love your site, and your recipes take me back to my grandmother’s kitchen. My grandparents and mother are from Bari, they came to America in the early 1900’s. I noticed your husband works for Physio Control, before I moved to the country, I lived and worked in the city (close to Seattle) and actually lived very close to Physio, in fact had friends who worked there! It is a great place to work. What a small world this is! Look forward to seeing you here and on Food52!

    • Rita said:

      So many thanks for your kind words, Linda. 🙂
      This is really a small world! I just can’t believe it. Maybe you and my husband have friends in common!! 😀 He’s never been to Seattle, though, but as collegues they meet rather often, so he’s in contact with many of them. Life’s too curious…

  2. You seem like a lovely and warm couple; love your philosophy of living I actually adhere to it 100%. So glad to have found your blog; so interesting! I actually have a little bit of Italian in me through my paternal grandmother whose ancestors were from Trieste; both my dad, aunti and grandmother and greatgrandmother spoke italian at home.

    • Rita said:

      Thank you so much! 😀 Well, I’m starting believing that there’s a little bit of Italy in each and every one of us! Curious, isn’t it? 😛

  3. Hi Rita, so glad to have found for blog too 🙂 I am a passionate cook and the thought of gardening has crossed my mind a couple times so I may be inspired by reading your blog! Although, living in Amsterdam might mean I can only do pot plant gardening 😦

    • Rita said:

      Thank you and welcome. 😀
      By the way, don’t worry: you don’t need to have a huge garden. You can do great things with pots, too: believe me! Try with some aromatic plants: they grow pretty well in pots. 😉

  4. Hi Rita! Nice to have found your blog. Your recipes are lovely and you seem like an adorable couple. It’s great that you grow your own fruit and veg! I wish I could do the same.

    • Rita said:

      Hi Magda! Thanks for stopping by. Have you ever thought of growing vegetables in pots? It works! 😀

  5. Amanda said:

    Hi Rita, thanks for stopping by my blog – I’m glad you liked it. It looks to me as though you have got the hang of blogging pretty quickly – lovely site!
    I spent a couple of days in your part of the world almost exactly 2 years ago, when travelling with my eldest daughter, and just adored it. I hope to be back in Italy in the next year or two with The Husband!

    • Rita said:

      Thanks Amanda. I hope you can be back to this part of the world, too! Maybe we can meet! 😀

  6. Cindy said:

    Ciao Rita and Mario, so thrilled to discover your blog.

    • Rita said:

      Hi Cindy! Welcome!! 🙂

  7. Chrissy said:

    Where in Tuscany? I studied in Siena, and miss the food, culture, and way of life so much. California is much different…

    • Rita said:

      Hi Chrissy! Welcome! I live in Prato, near Florence. You have probably heard it mentioned if you happened to be in Florence. 😛 I can imagine California is pretty different… 😉 Have you been in Italy for a long time?

  8. i getting to think that i’ve dreamt of it
    Rita haven’t i ever sent you any e-mail? i was sure i had, but now i can’t find any address anywhere
    i wished i could reply to your question-comment privately 🙂 a more intimate conversation 😀 but well
    uhmm ups, now that i’ve scrolled the page down i see something i didn’t notice before… coffecup@etc…? is that an e-mail address i can use for a little chat? 🙂


    • Rita said:

      No, actually you’ve never sent me an email, none that I can remember.
      Yes, if you scroll down the page, under “copyright” you can find my email address. You can just copy and paste it. I’m glad you want to chat privately: I’m waiting for your email!! 😛

  9. A pleasure to meet you Rita 🙂
    Glad I found your lovely blog

    • Rita said:

      Thanks to you for stopping by!! Welcome on board! 🙂

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