Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Jen Laviola on Heirloom Meals Radio

Jen Laviola is a first generation American who grew up in New Jersey with her Ukrainian mother and Italian step-dad. Jen's parents both worked so she spent a lot of time at her maternal grandmother's house with fond memories of pierogies, stuffed cabbage, borscht and lots of soups.  Many of these were cooked on a special wood-burning stove and when Jen smells the scent of burning wood she is transported to her grandmother's kitchen.

Fast forward to adulthood and Jen confesses that her love of Italian cooking and language were cultivated when she spent a semester there during college. What she experienced in Italy was that food was a vehicle for culture.  When dissatisfied with a "cubicle job" after college, Jen decided to head back to Italy to reconnect with an Italian man she met while studying.  Jen taught English to Italians for 2 years and discovered she had a knack for teaching. 

Now married and back in New Jersey, Jen has recently launched her new business, Lingua e Sapori (language and flavor) where she combines her love of cooking and her love of teaching language.  Classes are offered in collaboration with a local restaurant.  Participants learn to make a meal and speak some Italian.  What's better than that?