Plant, Harvest, Cook! with Mary Ann Esposito
Mary Ann Esposito is the host of PBS’s longest-running cooking program, Ciao Italia, and the author of 14 books about the Italian kitchen. But when Covid put her television program and Italian food tours on hold, she had more time to spend in the backyard vegetable garden that she and her husband, Guy, had planted for many years. Its bounty, including crops of artichokes and one hundred types of lettuces, became an even more precious reminder of our fragile environment and food supply.
The result is Ciao Italia: Plant, Harvest, Cook!, a book Mary Ann wrote for the backyard gardener, whether a beginner or skilled, and for all of us who want to make a closer connection to the food we cook and eat. This is a pragmatic guide to planting, with gardening tips and strategies, plus over 100 recipes inspired by her Italian heritage and her backyard harvest. We talked with Mary Ann about starting your first vegetable garden, what makes a garden Italian, how to substitute farmer’s markets for those of us without backyards, and why she refuses to can tomatoes.