A woman raised in Bedford after both sets of her Italian grandparents immigrated to the town in search of a better life has written a cookbook inspired by her Mediterranean roots.
Southern Italian Family Cooking by Carmela Sereno Hayes is based on the Italian ‘cucina povera’ techniques - to shop wisely, cook simply and eat well.
She was taught how to cook by her mother and grandmother ‘Nonna’, who came to Bedford during the 1950s.
Her grandmothers worked at the town’s Meltis chocolate factory and both her grandfathers earned a living at the brickworks.
They lived frugally and eventually bought their own homes.
The mum of four, who now lives in Northampton but still has family in Bedford, said the book deal is a dream come true.
She said: “There are no poncey difficult recipes, but there is how to make the best bolognese and the most wonderful lasagne and each recipe depicts a story.”
The paperback book is made up of 125 recipes that use simple seasonal produce.
“Every recipe in this book is what I cook at home,” said Carmela. “Hopefully people will fall in love with it.”
If her book proves to be a hit with amateur cooks, Carmela plans another publication that will focus on pasta.