I’m not ashamed to admit it.

When it comes to “social media”, I’m just a tad behind the times. I’m still trying to figure out Twitter and while I have a Facebook account, let’s just say I’m apt to forget about it for weeks on end.

It’s not that I don’t like interacting with people, it’s just that I’m a Cream Puff and my thing is baking. I’m in the kitchen … a lot.

Perhaps one day I will graduate to a laptop that I can have in the kitchen that will allow me to bake and tweet and facebook and who-knows-what-else but I’m still having a hard time accepting the end of VCRs so give me time.

Give me time.

Having said that, I do acknowledge the deep and significant influence that social media have had on all of our lives.

Since I became a blogger in 2005, I have come into contact with countless people whom I probably would have never met, much less heard of.

One of these people is Judy Witts Francini of Divina Cucina.

To be honest, I don’t recall exactly when I first heard of Judy but I suspect that it was years ago and it was probably through David Lebovitz’s site. I do remember visiting her blog and thinking, “Here is a great teacher of cooking.”

In a day and age when we’re inundated with words and images about food, when food bloggers must number in the thousands (if not many, many more), in my opinion there are surprisingly few people whom I would consider genuinely capable of teaching others about food.

It’s one thing to have a blog and bake or cook and take pictures. That is certainly a worthy endeavour that many, myself included, find fulfilling.

But just because I make a great cake, it doesn’t mean I have what it takes to teach other people how to do it.

Judy knows how to teach people how to cook. I’ve never met Judy in person, but I know this. I know this as certainly as I know that fresh basil is a gift from heaven, butter is is my middle name and chocolate is a basic human right.


Not too long ago, Judy contacted me via Facebook and asked if I would like a copy of her cookbook, Secrets From my Tuscan Kitchen.

Would I?!

Shortly thereafter I came home to a little bundle waiting for me. I unwrapped it and immediately fell in love with a cookbook that’s a throwback.

Printed on beautiful paper, the book is akin to taking all those handwritten recipes, written my your mother, or grandmother or aunt, hidden away somewhere, and binding them together in an homage to the home kitchen.

It’s simple, honest, direct and authentic. Just like the best teachers.

Judy … grazie!


Note: I bought a spectacular bunch of spinach from the farmer’s market. A day or two later, I bought some fresh ricotta and the idea to make Judy’s Crespelle alla Fiorentina (ricotta and spinach-filled crepes) was born. Smothered in a delicious besciamella (béchamel sauce) and fresh tomato sauce, this dish was delicious. You can buy a copy of Judy’s book here. Please take a look. It’s so worth it.