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August 14, 2013

'Sista Felicia's' Sicilian cooking

Gloucester-rooted book is now a series

Felicia (Ciaramitaro) Mohan grew up in a family surrounded by simmering pots of pasta and bubbling brews of tomato sauce, all created by mothers and grandmothers who never used a recipe.

Their style of cooking, straight from their memory, included a pinch of that ingredient, or a handful of another, and so on.

But two generations later, out of fear of losing these heirloom recipes forever, Mohan — at the urging of her husband Barry — set out to make a cookbook of sorts for her twins, Amanda and BJ. From that seed sprouted her effort to make such a book. But she never imagined that the original scope of the work would grow exponentially.

Her idea of creating a cookbook, which reflects her deep-rooted Sicilian traditions, has become a series of four cookbooks, with the first to be released at the end of this month.

“When I started laying it out, I had no idea it would turn into the four books. I knew I had a lot but I didn’t realize how it would appear in a book format. I have enough recipes for six or seven books all together, and that can happen after the series of four.”

This first book is titled “Gifts of Gold: In a Sicilian Kitchen with Sista Felicia.”

“It celebrates all things fall in the months of September, October, and November,” she said.

In addition to the recipes, the 256-page hard cover cookbook was designed to highlight the scenic beauty of Cape Ann with color glossy photographs, as well as how-to-photos and QR codes, which link the reader to Felicia’s online how-to videos on her website at www.sistafeliciaskitchen.com.

Her brother, Joseph Ciaramitaro, who runs the Good Morning Gloucester blog, said Felicia has become the contemporary link to the Old World Sicilian way of cooking in the Cape Ann community. His scenic photos accompany her food and how-to-photos. The book has close to 500 photographs.

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