Happy Friday, Culinary Cellar fans!

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I am happy to announce that I will be guest blogging for my wonderful mother on The Culinary Cellar today!  My mom has a beautiful way with words and I can only hope that my blog will be half as eloquent as her daily entries.  

Although I am sure you have already learned so much about me through my mother’s lovely blogging, my name is Kara and I am the youngest of the Vanni clan.  My exciting career has brought me back to the city that never sleeps, New York City!  As a born and bred foodie, there is nothing I love more than trying new food from all corners of the world right here in Manhattan.  
However, no matter how many restaurants are just steps away from my front door, there is no meal like a home cooked meal – one of the many lessons I have learned from my mother.   As I look back on my childhood, I am so thankful to my mother for making every single breakfast, brown bag school lunch, and homemade dinner – it actually helped create the woman I am today.  If you crunch the numbers, my remarkable mother has made nearly 22,000 homemade meals in my lifetime (and that underestimating!).  How lucky am I?  
This brings me to The Culinary Cellar’s cookbook of the day: “How to Cook Everything: the basics” by Mark Bittman.  My boyfriend, Robert, and I took a stroll through SoHo this past weekend when this cookbook caught my eye as we browsed through a local bookstore.  Ever since I moved to New York six years ago and had a kitchen of my own, I called my mother almost every single day asking basic cooking questions.  For those who do not have a genius cooking momma like mine to call anytime, Mark Bittman’s step by step instructions (including detailed photographs) will turn you into a cooking pro in no time!  Bittman’s recipes are healthy, delicious, and truly “all you need to make great food.”
As I look at the title of Mark Bittman’s cookbook, I also feel like it is an ode to my mother.  She is the one who has literally taught me how to cook everything! Not only did she teach me cooking basics, but she taught me how love is cooked into every meal.   My mom loves to cook but she also loves to cook for her family.  She is the most giving, beautiful, caring mother a daughter could ask for and I am so lucky to learn from the best.  
Over the past year, I learned what it means to cook with love for someone when I began to cook for the love of my life, Robert.  We have shared many special meals together and I feel so fulfilled every time we sit down to a home cooked meal I made with my own two hands.  The picture below is the only cooking photo of me in existence! Wearing an apron handmade by my grandmother, Robert says this is his favorite picture of me. 
And I have come a long way since my early days in the kitchen!
It is fun to look at these two pictures and see how much I have grown into the woman I am today.  My family will be entering into uncharted territory next week, but we have an unwavering bond of love that will get us through everything.  I have never been so proud of my mother in my entire life.  She is a fighter, a giver, a lover and the most generous person I have ever met.  I hope and pray that God makes me a mother someday so I can continue our cooking legacy and love of family and togetherness.   
I love you, Momma.  Thank you.
And here is to 22,000 more meals!   

8 Responses to Happy Friday, Culinary Cellar fans!

  1. May 11, 2012 at 4:39 am #

    Kara — Thank you for sharing this heartwarming story with us! The many friends of the Vanni family have are continuing to keep all of you in our thoughts and prayers. Bon Appetit, Y’all Forever!
    Mary Louise XXXXXX00000

  2. May 11, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    My sweet Kara – I can’t stop reading your incredible blog. I had no idea you were going to do this! (how did you figure out how to post it???) It’s the most wonderful gift you could have given me at this time. The photo you took of your new cookbook is so good! So now you know that not only are you a great photographer and cook, but also a great writer! I see a blog in your future someday. Thank you, sweetheart, for the best gift ever. I love you.

  3. May 11, 2012 at 5:57 am #

    Beautiful post Kara! I’m sure you make your mom proud!!

  4. May 11, 2012 at 7:01 am #

    What an incredible posting (brought tears to my eyes) – not only do you have a great mother, she has two wonderful daughters who love her so much! My thoughts and prayers are with you all as you enter the ‘uncharted territory,’ and I am confident the journey will be a successful one.

  5. May 11, 2012 at 9:31 am #


    What a lovely Mother’s Day gift. I know your mom is very proud of you. And Kristina, too. Reading this and the blog Kristina wrote today brought tears to my eyes. Your mom is very lucky to have such wonderful daughters, and you’re lucky to have such a wonderful mom.

  6. May 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    Debbie–well-done. You raised a fantastic daughter. Kara-you deserve all the best that life has to offer!!

  7. May 13, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    What two beautiful daughters your Mother has. Stepping in and doing what she is unable is what it’s all about! I think you did a Fantastic job on writing this blog.

  8. May 21, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    Great job Kara!! Wonderful blog!! Best to you, your mom and the whole family! ( :

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