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Julia della Croce is a journalist and James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and cooking teacher. Many of her titles have been translated into 13 other languages and distributed worldwide. Her work has appeared in many publications including Cook’s, Food & Wine, Art & Antiques and the Boston Globe. She has broadcast extensively on radio and television, including NPR and the Food Network. Her blog, Forktales, has been cited by The New York Times' Diner's Journal "What We’re Reading" section.

Besides working toward the preservation of traditional Italian cuisine through publishing and teaching, Julia has dedicated herself to advocacy work for better food and sustainable agriculture. She pioneered an award-winning healthy school food program at an independent school in New York and developed a nutrition program providing natural food and local farm-raised produce to an emergency food pantry in New York City serving some 900,000 people every year. She serves on the advisory committee of the New York State Assembly Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy. Read more about Julia on www.juliadellacroce.com.

Brassica rapa at the Palo del Colle market in Puglia, Italy. Credit: Copyright 2014 Nathan Hoyt/Forktales

Summer has yet to deliver its full range of vegetables, but one stalwart crop that keeps on giving is Brassica rapa (from rapum, Latin

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Lamb and eggplant meatballs in tomato sauce for Valentine’s Day. Credit: Nathan Hoyt/Forktales

It's that time of year when a rash of stories appears to suggest, despite hard science to the contrary, that certain foods -- oysters,

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Polenta pasticciata, in "Italian Home Cooking: 125 Recipes to Comfort Your Soul" by Julia della Croce (Kyle Books). Credit: Hirsheimer & Hamilton

Corn polenta has traveled the globe to become a staple in world-class restaurants. Yet for more than 400 years, it sustained the peoples of

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Vintage pasta label. Credit: Courtesy of Gerardo di Nola Pastificio, Naples

We've come a long way since the days when Americans thought Italian cuisine meant spaghetti or ziti in rivers of "marinara" set on red-checkered

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Christmas fruitcake, © Julia della Croce 2014. Credit: Nathan Hoyt/Forktales

I never understood the aversion to fruitcake until someone sent me one of those clunkers that the humorist Russell Baker said he deplored, dating

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Sabatino Tartufi’s Tuber magnatum pico, weighing in at 4.16 pounds. Credit: Nathan Hoyt/Forktales

What do you call a truffle that is the size of a football? "The million-dollar mushroom," said my daughter, Celina, when I phoned her

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Speedy spaghetti with last-minute lemon sauce. Credit: Nathan Hoyt

"Pasta is to the Italians somewhere between a sacrament and a psychotropic drug." So said Slow Food co-founder Folco Portinari of his countrymen's food

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Baked apples with amaretti filling. Credit: © Nathan Hoyt

Despite the myths that get bandied around about what was served at the first Thanksgiving, the only report we have, from Pilgrim chronicler Edward

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