I have this kitchen

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The first copies have been spotted in Toronto. In a bookshop of all places! An eagle-eyed friend send me a picture of what looks like a real huddle of books, two of which are brazenly facing out to show off a picture of my table, a little Duralex glass of coffee, my much loved Moka pot, a piece of a Roman Christmas cake called pangaillo (yellow bread), a bowl of oranges and lemons, and the words My Kitchen in Rome, Rachel Roddy. The picture came through with a beep and then it glowed through the screen breaking the absolute darkness in the bedroom at my parents house deep in the Dorset countryside. I have written another book I thought! I am prolific. Then I remembered it was the same book, just with another cover and title. A book that is now in a bookshop in Toronto and soon to be in more bookshops all over Canada, and on the 2nd of February in America. My American edition! I feel so international, and proud that my book has the chance to do what I have always longed for, that is travel to the other side the Atlantic. I haven’t seen a real copy yet, so my next thought was to check they had airbrushed the dirty mark off the wall behind the table, which of course they have. Wide awake, I came downstairs to write this in the middle of the night. Now the wind is howling what sounds like congratulations outside the kitchen window, I have a celebratory coffee in my hand, and feel very happy.

The cover and name maybe be different, but inside is just the same, give or take the odd cup. Actually lots of cups, as the recipes have been patiently converted. The baking though is in both cups and metric, which is thanks to my testers and their conviction that offering both was right. I think we have also changed the words palaver and draining board. In short, little changes, but the book, whether Five Quarters with a sink, or My Kitchen in Rome with a table, remains the same.

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Many of you know the story. I didn’t intend to stay in Rome. I was set on returning to Sicily to finish the clockwise journey I’d interrupted. Then I visited a part of the city called Testaccio, which tripped me up with its cocky charm. I decided to stay for a while and rented a flat above a breadshop, across a courtyard from boisterous trattoria and seconds from the burly old market. My front door opened onto a narrow balcony overlooking an internal courtyard which was sort of vortex of cooking smells and vigorous Roman life.

There is an Elizabeth Bowen quote (that we were given permission to use on page 252) pointing out the injunction to do when in Rome as the romans do is superfluous: what else is there to do?  Of course I was going to eat pizza bianca just pulled from the mouth of a baker’s oven, flowers dipped in batter and fried until golden, carbonara, spaghetti alle vongole, gnocchi with tomato sauce, whole braised artichokes, bitter greens cooked with olive oil and garlic, wobbly cream puddings, wild cherry tart. Seasonal, uncomplicated, bold, and with flavours that are undisguised and definite: Roman food was a revelation. And I didn’t just want to eat these dishes, I wanted to try to understand them, to make them. I have always cooked and written, but the two met, collided really, in a small wind ventilated kitchen on Via Mastro Giorgio.

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I’d left everything behind in order to travel. I adopted a similar approach to cooking, allowing myself to watch, taste, experiment and learn things all over again, especially the blindingly obvious things. Such as how to make a soffritto, the simplest tomato sauce and bean soup, how to braise vegetables and meat in wine and their own juices, to boil pasta and soak chickpeas, all things I ostensibly knew how to do, but then again didn’t. Things that, once re-learned and better understood changed the way I cook. I cooked and kept notes, and cooked and kept notes. In 2008 my notes found a home here on this blog, and now seven years later a new home in this book.

My Kitchen in Rome: Recipes and Notes on Italian cooking is the full name of the US/Canadian edition. Nick Seaton, a photographer whose work I like very much, came and more-or-less lived with us and our chaos for a days at a time in order to capture Testaccio. His pictures, which feel like acute sideways glances at this distinct part of Rome, are honest and beautiful and add another dimension to the book. The rest of the pictures are mine, taken over the course of the year in our small kitchen as I cooked my way though the seasons and the 120 recipes.

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Swelling the fact that a book is the hard, dedicated work of many, I now want to thank the team at Grand Central, especially my Editor Brittany McInerney. I would also like to thank my first editor Sara Weiss, the first person to approach me about a book, years before anyone else. Sara, you planted the seed.

Above all though, Thank you to you, for reading, cooking, commenting and for the real sense of community that exists here. Without you, this book, in two editions, would quite simply never have happened. I know some of you have bought the UK edition, but for those of you who have waited long eight months, cheering me along all the way, you can now buy a copy if you wish, from a bookshop, or here on line. Please let me know if you do, one of the joys of the glowing, beeping,web is that so many of us can keep in touch, send me a message here, or on twitter, or instagram, I want to know. I am finishing my second book now, but just as soon as that is delivered I am planning to come the US, visit some bookshops if they will have me, and hopefully meet some of you. It all feels very exciting.

Now it is light, and although a grey Dorset day, feeling very bright, and I need more coffee. More soon. R

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76 Comments

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76 responses to “I have this kitchen

  1. Lisa Nkrumah-Mweu

    Brilliant Rachel! Congratulations congrats yay! Look forward to buying your book☺Have a wonderful beautiful treasure of a day xLisa

  2. Deborah Larrabee

    So nice… Brava !
    Looking forward to receiving your book, which I have ordered, and cooking your recipes for my French friends here in the Cévennes.

  3. Maryana

    Congrats! That’s wonderful🙂

  4. Congratulations Rachel and well done. I have and am still enjoying following you on your journey – and joining in when I cook – it’s a life.

    All the best,

    Richard

  5. Congrats and well done – I hope you are very successful 🙂

  6. Arabella Worth

    Oh Rachel! I’m so excited for you! Almost as excited as I was for me when I too thought you’d published another book!
    “My kitchen in Rome” sounds reminiscent of “I had a farm in Africa” was my first thought. That’s a good start.
    The best of luck with the American launch.
    All the best, Arabella xx

  7. Congratulations and now all of your American friends and fans can get their copy too and enjoy it as much as I have mine. I have an image of Nancy battering down the door of her local bookshop on 2nd Feb. What did they change palaver to? xx

  8. Congratulations! I am new to your blog and purchased ‘Five Quarters’ last week. I love it and have added a visit to Testaccio to my 6 week summer adventure…I can’t wait to try some of the local dishes!

  9. Jennifer

    Congratulations! I pre-ordered the book for dear friends in Canada who will love it just as much as I love the copy i was lucky enough to pick up here in Rome!!

  10. Carolle

    Congrats on the American edition, you have a right to feel very, very proud of yourself.

  11. Hurray! Yee-Haw! Yippee! and Yes. So excited the US edition is mere days away. Keep us posted of your book-signing travels on our side of the pond.
    So proud of you and your achievements. xN

  12. Félicitations!
    I cannot wait to order my copy.

  13. Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table

    Living in Canada, I can’t wait to get my hands on your book, table or sink on the cover.

  14. So exciting! I must admit that for a moment I was thrilled that your second book had already come out but this is just as mighty a thing. I hope to send everyone I know to catch a glimpse of you when you go to the US.

  15. ameliaschaffner

    Rachel: Congrats! Wishing you a great road ahead, looks like you are well on your way. I look forward to buying my American copy and regaling a few to friends. Hope to see meet this summer, Amelia

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  16. Congratulations Rachel! Your words have transported me to that old sense of Europe, with winding alleys and slightly shabby buildings, markets full of shouting traders, and glorious food! A wonderful thing for a hectic Tuesday morning.

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  18. Anna Warburton

    Rachel please get the in touch if you come stateside. It would be so wonderful to see you.
    Your American version will be gifted to some happy cooks over here. Anna x

  19. Hi Rachel, I would love to purchase the Italian language version of this book – is it available online? Grazie!

  20. I feel like catching the first plane to Rome (haven’t been in years!) I ordered the book instead…

  21. I have Five Quarters but will be getting the Kindle version of My Kitchen in Rome so the book – the book, the absolutely splendid book – will always be in my pocket. It was my favorite book – not just cookbook – of 2015. I hope you will consider it the compliment it is meant to be when I say it reminds me of Nigel Slater’s original Kitchen Diaries – a book to both read and cook with (not from). Congratulations – please keep cooking, keep writing, keep smiling. In this world, increasingly crazy and sad, we need you (and Luisa and Molly) to remind us how good the little things, which are, after all, the big things, can be.

  22. Well done you for your trans Atlantic entry! I am as proud as I would have been had I written it myself (not that I would ever have had the discipline). My copy is now splattered with various things and much the better for it. Onwards and upwards! x

  23. How lovely and how exciting. Can’t wait for the next one! Keep ’em coming.

  24. laura

    How generous of you to share your excitement and success so eloquently that we get a vicarious thrill! Thank you and may this be the first of many, well-deserved successes … lovely to have been with you as you have ridden the waves and all the ups and downs but have held on with grace and graciousness.

  25. Heather

    Congratulations!! As a Toronto dweller, I have been patiently waiting for your book to become available in Canada. Do you happen to know which store your friend was in? This makes me so excited! I am a Canadian who is married to an Italian and I find your recipes so relatable. And my husband loves them! That’s the best part.

  26. Congratulations Rachel. I have been anxiously awaiting the version here in the states since we met at Stefania Barzini’s. Just pre-ordered it on Amazon. Can’t wait. Oh, and thanks for introducing me to the Guardian, which I now read daily. It’s exciting to feel my world expand.

  27. Don’t know about 2nd February for USA .. it’s available from Amazon.com already!! Heck, it’s already available on Kindle!! Well done Rachel!

  28. I very much like the sound of your book and I wish I’d had to chance to be the photographer……beautiful as it is.

  29. Michele | Cooking At Home

    Hurray! I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Hope to see you at the book signing! Congratulations.

  30. Rachel, your writing is always beautiful and heartfelt, and I have no doubt your cooking is as well. I would love to come and cook with you! Now that I think of it, I might prowl around Testaccio next time I’m in Rome, and “accidentally” bump into you! : )
    Well done on your international sales!

  31. lacucinadisandra

    Congratulations on your International achievement! I have your book and I love it, I admire your style and what you do. I love all your stories.

  32. Amazing!! Congratulations🙂

  33. Tricia Cole

    Aaaahhh! Congratulations indeed. I can’t wait to see the pictures, read the stories, and fleck the pages with flour and lemon and tomato…

  34. Sarah Radcliffe-Marrs

    Yessssssssssss to US visit! Come to Boston!!

  35. Love this, Rome is a like a time machine.

  36. Oh you are wonderful. Over here in Chicago, this New Zealander is eagerly awaiting this book. I am glad the recipes are still in grams though – I find cups such a loose description as a measurement. Much love.. and congrats .. c

  37. Lovelovelove this! Congratulations, Rachel! Since I’ve visited your blog a few years ago for the first time, I knew what will be comming … There was no other way out of this … *smile*

    Happy regards from Vienna, Elisabeth

  38. Reblogged this on The Magazine of CHANGE and commented:
    I lovelovelove Rachel’s way of cooking, eating and celebrating life … Enjoy, dear ones!

  39. pblevitt

    looking forward to my copy in the USA

  40. Congratulations on the new version of the book, I really like the cover and title. I’m sure that it will be very successful.

  41. Oh Rachel- so exciting! Congratulations and I will be singing it’s praises from the rooftops.🙂 I bought five quarters last year while living in IT, but am eagerly looking forward to my mail delivery tomorrow, when My Kitchen in Rome arrives. I had planned to share it on the blog but I might just keep it for myself, because I’m selfish… xx

  42. Rachel james

    Dear Rachel.
    I wanted to write and compliment you on your beautifully written and produced book. I bought it because India knight recommended it,adored it and have since bought and distributed five more as Christmas and birthday presents. I have not yet made a single recipe but oh I love sitting in bed reading it.
    Rachel James

    • rachel

      Hello Rachel from rachel – well thank you to you and India, you are both wonderful. Reading cookbooks in bed is the best, and the fact my book
      has provided that reading makes me so so happy, warmest wishes

  43. Lisa Barr

    Very excited: my belated Christmas present–the U.S. version of your book– just arrived today on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It’s been nearly 5 months since my last Italy trip (and 7 until the next), so I can’t wait to get cooking. Best wishes for your continued success.

  44. My copy of your book finally arrived this morning (I pre-ordered it on Amazon several months ago), and I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to finally have it in my hands to read and savor! ! I’ve been a follower of your blog forever and have loved every bite of food I’ve cooked, but mostly I’ve loved your prose which so whets my appetite for cooking and, of course, eating. I live in New York City, but in a neighborhood where I’m blessed to be able to get most of the ingredients I need from fresh markets and the rest I order on-line. Thank you so much for this wonderful book which will lull me to sleep each evening as I indulge in my favorite pastime, reading evocative cookbooks. The photos are also so wonderful!

    • rachel

      Joyce – this makes me so happy, I mean it when I say nothing gives me more satisfaction than hearing this. I hope you enjoy reading and cooking, and then of course drinking and eating. thank you for your loyalty, warmest wishes Rachel

  45. Nadia

    Congratulations! I love the title “Five Quarters” and the explanation you give for it in my (the UK) edition but oh, this US cover image is so much stronger, very nice!

  46. Tom Tripp

    You’re in Maine! Rachel, I just picked up my copy of the book at my local bookstore — The Maine Coast Book Shop, in Damariscotta, Maine! SO exciting. I had to force myself to put it down just to drop a note here to let you know you’re here. So far, the most Rachel thing I’ve smiled at is the lovely photo of tomatoes in the sink…in the middle of the Index. Yes! It would be so much fun to have you and yours add Maine to your inevitable book tour. We’ll show you some of the best local fruit and vegetable and seafood in this country and let you loose in our kitchen! Congratulations and best of luck! — Tom (East Boothbay, Maine)

    • rachel

      Hello Tom, and I am so proud and happy to be in your hands in book form. I hope you enjoy reading and cooking, and then eating of course. I would LOVE to come to maine, in which case I would take you up on that offer. Thanks too for taking the time to come back here and tell me, you are a star, v v warm wishes R c

  47. David N Cook

    We really enjoyed Spaghetti with lemon, parsley, garlic & chili – we have a Meyer lemon tree in full production! We will look for your book locally – best of luck…

    • rachel

      How wonderful to have a lemon tree, I have heard good things about meyer lemons to. So gald you like the pasta, and thanks for your support with
      the book, warmest wishes Rachel

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  49. Susan

    I couldn’t wait for the American edition, so I’ve been delighting in your book for a while now.

    I know this sounds exaggerated, but your bean soup recipe has been life changing in my kitchen. I’ve lost track of how many separate pots I’ve made. All sorts of different beans, with prosciutto (can’t get pancetta easily here) and without. Sometimes with tomatoes, sometimes without. ALL stunningly good. THANK YOU!!!

    p.s. Your Guardian little bio still says your book will come out in 2015. Needs updating?

  50. ciaochowlinda

    The book is wonderful. Congratulations. I’m looking forward to cooking many of the recipes and reading all the stories too.

  51. Pingback: “My Kitchen in Rome” by Rachel Roddy | Rome like a local

  52. Purchased this for a dear friend- we met during college, while studying abroad in Rome and both love to cook. Her dad is going through chemo and she’s having a rough time- this book is the perfect pick-me-up. Going to get one for myself too. Congratulations on a dream made real.

    • rachel

      thank you so much, and I am truly honoured to be in your friend’s dad’s hands and wish him well, wishing you well too, I hope you enjoy reading and cooking x

  53. ashley

    I received your book yesterday, Rachel, and I’ve only made it through antipasti. Already I am so looking forward to spring when we will start to get fave and artichokes in Seattle! Side note, one of my favorite authors, Joanne Harris, has a book called 5 Quarters of the Orange🙂

  54. Loui Franke

    Hello Rachel, I love in Paris and I ordered your book in the fall with Amazon.fr but my order was cancelled and now I can not find it on Amazon.fr. Do you have a suggestion? Thanks SO MUCH.

    • rachel

      Hello There, I suppose Amazon Uk is the best place, or through The Guardian Newspaper bookshop, I think it is on offer there xo

  55. Harriet

    I bought Five Quarters but am happy to get a US edition for friends. I am so happy you will have a US tour. Please come to the Washington, DC area!

  56. Imani

    Count me among your fans in the US that follow your blog and articles in the Guardian. Just ordered your book and can hardly wait to receive it.

    Best of luck. I hope you sell millions!

  57. We feel about as invested in your book as any long-time readers/admirers. That we somehow contrived to miss you back in 2005-2007 while we were in and out of Rome frequently, and have been making idle threats to return and finally meet ever since, and now we hear that you’re coming over this side of the Atlantic, we simply can’t miss you this time. With any luck, you’ll be somewhere near Philadelphia (New York will be good enough) on your victory lap.

    • rachel

      you were my first blog mates, I mean it when I say, I cannot wait to sit at a table with you, and our kids, to eat and drink for the longest lunch (then maybe we leave them and head out for dinner). Phili – yes. xoxox

  58. After printing out most of your Guardian recipes, we finally found the book in our local bookshop and bought it with our birthday money. Wonderful. Thanks so much. Wish I could have got a UK copy, but the North American one will have to do. We are very much enjoying cooking with your recipes. It was the kale/pumpkin minestrone tonight and it was very good. Our fav, however, is the lemon pasta.

  59. I just bought your book and started reading it before the rest of the family gets up on this sunny Saturday morning, and I was simply captivated by the stories, beautiful pictures and mouthwatering recipes. Really great job, I already love this book!

  60. Sally K

    A week ago today I hadn’t heard of you or your book. Then on Tuesday Jennie Perillo (In Jennie’s Kitchen) posted a recipe inspired by your recipe for spaghetti with lemon, parsley, garlic and chili and linked to two other recipes she’s made from Five Quarters — braised cipollini onions and pasta and potato soup. Since I’m a huge fan of traditional, authentic Italian cooking, I was intrigued. I found this blog, your columns for The Guardian and the US version of the book. I sampled the Kindle version. I bought it. I’m seriously considering buying a hard copy of the book, because this is a book not only to cook from, but to read and savor. I think I am your newest fan in the US and I’m looking forward to the second book.

    • rachel

      Good morning, What a lovely comment to read, thank you I am so glad, and happy and it is this sort of comment that makes it all worthwhile. thanks too for taking the time to write and tell me, all best R

  61. I love your Guardian column and your blog, but why will Canadian readers be stuck with US spelling?

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