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Lifestyle

August 18, 2013

'Sista Felicia's' Sicilian cooking

Gloucester woman bakes up book series from family recipes

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 for her twins, Amanda and BJ. She never imagined that the original scope of her project would grow exponentially.

Mohan’s 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,” she said. “I have enough recipes for six or seven books all together, and that can happen after the series of four.”

The 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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