It Ain’t Sauce, It’s Gravy: Macaroni, Homestyle Cheesesteaks, the Best Meatballs in the World, and How Food Saved My Life
This is the book for authentic Italian-American cooking, with recipes like Spaghetti and Crabs, Stuffed Hot Peppers, Chicken Cutlet Marsala, and of course, “The Best Meatballs In the World.” Recipes are clear and easy to follow, (although there are some unfamiliar ingredients), and most are accompanied by beautiful photos of the finished dish. The real treasure of this book, however, is Steve Martorano’s autobiographical narration. He tells the story of growing up in South Philly, surrounded by and connected with the mob, and how he felt his life was destined to follow paths that he finally realized only led to dead ends (quite literally: the bombing of a good friend’s house left him stunned and horrified). Eventually he realized he had a passion for food, and began his own restaurant businesses, many of which failed; but through tenacity and constant effort he has become a very successful restaurateur. The book is surprising, at times funny, others poignant, always entertaining. Perfectly frank, Martorano tells things like they are, and were – his neighborhood was tough and he made lots of poor choices, which he openly acknowledges, but when he was true to himself, believed in himself, and worked hard, he was able to succeed. It is an inspiring story, well-told – and the recipes are gravy.