Monday, January 3, 2011

Jenny Nelson

Jenny Nelson grew up in Larchmont, NY and graduated with a BA in English Literature from the University of Colorado at Denver. A former web editor and producer, she worked for companies such as iVillage, and

Georgia’s Kitchen is her first novel.

From a Q & A at her website:

You really bring your settings to life, be it the beauty of San Casciano, the rush of New York City, or the heat inside a top restaurant’s kitchen. You currently live in New York, but have you spent a significant amount of time in Italy? Did you need to do much research for the settings of your book—other than eat great Italian food?

I’m lucky to have spent a good bit of time in Italy, all over, really, but mainly in Tuscany. My husband and I were married in Fiesole, at a villa that once belonged to Dante Alighieri (if this feels familiar it’s because Georgia reflects on a wedding she and Glenn attended that sounds suspiciously like ours). In addition to relying on my own experiences, I did a lot of research on Tuscany and Sicily—on the architecture, the landscape and, obviously, the food and wine. As for food, New York is filled with incredible Italian restaurants, and I make it a point to eat at as many as possible, which is no great hardship! My mother-in-law, who grew up in Milan and still spends a lot of time there, was able to help with all the Italian translations.

There are great descriptions of meal preparations in the book. Do you cook? What was the inspiration for the signature dish Georgia creates for Trattoria Dia?

I love to cook, but with twin six-year-old daughters, sometimes it’s more about getting dinner on the table than preparing a fabulous new recipe I’ve discovered. Luckily, they’re both good eaters and will try just about anything, so I do get to be a little more experimental at times. Italian food is my absolute favorite to make—I love how forgiving it is, and how it all begins with good, basic ingredients. As for the signature dish, I wanted it to be vegetarian, and because I would happily eat risotto for the rest of my life, I thought it’d be...[read on]
Read an excerpt from Georgia’s Kitchen, and learn more about the book and author at Jenny Nelson's website and blog.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Jenny Nelson and Clarabelle.

The Page 69 Test: Georgia’s Kitchen.

--Marshal Zeringue