Fresh out of college, Katherine arrives in Naples to intern at the United States Consulate. “There is a chaotic, vibrant energy about Naples that forces you to let go and give in,” writes Katherine, who meets handsome, studious Salvatore one evening and finds herself immediately enveloped by his elegant mother, Raffaella, and the rest of the Avallone family. From that moment, Katherine’s education begins: Never eat the crust of a pizza first, always stand up and fight for yourself and your loved ones, and consider mealtimes sacred—food must be prepared fresh and consumed in compagnia.
Immersed in Neapolitan culture, traditions, and cuisine, slowly and unexpectedly falling for Salvatore, and longing for Raffaella’s company and guidance, Katherine discovers how to prepare meals that sing, from hearty, thick ragù to comforting rigatoni alla Genovese to pasta al forno, a casserole chock-full of bacon, béchamel, and no fewer than four kinds of cheeses. The secret to succulent, tender octopus? Beat it with a hammer. While Katherine is used to large American kitchens with islands and barstools, she understands the beauty of small, tight Italian ones, where it’s easy to offer a taste from a wooden spoon.
Through courtship, culture clashes, Sunday services, marriage, and motherhood (in Naples, a pregnancy craving must always be satisfied!), Katherine comes to appreciate carnale, the quintessentially Neapolitan sense of comfort and confidence in one’s own skin. Raffaella and her famiglia are also experts at sdrammatizzare, knowing how to suck the tragedy from something and spit it out with a great big smile. Part travel tale, part love letter, Only in Naples is a sumptuous story that is a feast for the senses. Goethe said, “See Naples and die.” But Katherine Wilson saw Naples and started to live.
“An exuberant account of love and great Italian food.”
“In a world filled with food memoirs, this one stands out. Katherine Wilson gives us more than the fabulous food of Naples. She offers us a passport to an exotic country we would never be able to enter on our own.”
—Ruth Reichl, author of My Kitchen Year
“In her debut memoir, Only in Naples, Katherine Wilson manages to combine everything I love—food, family, and Italy—with heaping portions of heart and humor. How lucky we are to get these hilarious and wise perceptions filtered through a sincerely loving eye.”
—Julie Klam, author of Friendkeeping
“Read this and you’ll find yourself pining for your very own sequined Italian mother-in-law.”
—Luisa Weiss, author of My Berlin Kitchen and founder of The Wednesday Chef
“Wilson’s easygoing writing perfectly suits this tale of an innocent abroad, an American girl who discovers herself in the midst of a foreign culture that becomes, in the end, her own.”
—Kate Christensen, author of How to Cook a Moose
“Katherine Wilson has written a glorious memoir celebrating the holy trinity of Italian life: love, food and family.
Her keen eye and sense of humor takes you through the winding streets of Naples at a clip, on a ride you hope will never end. If you love Italy, or the idea of it, you will love this book. And, if you ever plan to visit Naples, tuck this in your suitcase, it’s the best primer I’ve ever read as a guide to this bustling, vibrant southern Italian port city.”
—Adriana Trigiani, New York Times Bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife
“A must-read for anyone who loves Italian food—and isn’t that everyone?”
—Kathleen Flinn, author of The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry