Hello! I’m Marie Pinto Bialek

A first-generation Italian-American self-taught cook based out of the Philadelphia area and the writer and cook behind this site. Have spent most of my life in the Philadelphia area, with roots in the Campania region of Italy, I draw inspiration from my Italian heritage and Philadelphia upbringing. Frequent visits to Central NY (Utica) and a brief stay in the Midwest have also influenced my cooking and baking.

Growing up in Philadelphia significantly influenced my cooking. The city’s rich culinary heritage, with its iconic dishes like soft pretzels, Philadelphia tomato pie, and Philly roast pork, instilled an appreciation for local flavors, and the vibrant food culture in Philadelphia introduced me to a diverse range of cuisines and ingredients.

Get to Know Me

Undoubtedly, it’s my mother. Her consistent passion for baking bread, crafting pizzas, and creating amazing Italian desserts has profoundly influenced my cooking and baking.

My mother, an Italian immigrant and lover of all things homemade (currently 90 years old), crafts homemade fusilli, cavatelli, gnocchi, and more, including the famous peach cookies.

Her baking specialties include Italian Rum Cake, cannolis, pignoli cookiesstruffolipeach cookies, and sfogliatelle. She also takes great pride in other favorites like home made pasta, home made spaghetti sauce, gnocchi, and Italian bread.

Always in the kitchen! I enjoy exploring new recipes, preparing homemade meals, and embracing the creative baking process when I have free time. It’s my true passion and where I find solace in stressful times.

The Campania region of Italy is renowned for its exceptional cuisine. It is celebrated for producing some of Italy’s finest culinary staples, including the world-famous Neapolitan pizza, rich tomato-based sauces, buffalo mozzarella cheese, eggplant parmesan, delectable pastries like sfogliatelle, and limoncello.

The region’s coastal location also brings an abundance of fresh seafood to its traditional dishes, making it a food lover’s paradise.

Personal Favorites (hard to choose!)

I’m always curious when I visit someone’s cooking site – what is their favorite? What do they make mostly?

This was hard to choose – almost impossible, to be honest! Here is a partial selection of some of my favorites in no specific order. Oh, and I left out Utica greens and chicken riggies, which I always make, so don’t forget to check those out too.