Author to sign food-related books |

Author to sign food-related books

Nancy Oliver Hayden
Gina Gigli

Gina Gigli will sign copies of her books, “Poco Pane, Poco Vino” and “What’s Eating America,” from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Neighbors Bookstore in the Village Center.

“Poco Pane, Poco Vino,” Italian for “a little bread, a little wine,” is about the history of food and wine originating in the old world. The book was published in 2001 and is lavishly illustrated and filled with recipes from her husband, Ruggero Gigli. Together, Gina and Ruggero own and operate Villa Gigli in Markleeville. The Italian restaurant, art studio and art gallery is open on Saturday and Sunday from May through October and is closed the remainder of the year.

Gina’s book about foods originating in the New World, “What’s Eating America: Exploring Comfort Foods,” includes interviews with strangers encountered on road trips across the United States and was published in 2004. Traveling across the country with her husband after Sept. 11, 2001, Gina elicited stranger’s thoughts about terrorist threats and inquired about their perceived comfort foods. After discovering that a majority of the selected foods define the culture of our native ancestors, threads of nutritional and anthropological facts were woven into the interviews. The book contains recipes contributed by people from coast to coast. Some examples are Samuel’s Baked Chicken Legs, Gerald’s Wife’s Pinto Beans, Cherokee Cornmeal Gravy and Cajun Charlie’s Seafood Gumbo.

Comfort foods may be defined as soothing or strengthening, stimulating or settling, depending upon individual backgrounds. Some folks yearn for bland, creamy or soft foods, while others crave crunchy, salty or spicy fare. Most people instinctively select foods perceived as mood elevators or memory enhancers. Chocolate won first place in Gina’s survey, beef was second, and Mexican and Indian foods with chili, beans, corn and tomatoes came in third. Tied for fourth place were Italian dishes and seafood. Honorable mention went to chicken, popcorn, grits, French fries, potato chips, pizza and doughnuts and coffee.

Ruggero, who was a small boy in Italy during World War II, unhesitatingly chooses bread as his comfort food and Gina’s own choice is a combination of tomato soup and a gooey grilled cheese sandwich.

Gina Gigli is an artist and author. She began her career with oil painting in Nevada and expanded her knowledge of art by sharing it with others. She has been an art columnist, diorama artist for the Nevada State Museum, art instructor for Carson City schools, assistant professor of art at Carson College and is the author of the book “Dat So La Lee, Queen of the Washo Basketmakers.”

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