"Food is not merely about calories and minimum daily requirements and metabolic pathways. At its very heart, food is about people."--from Pass the PolentaLikewise, people are at the heart of this warm, personal collection of food- and family-inspired essays by former professional chef and food historian Teresa Lust. An Italian immigrant grandmother who plucked chickens in the backyard; an introverted mushroom forager who collected chanterelles in the woods; a German auntie who learned to knead bread in a wooden bucket; an unassuming wine shop owner who, after closing, offers a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and a delightfully unpretentious way to value a wine--all are key ingredients in the zesty culinary heritage that Teresa Lust lovingly serves up. Like the creamy, sweet polenta that wooed her father into her mother's robust Italian family, this book is filled with a myriad of rich flavors, history, kitchen tips, and recipes. Lessons in life learned at the stoves of the many seasoned cooks in Lust's world, these wonderful true stories are an expression of art and love, family and self, soil and the seasons.