You may not believe that life begins at 80, but don’t tell that to Eleanor Rodio Furlong. The Naples resident has just published her first cookbook, A Taste for All Seasons (Covenant Books; $39.95).
“At 83, I didn’t start with the goal of writing a cookbook,” she says. “I just started reminiscing about my childhood and the role food played in it, and the book just evolved. For an Italian family, the celebration of life takes place around the kitchen table.”
A Taste for All Seasons is a love letter to simple, straightforward Italian cooking. The recipes are clear and easy to follow, and they’re arranged by time of year. Furlong covers everything from sauces and stocks to appetizers, main courses, and desserts. Throughout the book, she emphasizes the importance of fresh and non-processed ingredients, which were part of her heritage. “I didn’t know that tomatoes came in a can until I was an adult,” she admits.
She sees the book as an accomplishment rather than a stepping stone to fame or fortune. “For me, success is identifying what your goals are,” she says. “If I sell books, that’s fine. But my goal was to write the book, so my ambition is complete.” As a former registered nurse who specialized in mental health, she views herself primarily as a change agent: “When I was writing it, I thought in terms of healthy eating habits and health education. Food, to me, is medicine, and the right foods can help develop your body and mind.”