Book Reviews,  Seasons

The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken: A Search for Food and Family by Laura Schenone | Book Review

The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken: A Search for Food and Family by Laura Schenone | Book Review The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken: A Search for Food and Family by Laura Schenone
Genres: Food, Memoir, Non-Fiction
Original Publication Date: 2007
Source: I purchased this book
Find the Author: Goodreads, Amazon

Laura Schenone undertakes a quest to retrieve her great-grandmother’s ravioli recipe, reuniting with relatives as she goes. In lyrical prose and delicious recipes, Schenone takes the reader on an unforgettable journey from the grit of New Jersey’s industrial wastelands and the fast-paced disposable culture of its suburbs to the dramatically beautiful coast of Liguria―the family’s homeland―with its pesto, smoked chestnuts, torte, and, most beloved of all, ravioli, the food of celebration and happiness.

The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken

The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken: A Search for Food and Family by Laura Schenone is a memoir about the author’s search for the original ravioli recipes of her great-grandmother.

This search leads her to visit Italy and get lessons on ravioli-making.

It also leads the author to reach out to relatives that she hasn’t spoken to in years, because of family estrangements.

Laura loves to cook and make pasta. She especially loves ravioli, which is especially important at Christmastime:

A little square of ravioli is like a secret. You look at the outside and see the neatly crimped dough, puffed up in the center with a lovely pillow of something mysterious inside. It is an envelope with a message. Before you bite into it, all is unknown. And much is still possible.

You’re not supposed to make Christmas ravioli alone, really. It’s too hard. It takes hours of work. Far better you should have people at your side, probably the women of your family – daughters, mothers, and sisters helping you, nagging you, and bumping into you in the kitchen.


It turns out that everyone she visits, whether in Italy or the United States, has a different way of making ravioli.

Some use traditional special rolling pins, and some use modern food processors and pasta makers.

This book taught me more about ravioli-making than I ever wanted to know!

But I still enjoyed the book, especially the visits to Italy, and when the author repaired some of the rifts in her own family.

Further Reading

If you’re in a Christmas mood, want to read more about food, or want to read about New Jersey, you may also want to check out:

The Cat Who Came for Christmas by Cleveland Amory | Book Review

Merry Classical Christmas

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz | Book Review

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell | Book Review

My Life in France by Julia Child | Book Review

Five-Finger Discount: A Crooked Family History by Helene Stapinski | Book Review

Cheaper by the Dozen by the Gilbreths | Book Review

Modern Crossword Puzzles Turn 100!

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Please also check out seasonal memories from my New Jersey blog!

Christmas at Canfield-Morgan Farm & Museum | Cedar Grove, New Jersey

Christmas at the Farm at Green Village | Green Village, New Jersey

Christmas at Van Tassel | Bloomfield, New Jersey

Christmas at Kip’s Castle 2023 | Verona and Montclair, New Jersey

Christmas at Kingsland Manor | Nutley, New Jersey

Christmas at Zenas Crane Homestead | West Caldwell, New Jersey

The 1970s Yule Log Brings Back Happy Christmas Memories!

The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (1971) | Television

The Haunted Deserted Village of Feltville and the Enchanted Forest 2023 | Berkeley Heights, New Jersey

Delicious Orchards 2023 | Colts Neck, New Jersey

First Presbyterian Church of Oxford at Hazen and the Spooky Graveyard 2023 | Belvidere, New Jersey

The Historic Cooper Gristmill | Chester Township, New Jersey

Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital Is About To Be Torn Down 2015 | Morris Plains, New Jersey

Thank you for reading The Literary Lioness!

About Laura Schenone

Schenone’s first book was A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove: A History of American Women Told Through Food, Recipes, and Remembrances.

Her next book was The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken: A Search for Food and Family about traveling to her family’s ancestral region of Genoa on a quest to understand the mysteries of family and the lost art of hand-rolled pasta.

Her third book was The Dogs of Avalon: The Race to Save Animals in Peril which is the story of Marion Fitzgibbon, an Irish woman, and her odyssey to help abused, neglected, and abandoned animals, especially those abused by the Irish greyhound racing industry.

I love books, writing, film, and television.

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