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The Taste of Our Lives

The Taste of our Lives is the brainchild of Miami filmmaker Dina Falcone-Nicolella, a first generation Italian American whose childhood summers in Lucca made an indelible impression on her as an artist.

Born Dina Falcone, her father’s family originated in the southern region of Calabria. Her mother’s family (the Ciucci’s) hailed from the north, and Dina married into the Nicolella family from Naples. This cross section of Italian roots defines Dina, and is most evident in her cooking.

In Lucca Dina learned to cook from family members who shared recipes that had literally never been written down. Each recipe came with its own story, rich in detail that had been passed down with its ingredients over many centuries. Afternoons spent in the kitchen in Lucca, listening to the personal meaning behind the dishes inspired Dina to preserve these recipes—and their stories—for her own daughters.

The Taste of our Lives is the fruit of this lifelong passion. Dina will be publishing these recipes, and the stories behind them, here on her blog and ultimately in a cookbook of the same name.

As a result, Dina is harvesting recipes from other families, that will be included in her cookbook, The Taste of Our Lives. Here she invites you to share your stories and recipes. She will continually be trying out these recipes and sharing photos, videos and reflections on the dishes and the stories that were handed down with them.

When and why did you start this site?
I started this site as a water cooler of sorts, a place where others like me could gather and share our family recipes and the wonderful, often romantic, sometimes even crazy stories behind the dishes. Somehow hearing the story behind a dish actually affects the flavor, especially the first time you taste it. And I love the mystery of a great recipe. I love how I can make the exact same recipe as my grandmother, the exact same way she made it and somehow the nuances are different. It feels to me that the recipes are living documents, continually evolving and morphing and refusing to be pinned down. As a filmmaker, I’m fascinated by this process.

How do I submit a recipe and story?
I’m accepting submissions for recipes only at this time. Please shoot me an email with the recipe, a brief overview of the story behind it, your day and evening phone number and the best time to get ahold of you. If I decide to feature the recipe on my blog, I’ll call you. I want to hear the story first hand (not in an email) and yes, I’ll probably be having a glass of wine while I listen. If I feature the recipe on my blog, I will reference you as the source. Unfortunately, I don’t offer any compensation for recipes.

What’s your comments policy?
I can’t tell you how happy your comments make me—and without them I feel like I’m just talking to myself. So please, comment away. I moderate my comments to keep out the spammers, and I generally post anything unless it’s hateful, hurtful, profane or insulting to others. Likewise, if you want to be critical, please do it in a constructive manner.

Can I link to your site? And will you link to mine?
You are most welcome to link to this site. And I will gladly read your blog but I don’t link to a new blog until after it’s been active for six months nor do I exchange links.

Who takes the photos?
My team of professionals includes my husband Richard, my daughter Carla and me. All photographs are taken by one of us unless otherwise noted.

Can I republish your post, recipe and/or photo on my site?
No, you cannot use my content on your site. If you make one of my recipes and want to blog about it, you can either link back to my site without posting the recipe, or you can make changes, rewrite it into your language and call it an adaptation. (More on recipe attribution can be found at Food Blog Alliance.) If you want to use a photo, please ask first.

What about the cookbook?
My plan is to use this blog to meet and network with others like me while I search for the ideal recipes and stories to be featured in my cookbook, The Taste of Our Lives. If your recipe and story are chosen for inclusion in the cookbook, you’ll be contacted directly. Appropriate credits will be given to you as the source, but no other compensation will be given.

Did I miss anything?
Then fire me an email: Dina at the taste of our lives dot com.