{You Pick Six} An Interview with Founder of Boston Foodie Tours: Audrey Giannattasio

Audrey Giannattasio_Boston Foodie Tours If you follow Audrey Giannattasio on Twitter, you can see that winter weather isn’t stopping her from leading her food tours!

However, it was on a very warm summer day back in 2011, when I first met Audrey. As part of a small group of food bloggers, we had a great time touring specialty shops and restaurants in the North End, experiencing authentic Italy in Boston.

Since then, Audrey founded her own successful business, Boston Foodie Tours. For three years in a row, she has won TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence. She was also featured on Chronicle, a local television program bringing us stories about New England.

If you’re visiting Boston during a vacation, for a business trip or just taking a day trip into the city, you’ll have a great time on one of her tasty tours!

But now, let’s get to know Audrey a bit better. She’s number ten in the interview series, You Pick Six!

* * *

What is a favorite simple recipe to prepare at home?
Toast with mashed avocado, Kosher salt, freshly-grated pepper, and olive oil. Lunch nearly every day!

What is some of the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Don’t let anyone define you.” I’m just sorry that it took me fifty years to get it right! No one will ever care about you and your future as much as you will. If you’re truly going to reach your maximum potential, you must tune out the naysayers, leave any emotional baggage behind, and run your own race. When you find that place where you’re meant to be, the world will embrace you, and you will embrace yourself!

What is a favorite childhood food memory?
Picking large, purple grapes from the backyard vines in East Boston with my Italian-speaking, maternal grandmother, and my mother’s Sunday dinners, with freshly-made “gravy” – including meatballs and my beloved pig’s feet – and mostly store-bought pasta.

What do you think that most people don’t understand about food?
That creating good food isn’t necessarily about being an accomplished cook. Rather, it begins and ends with quality ingredients, such as a freshly-made mozzarella or a true Extra Virgin Olive Oil. What you put in is what you get out.


What is a favorite cookbook?
My favorite, most-used cookbooks are Ina Garten’s, whose recipes are both simple and reliable. My most valued and cherished cookbooks, however, are Marguerite Buonopane’s the North End Italian Cookbook, from which I learned as a young woman how to cook my mother’s Italian-American peasant dishes after she passed away; and my mother’s 1955 Good Housekeeping cookbook that I inherited.

How did food become an important part of your life?
My mother! Cooking was her way of demonstrating her love for others, and, perhaps, the only skill in which she had great confidence. Though we were on a tight budget, she could always stretch a meal for last-minute guests, who were often sent home with freshly-picked vegetables from our garden, and/or food gift bags.

* * *

Thank you so much for participating Audrey!

+ + +
Photos: Provided by Audrey Giannattasio.

Can your inner child come out and play?

giant chess pieces in park to playRemember when you were a kid and your friends would randomly stop by your house and ask if you could come out and play? And you would. Just go out and play.

At least I did. It was such a simple thing. No coordinating schedules. We’d let our parents know and off we’d go.

Riding our bikes. Swinging on the swings. Climbing on the jungle gym. Running around. Playing hopscotch. Jumping rope. Sliding down the slide. Swimming in the pool. And so much more.

It was just fun and simple and I must admit that my inner child misses being able to go play. I’m not the only one, because it seems that more of us adults are taking time out to feed that playful and creative side of ourselves.

After a tough day at work, a co-worker and I were talking about plans for the evening. She was going to buy some art supplies and paint with her boyfriend at home. Not painting the house or the walls. But painting on a canvas just for the heck of it. To unwind at the end of the day with some creativity.

The next day I was so curious about how it went. They had a lot of fun and she took some pictures on her phone that she shared with me. They looked great!

Many businesses now offer places where you can go and paint and craft in groups, as I wrote about a few years ago. But you have to pay and that can be a luxury that some of us cannot afford too often. I thought it was brilliant to just set up paints and have fun painting at home. I used to love doing that at school and at home after school when I was a kid. I plan to do this myself and maybe try it with some friends.

Apparently now adult coloring books are the rage. They are flying off the shelves and becoming best sellers. Jacksonville.com reported on the trend recently.

“We cannot print them fast enough,” said Amy Yodanis, Quarto’s head of marketing. “We are getting orders of 60,000 at one time from some of our biggest retailers.”

There are coloring clubs and coloring contests. Parade magazine devoted a Sunday cover to the trend. Dover plans a national coloring book day on Aug. 2.

“People are stressed and anxious all the time,” said Jeannine Dillon, Quarto’s publisher. “Coloring is a way to calm down and unwind at the end of the day.”

The coloring books sound pretty fun to me and I wonder how many people will be coloring on August 2nd to celebrate national coloring book day.

Not everyone is into coloring or painting. Just like when we were kids. Different people like different things.  Some friends of mine went to tennis camp this past weekend, as they have done each year for several years. There are cooking camps and writing vacations. There are yoga summer camps too.

In light of this new back to childhood trend, it makes sense that a new long-lost Dr. Seuss book is being released.

What Pet Should I Get goes on sale this Tuesday, July 28th. I’m sure lots of grown-ups will be reading along to find out the answer to the question.


Scenes from Nantucket

Scenes from Nantucket

Late yesterday, I returned home from a few relaxing days in Nantucket. My mom treated me to the trip for my birthday. We had a wonderful time playing tourists. Nantucket isn’t just for summer travel! It’s beautiful in the fall too.

I have some eating destinations to share with you soon. Some shopping destinations too! But for now, I thought I’d share a few pictures. Have a lovely Friday!