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A Talk on Traditions, Mindful Living and a Recipe!

July 28, 2011

Lately we have been bringing some new connections to the Oldways Table. These individuals and organizations have some amazing messages to share and it makes us so proud to feature them here on our blog and introduce them to our readers. One such connection is a remarkable woman by the name of Rosanna Bowles and to introduce all of you to her we have put together a Q&A so you can learn a bit more about her stunning tableware, her philosophy on “mindful” living and her new book, “Coming Home: A Seasonal Guide to Creating Family Traditions.”

Sara:  Can you share with our readers a bit about yourself and the idea behind your book, “Coming Home: A Seasonal Guide To Creating Family Traditions?

Rosanna:  My name is Rosanna Bowles, and I’m a mother, entrepreneur, Pacific Northwest native, Europhile, art-history lover, and strong believer in ritual and tradition. I very much fashioned a career for myself that draws from all of my passions, and I call upon each of these identities every day to guide Rosanna Inc., the tableware design company I founded over 25 years ago. At Rosanna, we design what I like to call “soulful tableware.” I’m dedicated to unearthing antique aesthetics and old-fashioned values, which I then update to fit a modern-day lifestyle. In this way, the missions of both Rosanna Inc. and Oldways are very much aligned.

I wrote my book, Coming Home, to help people live more mindful, enriching, and fulfilling lives infused with personal connection and small-scale moments of beauty.

Because many people feel like they don’t know where to begin creating tradition, the framework of the book organizes activities, recipes, and rituals by season. With an emphasis on entertaining, homemaking, seasonal eating, home cooking, shared meals, and spontaneous gatherings, the overall theme is to strengthen and deepen relationships with family, friends, and neighbors, thereby inviting more daily beauty into our lives, and not just on special occasions. My main goal is to show our readers that this kind of “mindful” living doesn’t have to be daunting or time-consuming.

Sara:  Since the beginning, Oldways has been about bringing people together to enjoy the pleasures of the table.  So, when I was reading your book I just loved the way you have taken that one step further and look at traditions and pleasures of the table on a seasonal level; can you tell us about one of your favorite seasonal traditions?

Rosanna:  I must say, nothing rivals the bounty of summer and early fall. I love the ritual of wandering the weekly farmer’s market and creating meals based on the fresh abundance of the season.

Plus, it’s so much easier to be spontaneous at this time of year.  People are more open to the notion of an impromptu dinners or outings when the weather is warm and life is a little more relaxed.  And there is a dazzling array of fresh options from which to create a meal.

I also love this season because it provides easier access to the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. The summer shows that we can live the Mediterranean lifestyle, anywhere.

Sara:  In your book you discuss the importance of establishing good eating habits with our children and understanding that these lessons are what they will then carry through life.  What are a few of the most important healthy lessons you have taught your daughters?

Rosanna:  The most important lesson I’ve taught my daughters about healthy eating is that it’s not only important what kind of food you eat, but how you eat it.

Every night, we prepare fresh, home cooked meals. We set the table nicely, light some candles, put on some music, and sit down to dinner as a family. Carving this time out of our day, making it special, even a little hallowed, is vital for fostering a healthy, loving, connected family dynamic. Eating together aids children’s emotional and psychological development. I have taught my girls that eating doesn’t only fuel the body; it nourishes the soul.  This is a habit I learned from my mother and hope that my daughters will continue to pass on as they grow up.

Sara:  And, of course, it does all come back to the food so what is your favorite recipe from your book that you might share with our readers?

Rosanna:  One of my favorite recipes for this season is Pasta Estiva, Italian for “Summer Pasta.” This recipe is an ideal example of the Mediterranean Diet. Pasta Estiva requires minimal preparation and few ingredients, which means you can devote your energies to finding the freshest and most flavorful ingredients available, then enjoying the time spent with the people you share the meal with. The main attractions of this dish are fresh basil and summer tomatoes, which you can find almost anywhere at this time of year. Make sure to use a good-quality mozzarella and olive oil too. This dish is gorgeous in its simplicity and can feed a crowd.

PASTA ESTIVA (SUMMER PASTA)

Ingredients: (serves 4-6)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
10 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped, plus more whole leaves for garnish
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound dried short pasta (such as penne or campanelle)
15 small balls fresh mozzarella di bufala, chopped coarsely
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions:
1. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add garlic, let soften for a minute, then add the tomatoes.
2. Cook tomatoes covered on medium-low heat until they turn soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Boiling a large pot of salted water and add the pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain well in a colander in the sink.
4. Pour the sauce into the bottom of the empty pasta pot. Transfer the pasta back to the pot. Add in the mozzarella balls, pine nuts, and basil. Toss to combine.
5. Season to taste with salt and mix again.
6. Serve immediately on a large oval platter. Garnish with large basil leaves.

You can learn more about Rosanna by visiting her website, or find her on Facebook or Twitter.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2011 4:10 pm

    Thank you for the opportunity—I truly enjoyed the opportunity to get to know you and I’m a strong supporter of the Oldways lifestyle!

  2. July 28, 2011 4:11 pm

    Thank you for the opportunity—I truly enjoyed getting to know more about you and I’m a strong supporter of the Oldways lifestyle!

  3. July 29, 2011 9:37 am

    The Los Angeles Times health blog (Booster Shots) reported on a study Sept. 23, 2009, that associates teenager attendance at family dinner with better academic performance and less abuse of alcohol and drugs.

    Here’s a link to the article: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2009/09/parenting-teens-dinner.html

    Leisurely family meals are characteristic of the traditional Mediterranean diet and may partially explain the health benefits of the diet.

    -Steve

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