November 12, 2009

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Ciao Italia at Cotton
Mary Ann Esposito celebrates 20 years on air and a new book

By Linda A. Thompson-Odum food@hippopress.com

What’s the longest-running television cooking show? Here’s a hint: It stars a New Hampshire resident and will soon mark its 20th anniversary on the air.

The answer is Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito, and the star will celebrate her show’s milestone and the release of her new cookbook at Cotton in Manchester on Friday, Nov. 13.

“I met Mary Ann many years ago when I was at the Canterbury Shaker Village and I have been to some of her events,” Cotton owner and chef Jeffery Paige said. He had tried in the past to get her to the restaurant for a book signing, but it never came about. “Then I heard about this new one and we were able to work it out.”

For the evening, Paige will offer a specials menu of dishes from Esposito’s new book, Ciao Italia Five-Ingredient Favorites. Some of the highlights include Tuscan Chicken Liver Paté with Crostini, Roasted Beet and Orange Salad, Mushroom Ragu over Fresh Fettuccine, and Pistachio-Dusted Pork Chop with Potato Casserole and Mixed Sweet Pepper Casserole. The dessert selections include Pumpkin Spice Gelato Pie with Butterscotch Sauce.

Everything will be a la carte, so guests may order all of Esposito’s dishes or mix and match them with Cotton’s regular menu.

Esposito will be there from 5 to 9 p.m. to autograph her cookbook and visit with customers. The book will be available for purchase, and 100 percent of the profits will go to the Kids’ Café at the Manchester Salvation Army, which provides a warm dinner and evening activities for kids four nights a week, 48 weeks a year. The average nightly attendance is 116 children. A portion of the night’s food and beverages sales will also be donated to the program.

“There are so many good causes out there. We picked one dear to our hearts. The kids are the future, and for some this is the only hot meal of the day they will get. It’s all volunteers and I’ve worked over there a couple of times. It’s a positive environment,” Paige said.

Esposito said her new cookbook was “written for the times we are in now. Each recipe only has five ingredients, excluding salt and pepper. It plays on the principles of Italian food. Less is more. Quality is better than quantity. These are recipes I thought Italians would use in their own kitchens, and favorites from home.”

Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito entered American homes in 1989. Esposito, who has lived in New Hampshire for more than 30 years, said the whole thing started “on a wing and a prayer.” Back then she had a catering business, and was writing a cookbook and teaching. “My husband suggested I ask the local public television station if they wanted a local cooking show.”

Raised in an Italian household, Esposito said the subject of Italian food is vast and can cover a lifetime. With her televisions show and cookbooks (she’s written 11 so far) she said her goal is “to try to focus on tradition and keep the old traditions alive.”

For Paige, this event is also a celebration of Cotton’s ninth birthday. He pointed out that it was a great opportunity to get your favorite food-lover a Christmas or holiday gift.

“I’m a huge fan of Italian food,” Paige said. “I’ve been to Italy a couple of times and often thought if I opened another restaurant, it would focus on Italian food. I love the simplicity and the freshness of it.”

As for Esposito, Paige said, “She’s a great teacher. And she stays true to what I think of as Italian food. She’s not mucking things up.”


Television personality and cookbook author Mary Ann Esposito will sign copies of her newest book at Cotton in Manchester to raise money for Kids’ Café. Courtesy photo.

Ciao!
What: Ciao Italia Dinner with Mary Ann Esposito
Where: Friday, Nov. 13, from 5 to 9 p.m.
When: Cotton, 75 Arms St., Manchester, www.cottonfood.com
More info: Call 622-5488 for reservations. For more information on Mary Ann Esposito, go to www.ciaoitalia.com.


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9/27/2007 Meet your pig
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7/26/2007 Gourmet Concord?
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7/12/2007 Reintroducing ratatouille
7/5/2007 Time to hit the grill
6/28/2007 Peanutty dinner delight
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6/14/2007 Holy Barbecue
6/07/2007 A wine for Red Sox
5/31/2007 Pinot noir romance
5/24/2007 Josh Logan eats (not before shows)
5/17/2007 Baklava, spanakopita and souvlaki ó a.k.a. dinner
5/10/2007 Cremeland celebrates 60 years of burgers and shakes
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3/22/2007 A taste of genuine sweetness
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3/1/2007 Feeding Mama Kicks
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2/1/2007 Super platters for the Super Bowl
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11/30/2006 Bites of comfort with chips of happiness
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11/16/2006 Easier-to-enjoy Thanksgiving feasts
11/9/2006 The new classic
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09/28/2006 The crunchier, lighter, healthier wrap
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09/07/2006 Eat your way down the block
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A year of eats

All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
abel
A picnic ó itís romance with ants
A sweet burst of summer, in stages
Beef, It's What's For Dinner, Lunch, And Dessert
Be it ever so humble, the burger rules
Blockbuster snacks for your movie
Box Of Chocolates
C Is For Cookie And Christmas And Cool Combo
Celebrating A Holiday For The Rest Of Us
Celebrate Easter In A Sugar Coma
Chat And Chew

Chinese soup is magic
Chocolate cake makes everything better
Chocolate, Part II
Competition flows like chocolate
Corn Flake Chicken, Honeycomb Salad
Dining at the "Your House Bistro"
Don't Dread The Bread
Dress Up Your Next Meal
Drinking Out Of The Box
Eating Your Way Back To Health
Empanadas
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead ó run silent, run deep
Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Go Indian for Thanksgiving
Grilled Cheese Junkie

Halloween candy for grown-ups
Have a Happy Meal and a happier wallet
Holiday Cookies - The Easy Way
Holiday Potluck 101-Tips For The Kitchen Novice
Home-Based Date
How do you like them apples?
In-A-Pinch Love Feast
It's not easy to be cheesy
Itís not Christmas without tamales
Lest We Forget The Humble Squash
Keeping your cool while you eat
Living through your salad days

Looking Beyond The Hot Dog Stand
Lunching your way to a less toxic you
Meat's meat and a man's gotta eat

Moist and delicious chicken ó no, really
Oatmeal Cookies, The Miracle Cure
Oscar Night, When The Stars Come Out To Eat

Offering Up A Slice Of Teriyaki Pie
Pot Pies Are Darn Tasty
Pumpkin-Flavored Treats
Small Plates Are The Next Big Thing
Speedy 'za not pie in the sky
Steak: itís whatís for dinner, again
Summer coolers, just add sunlight
Summer Squash
Super Bowl Grub
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
Taste of Manchester Event
The Cosmopolitan
The joys of a simple oatmeal breakfast
The return of comfort food
The One-Note Cook Book
The New American Plate Cookbook
The Stickiest, Hottest & Sweetest Of Love's Labors
The taste of retro
The Unheralded Peanut Butter Cookies
The union of sweet and heat
The Weekly Dish (12-16-04)
The Weekly Dish (12-23-04)

The Weekly Dish [1-13-05]
There's a Barbecue Bonanza Next Door
Week Four: Adding Diet To The Mix
What Was Hot And Haute In 2004
When $$ trumps urge to dine out
When in doubt, go for the organic
When nothing else will cool, Slurp it
You Say Potato, She'll Say Potato,Too
You say tomato, writer says lunch