Ma For Christmas!

#BookClubDaily: In Marianne Leone‘s poignant memoir MA SPEAKS UP: And a First-Generation Daughter Talks Back, the acclaimed actress and author traces the life of her outspoken, frequently outrageous Italian immigrant mother.

“By turns tender and trenchant . . . a blisteringly honest account of the thorns and brambles that divided an immigrant Italian mama from her talented, truculent actress daughter.”
– Author Geraldine Brooks

Paired with: Ma’s “Meatless’ Lentil Soup (recipe in book).

“On Fridays, Catholics were supposed to abstain from eating meat. Strangely, this rule was observed by Ma, and her signature Friday dish was a delicious meatless lentil and tomato soup with her own hand-cut noodles. I couldn’t figure out why she obeyed this particular church rule, since she never allowed anyone to dictate culinary matters at our house and was the undisputed queen and absolute ruler of her kitchen. Even when my two aunts pitched in during elaborate holiday dinners, they were Ma’s acolytes, scurrying to chop vegetables at her bidding. Kids were banned outright. If Ma wasn’t following God’s command to go to church every Sunday, she would never allow Him to tell her how to run her kitchen. The unusual adherence to the no-meat rule remained a mystery for years.” – Marianne Leone

Find out how Marianne solves the soup mystery: enter our book giveaway courtesy Beacon Press at, or comment below. Makes a terrific holiday gift!

 Ma speaks up bookclub cookbook