What I do
The main thing I do is write about Italian food.
"Sauces and Shapes: Pasta the Italian Way," coauthored with Oretta Zanini De Vita, has just been published by W. W. Norton. I translated Oretta's "Encyclopedia of Pasta" (James Beard award) and "Popes, Peasants, and Shepherds: Recipes and Lore from Rome and Lazio," both University of California Press.
My previous cookbook was the Rome volume in the Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World series, and a couple of restaurant guides, and coauthored an Italian-English food dictionary. I've also translated quite a bit of food-related material from the Italian and written lots and lots of articles, mainly Choice Tables for the New York Times travel section when Nancy Newhouse was travel editor.
I also keep my hand in the ancient world, which is what I studied. This can mean working on yet another edition of "Women's Life in Greece and Rome" (the third was published in 2005) or lecturing food-studies students on the gastronomy of ancient Rome or translating (from the Italian) wall panels for the Iraq Museum. I lecture the NYU Food Studies grad students on the food of ancient Rome every year when they visit the Eternal City.
When I'm not writing or translating, I'm probably editing or cooking, the latter often with visiting Americans whom I instruct in doing it all as the Romans do. Editing for me covers a lot of ground, but nowadays it is likely to mean editorial coordination or project management, often, for my sins, for the University of Rome's Center for Logistics Research. That is not so far-fetched: it's logistics that gets the fruit from the tree to our kitchen before it goes bad, so there is often a food component in what I do for them.
I'm available for various kinds of editorial, teaching, guiding, gastronomic trip-planning, research, and other jobs (but, for the record, I've outgrown the nickel-and-dime stuff). Shoot me an e-mail if you'd like to pursue anything.
Where I'm from
I've lived in Rome since 1979, but try to get back to my native Manhattan at least a couple of times a year. I went to the Nightingale-Bamford School there, then majored in Classics at Manhattanville College (then of the Sacred Heart, in Purchase, NY) and attended the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome during my junior year. I did graduate work at the University of Michigan in Classical Studies (M.A.) and Classical Archaeology (Candidate in Philosophy, i.e., a.b.d.), where I was particularly interested in Roman tombs and Latin inscriptions, especially funerary. This came in very handy for studying Roman women.
Ann Arbor in those days was pretty much of a gastronomic desert, but I had the abridged English Talisman cookbook (and soon Marcella Hazan's first book) and my professor's abandoned pasta machine and some hungry friends. The farmer's market was wonderful, and the kitchen supply and gourmet shop scene woke up during my second or third year there. So my interest in food developed along with my studies and eventually overtook them.
Friends of Maureen, of course.
Not to brag, but I am often astounded by the brilliance and talent of many of my friends, both classical and food and even a few others. Do check the Quick Links here for their web pages and my Amazon store for their works. I also hope to feature some of them on my blog from time to time, but have learned not to make rash promises.