Patricia Volonakis Davis has built a little empire inspired by salsa puttanesca, or "harlot's sauce," a hastily prepared tomato sauce developed by some enterprising women in Naples, Italy. She has written a food memoir (available in paperback and Kindle version), has a blog, and developed online podcastings based on Italian and Greek cultures, and the foods and characters that come from both. (She also devotes quite a bit of podcasting to the publishing industry.)
But it took a certain amount of living and heartache for her to climb to where she is. Originally a Sicilian kid from Long Island, New York, Patricia lived in Greece with husband Gregori before moving back to the States. These days she calls the San Francisco Bay Area home. Patricia briefly interrupted her book tour to answer some questions about her journey:
1. Was there a single moment of inspiration when you knew you needed to write a memoir, and did you know that it would have to include food?
PVD: The idea for Harlot's Sauce developed and morphed over time, but when I did decide on this project, I knew it had to include food, for sure. It's such a big part of the two cultures featured in the story.
2. You're of Italian descent, and you married a Greek man. In what ways are Italian and Greek cultures the same?
PVD: See above (LOL) Apart from an intense relationship with food, there is also the sometimes cloying (to me, anyway) family 'closeness' which can sometimes feel like unwanted interference, there are the mannerisms and the physical features. Besides those, I find that the more I inveistigate and learn, the two cultures are actually quite different in many ways.
3. What did writing your memoir "do" for you--was it a celebration, a lamentation, or something else entirely?
PVD: My memoir was an attempt to right several misconceptions, both personal and historical. It was also meant as a lesson to women on self-actualization. I am a former teacher, after all!