Rita in front of the old town hall

I Never Promised You a Cookbook is Published

I Never Promised You a Cookbook  is  a memoir cookbook by veteran journalist and author Rita Papazian that offers a combination of personal  essays,  recipes  and interviews conducted with many celebrity chefs. The recipes are culled from the author’s and her mother’s recipe files representing many family recipes from the `50s, `60s, and `70s.  

No only are the recipes easy to prepare, but Papazian offers a glimpse into the personalities and talents of today’s popular celebrity chefs, including Rachael Ray, Rocco DiSpirito, Mark Bittman, Lidia Bastianich, Michel Nischan, among others.

The author takes pride in the blend of memoir and cookbook for the combination enhances enjoyment for the reader who gets to meet some of her friends and family through their connections to the recipes. The memoir format and family recipes keep alive the personalities of family members and the recipes themselves. In one essay she contrasts her mother and mother-in-law in the way in which the women wore aprons. For example, while sitting down to dinner, her mother would remove her apron to heighten her appearance, while her mother-in-law would keep her apron on as a sign she was always ready to serve family members.

When asked what is unique about her memoir cookbook’s recipes, Papazian says that while the recipes are quite basic, the fact that she has combined her personal essays with celebrity chef interviews brings those chefs and their wholesome advice and expertise right into the home kitchen. For example, Rachael Ray suggests taking the last few tablespoons of peanut butter sitting in the bottom of the jar and turning it into a spicy Thai peanut sauce as a dip for chicken tenders or pour over a pound of warm whole-wheat noodles and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions. As an added tip, Ray says, “loosen the peanut butter in the jar by microwaving it with the lid off for 30 seconds on high.” She then continues with the recipe for making the dipping sauce. Mark Bittman discusses how he weans away from the number of animal products and junk food by eating a diet that is “nearly ‘vegan’ until six.”

The author encourages others to create their own memoir cookbook. Such a project not only records the family recipes, but also taps into memories that may lie dormant. The format encourages conversations among family members, and provides a lasting record for future generations.

Papazian’s  journalism career spans over 35 years as a reporter and editor, plus teaching at the college level in Connecticut .  Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including The New York Times. In recent years, she has focused on memoir writing and offers workshops in the genre.  She is also author of Remembering Fairfield: Famous People & Historic Places; Gioacchino: Memoir of an Italian Immigrant, and Fairfield, Connecticut: 350 Years.

I Never Promised You a Cookbook is available at www.amazon.com  and at www.barnesandnoble.com for $14.95.

Remembering Fairfield Connecticut
Famous People & Historic Places

Sprinkled with flowering dogwoods and elegant estates, Fairfield has long symbolized Connecticut's elite Gold Coast. But there is more to this leafy suburban enclave that stately homes and inviting forests. Founded in 1639 by Roger Ludlow, Fairfield's New England roots run deep. British soldiers torched the village in 1779, and for a time the community teetered on the brink of extinction. But the settlers rebuilt with a vengeance, helping to establish a new foundation for what has become a truly dynamic town. From its founding to the present day, Fairfield  has enjoyed a rich and diverse history. Let author Rita Papazian guide you through it all in Remembering Fairfield.I

Praise for "Remembering Fairfield"

“…You did a fine job! How appropriate that you would write about their [Robert Penn Warren and Eleanor Clark] sense of place for I think both of them valued that. Fairfield was important to them and they would hate it that the homeplace they worked so hard to make special is now gone. ‘Tain’t fair!’” 

Connie Mills
Kentucky Library Coordinator
Department of Library Special Collections
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, Kentucky

In the News

English professor turns historian for new book

Middletown Press – October 25, 2007

KILLINGWORTH - Rita Papazian has called this small rural community her home for the past two years, but her roots run deep in the state's "Gold Coast" town of Fairfield.

The Middlesex Community College adjunct professor and writer lived in the lavish town for 20 years and has written about the town for nearly twice that. 

"As it is often said, 'write what you know,' and Fairfield is certainly what I know since I've been reporting on the town on and off for over 35 years," Papazian said. 
The journalist and freshman English professor spent about five months writing "Remembering Fairfield: Famous People, Historic Places," which was published recently by The History Press ($19.99). The 128-page soft-cover book is about Fairfield, covering all aspects of the historical town settled in 1639 and burned by the British in 1779. The opportunity to write about the town rich with dogwoods and estates presented itself. "The History Press sent an e-mail to the Fairfield Citizen-News, a biweekly (newspaper) looking for local writers who may be interested in writing a book about local history," said Papazian, who jumped at the opportunity. "Some of the writings in the book come from past articles, but more than the majority of the text is new writing." 

"I like American history. I like to read about it and see different places," she said. "History is very much a part of the town. It's well preserved. Fairfield has three historic districts." 

When Papazian started reporting when she was in her 30s, she began covering this Historic District Commission and the Fairfield Public Library. She also lived in the beach area of Fairfield, which is one of the older parts of town where the British landed. "The environment is there," she said. There are a lot of historical houses in the area, the town government is housed in the older area, and there are four burying grounds, Papazian added. 

While covering the town she wrote a series on the various Fairfield neighborhoods focusing on their past, present and future. A chapter within her book includes previous work on that particular aspect of the town. Papazian said the process of writing "underscores the book's theme that we are molded by our surroundings and that we should be ever mindful of our surroundings: its history, its people and above all, its environment." 

"The environment wraps around you and protects you," she said. "Being part of the environment as a writer, it lets you work with your talents and allows you to tap into your creativity." 

"Personally, I learned that I truly love to write; I find a calmness when writing, a clarity about who I am and what I need to do. It gives me purpose," Papazian added. 

Stepping aside from her freelance writing as a reporter, Papazian said she loved the change and experience to write something longer. "The longer pieces are exciting to do." 

Her Fairfield book wasn't her only venture into being an author of the bounded word. 

Papazian wrote a memoir, "Gioacchino: Memoir of an Italian Immigrant," for a public relations client she had. The book was about Jack DiScala, an Italian immigrant who came to Norwalk in his youth and built a Norwalk-based business, the M.F. DiScala Company. 

With "Remembering Fairfield: Famous People, Historic Places" having come out just a few months ago, Papazian said she is pleased with how the book turned out.  

"I like it as a writer because it has challenged me," she said. Among her favorite parts of the book is the chapter entitled "People of Note." 

The chapter includes famous people from the past and present from Fairfield such as poet Robert Penn Warren and his wife Eleanor Clark, who lived in town during the later part of their lives, and more recently, musician John Mayer. 
"I love to write features about people," Papazian said.  

Another part of the book she highlights was an exciting day for the town as well as for her - Oct. 16, 1984 - when President Ronald Reagan came to town. "It was a very exciting time for the town," she recalled. "The town just stopped." 

It was also a memorable time for Papazian being there as a reporter covering the event. At the time she was the editor for The Norwalk News. Her then 14-year-old daughter was there and her son was in the high school band that was playing for the President. 

"It was a very exciting event; just memorable," Papazian said. "At that time, it was exciting to be part of the national scene." 

Papazian's book can be purchased through The History Press at www.historypress.net and www.amazon.com, and it may be available in the future at area bookstores.  

Understanding the Sense of Place
By Geary Danihy
Fairfield Citizen-News – aug. 31, 2007

"Rita Papazian hasn't lived in Fairfield for several years, 
but the town still holds a special place in her heart."

Click here for the rest of the article.

Reporter, author lives with history
Connecticut Post - Sept. 2, 2007 

" Rita Papazian was steeped in the town's history after she and her husband 
bought a house in the beach area in the early 1970s.

Papazian was a reporter for the Fairfield Citizen-News, covering 
the town's Historic District Commission and Fairfield Public Library, 
and the town's history was in her backyard.

Papazian lived in the neighborhood where Fairfield was settled in 1639, 
and British troops had marched up Beach Road on July 7, 1779, 
to burn Fairfield to the ground."

Click here for the entire article.

Rita at Penfield Pavilion at 
Fairfield beach

Hobart House
Saved from the British burning

Burr Homestead

Beech Near Burr Homestead


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