Justin Nystrom

If you're a Louisiana native with a distinctly Italian last name, you've got lots of company here. Since the late nineteenth century, more families of Sicilian descent have called Louisiana home than anywhere else in the world except Sicily. This is a topic that has fascinated Loyola history professor, Justin Nystrom – enough to compel him to record their history and influence here in his 2018 book, Creole Italian: Sicilian Immigrants and the Shaping of New Orleans Food Culture.

On this week's show, we'll explore the immense influence that Italian foodways had on the development of New Orleans cuisine. We'll time travel through the years of the family-operated Uptown gem, Pascal's Manale. This history, which is now immortalized in Poppy's new book, The Pascal's Manale Cookbook, focuses on two Sicilian immigrant families, the Manales and the Radostas, forebearers of today's Defelice clan, who continue the Manale tradition today. Three generations of family share their stories with us.

This week on The Reading Life:  Susan talks with Justin Nystrom, author of" Creole Italian: Sicilian Immigrants and the Shaping of New Orleans Food Culture.” Yummy! We’ll also hear from Patty Friedmann about her new short story collection, “Where Do They All Come From?”

Here’s what’s on tap in the literary life this week:

 Keith O’Brien discusses and signs “Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History,” Monday, September 17, at 6 p.m. at Octavia Books.