Food Writer Fridays – Spotlight on Katherine Martinelli

by Maureen on February 24, 2012

Katherine Martinelli of

Have you met Katherine Martinelli of the blog of the same name?  Chances are that you have as she is an internationally published food and travel writer and a darned fine cook.

Katherine started life in New York and by the time she was in high school she envisioned herself working for the UN or an NGO.  To that end she went to university and got a masters in international education development.  That degree led her to a stint teaching high school in Harlem and the South Bronx (both pretty tough gigs I would suspect).

After a few years of teaching social studies she became disillusioned with the school system and began to do some soul searching regarding her career.

KatherineMartinelli.comTo ease the stress she was under she began for fun and found that working on it, whether she was doing the cooking, photography or blogging, this was the happiest part of her day.  (Every food writer understands this, I’m sure.)  She’d always loved food and cooking but until that point had never considered making food media her life’s work.

She read Dianne Jacob’s Will Write for Food and was inspired but realized that she was a career changer with no relevant experience.  She applied for every unpaid internship she could find and landed an editorial internship at a magazine geared towards culinary professionals.  She had to work nights as a coat check girl as well as hostess at a NY restaurant to pay the bills but says she was incredibly happy professionally.

Ramle, IsraelHer internship turned into a full time job and she began traveling the country with the editor-in-chief of the magazine, scouting up-and-coming culinary and beverage talent.  She used that time wisely and honed her photography and writing skills about her experiences on the road. What a dream job for a food writer.

At some point (apparently I didn’t ask the right questions!) Katherine fell in love and got married and everything was going according to plan until her husband, also a career changer, (definitely a trend in this family) got accepted into medical school in Israel.  These two young people tossed everything aside and headed half a world away for him to attend medical school. That’s when Katherine started her freelance career and perfected her blog.

When asked where she learned how to cook, she told me she learned it from her father.  How cool is that?  Most of us, me included, would say we watched our mother cook the family meal but in Katherine’s house, her dad cooked dinner every night.  She couldn’t wait to get into her own kitchen and pursue her love of cooking and practice what her dad taught her.

I asked Katherine a few questions and there were a few surprises but only a few because what you see with Katherine is what you get.  No pretense.

When asked what food she really loves but only learned to eat as an adult, she said that as a kid she was a really picky eater and didn’t eat any fish and not much cheese.  Now she’s a seafood and cheese fiend.  Working at the culinary magazine opened her mind and her palate.  She will tell you with confidence that she has eaten and enjoyed nearly (note the nearly) every part of the pig from trotters to ears.  Now of course we want to know what part of the pig the “nearly every part” didn’t cover.

If you’ve been following my blog for any time at all, you know how important food memories are to me.  I think they are crucial to what makes us who we are.  Imagine if we couldn’t relate a smell to a wonderful memory?  I asked Katherine about her food memories and I love her reply. (Of course I love it; she agrees with me.)

The Art of Italian CookingThis is one of my favorite topics! I am very sensitive to smells and find that it’s one of the strongest triggers for memories. The smell of garlic sautéing in oil always brings me back to my father’s kitchen. Rosemary potatoes and roasting chicken without fail transports me to my great aunt Rose’s house. Curry leaves whisk me back to India, where I studied abroad in college.

My father cooked mostly Italian food growing up, so that is without a doubt what I would consider my ultimate comfort food. In particular, there is a cookbook that is very special in my family. It’s called The Art of Italian Cooking by Maria lo Pinto from 1950. It was my grandmother’s favorite cookbook, which she passed down to my father. He always cooked from the battered copy and said that he liked to read it like a novel. My aunt found a copy and gave it to me on my wedding day, and I think now almost everyone in my family has one. The recipe below for spaghetti and meatballs is from it and is a favorite of mine.

Finally, since she’s had her work published on three continents I felt that she was in a good position to tell us how she sees food writing on the Internet evolving.

With the explosion of food media in every direction, food writing is everywhere. In many ways this is an incredible thing. It democratizes food writing by taking some of the power away from the top food critics who used to rule and putting it in the hands of everyday people. I also think it’s raising the bar of what people eat in their homes, and raises awareness about things like healthy eating and vegetarian and gluten free diets. On the other hand, people are so desperate to get content up that a lot of it is sloppy. I can’t tell you how many blogs I read that are riddled with poor grammar, misspellings, and plain bad writing. My favorite blogs are those that not only have wonderful recipes and photos, but also contain good writing. I try to be mindful of this in my own posts as well.

Polpette (Italian Meatballs)

Polpette - Italian Meatballs

5.0 from 7 reviews
Polpette - Italian Meatballs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Spoon some tomato sauce over these meatballs and serve with spaghetti to put a smile on everyone's face.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6
  • 3 slices stale bread
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 to 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • Salt and pepper
  • Flour
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Soak bread in water 5 minutes; squeeze dry.
  2. Mix thoroughly with meat, grated Romano cheese, garlic, and parsley.
  3. Add the eggs a little at a time until the texture is right (very moist, but not too wet).
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Shape into balls about the size of a small egg; roll in flour.
  6. Fry in hot oil 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Serve very hot with vegetables and salad. May also be served with spaghetti and plain tomato sauce.


If you haven’t checked out some of Katherine’s recipes, how does red beet and barley risotto sound?  It’s one of my favorite recipes from her blog at No, wait.  Chocolate peanut butter cookies, that’s my favorite since I’ve been craving American food all week. ORrrrr, it could also be Mediterranean pasta with pine nuts and feta.  See what I mean?  Really good food cooked by a really lovely woman.

I urge you to visit her blog, enjoy her photography and her recipes and if you’re on twitter and not following @MartinelliEats consider doing just that.  You’ll find her friendly, helpful and a lot of fun.


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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

lisaiscooking February 24, 2012 at 12:58 am

What a great change of careers! I have to agree, Italian food is my ultimate comfort food too. I love the smell of garlic cooking.


Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb February 24, 2012 at 1:15 am

Hi Maureen!

Interessting personality, Katherine I am pleased to meet u.

sometimes in life u have to just sit down and think for a second what u r dream job is, then take action as Katherine did. They didnt pay u for your work at the beginning, but u surely made the right choice at the end!


leaf (the indolent cook) February 24, 2012 at 1:32 am

Great spotlight! I’m still searching my soul and seeking a career that will fulfill me – this is a very inspiring story of triumph. Loving the recipe at the end, too.
leaf (the indolent cook) recently posted..peking duck dreaming: dadong, beijing


Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook February 24, 2012 at 3:10 am

Great post! Very inspiring. Great career change, very exciting. The NYC school system is an, um, interesting thing to deal with! Glad she was able to do something she loves. The meatballs look so good. Off to check out Katherine’s blog.
Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook recently posted..Korean Steak Taco’s


betsyb February 24, 2012 at 7:19 am

What a wonderful interview and inspiring, too. Love the look of these meatballs and am so happy to see your blog…thanks for visiting mine so I could come and see all the good things here!


yummychunklet February 24, 2012 at 8:05 am

The polpette looks delicious!


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella February 24, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Great interview Maureen. It was great to learn more about Katherine! :)


Katherine Martinelli February 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Maureen thank you so much for featuring me on your wonderful blog! I’m really honored to be here. And thank you everyone for the sweet comments!


Parsley Sage February 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm

This is great. I’m over at Katherine’s site every Friday but I didn’t know most of this stuff :) Great getting to learn a bit more about one of my favorite bloggers!


Rhonda February 25, 2012 at 5:53 am

Great interview, and the recipe looks great!


Patty February 25, 2012 at 8:57 am

These look delicious!!! And it’s such a fun word to say , Polpette! I love finding recipes for stale bread, we never get through the whole loaf. This is a great find!


Sanjeeta KK February 25, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Thanks for introducing with Katherine! Need to check out her blog. Like her passion for food blogging and changing career for the same.
Sanjeeta KK recently posted..Baking | Flax Seeds Whole Wheat Crackers – A Healthy Baked Bonanza


Joanne February 25, 2012 at 10:21 pm

It was so fun meeting Katherine! I love the story of how she found her way to food writing…and I love this recipe!
Joanne recently posted..Recipe: Chai-Spiced Cupcakes with Honey Frosting for the Joy the Baker Spotlight!


Linda February 26, 2012 at 9:44 am

I love hearing about career changes, very inspirational. And now I found someone new to check out!!


The Café Sucré Farine February 26, 2012 at 11:01 am

What a fun, interesting post! I’ve visited Katherine’s blog but didn’t know much about her, thanks for a great interview! The meatballs look fantastic!


Kiran @ February 26, 2012 at 11:47 am

What a great feature!! So glad to know more about Katherine. Love her, blog, and drool-worthy recipes :)


Lisa February 26, 2012 at 8:25 pm

I’m loving the series of blogger spotlight interviews, Maureen. Love Katherine’s blog and take part in her bloghop often. OH, BTW, also loving the colcannon croquettes below. Definitely making them for St. Pat’s Day – in lieu of my usual ‘Kiss me, I’m NOT Irish’ shtick.
Lisa recently posted..Black Forest Chocolate Chunk Cherry Bread for BBD #47 and Bad Boy First Love Part Five


Yudith @ Blissfully Delicious February 27, 2012 at 11:01 am

What a great feature, and yes, I have been to her blog – it is beautiful! Love the meatballs (who doesn’t love meatballs). Thanks for sharing Maureen, I hope you have a great week.


Tina@flourtrader February 27, 2012 at 11:04 pm

This was a great read, getting to know Katherine better. She has had a wonderful and very rich journey. I did not know all this about her, but I knew there was some great talent reflected in her writing as well as her recipes. This recipe here looks like another delicious creation-yum! Thanks Maureen for featuring Katherine.


Sofie Dittmann @thegermanfoodie February 28, 2012 at 12:05 am

I just met Katherine, she sounds like a fabulous and accomplished woman/foodie/writer! Great piece!
Sofie Dittmann @thegermanfoodie recently posted..OSCAR WEEK – “Calendar Girls” & English (Pub) Grub Finger Food


Purabi Naha February 28, 2012 at 12:11 am

Katherine is such a talented chef! I loved reading about her interests and the recipe is amazing!


kitchenriffs February 28, 2012 at 2:49 am

Great interview! Katherine’s blog is one of my must-reads. She’s unusual in that her photos and writing are equally good. Thanks for this.


Nami | Just One Cookbook February 28, 2012 at 8:15 am

I’ve been following her site for quite sometime now and her recipes as well as travel reports and other writings always entertain me. She’s one of the great writers among all the food bloggers I know. Thank you for featuring her! :-)


Kitchen Belleicious February 28, 2012 at 10:34 pm

what a wonderful wonderful spotlight. She is so talented and I love those meatballs! Delish


skip to malou February 29, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Great to meet Katherine through you. It’s such a great read. This post makes me want to “know” her more.
just had meatballs tonight for dinner… and would like to have it again tomorrow after seeing this post.
skip to malou recently posted..Ready Chef Go!


Roberta February 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Meatballs are making my mouth water. Look so delicious.


Reem | Simply Reem February 29, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Great post Maureen,
It is so nice to meet you Katherine…
B/W those meatballs look killer good….


Elizabeth @Mango_Queen March 1, 2012 at 9:40 am

Nice feature story on Katherine and I love the Italian meatballs recipe! I’ve been searching for a good, simple recipe for a while. Glad to find it here. Thanks for sharing! And thanks for all the wonderful blog-love, too!


SallyBR March 3, 2012 at 10:32 am

Great interview! You know, I found her blog not too long ago (yeah, I live in a cave) and fell in love with it right away, subscribed, now I won’t ever miss her new posts

She’s got a great smile, the type of smile that always comes with a nice person attached to it…


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