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Houston Matters

From Scratch: Tembi Locke Finds Healing In The Warmth Of An Italian Kitchen

The Houston native discusses her memoir of losing her husband and finding healing in the warmth of his mother’s Sicilian kitchen.


Tembi Locke - From Scratch
Jenny Walters
Houston native Tembi Locke has written a new memoir, From Scratch, about falling in love with her husband, Saro, and then losing him to cancer.


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When Houston native Tembi Locke bumped into Saro on a street in Florence, Italy, it was love at first sight.

In that moment, she couldn’t have known that man would become her life — and that she’d eventually lose him to a rare form of cancer.

Saro was a professional Italian chef, and cooking and eating his native Sicilian food was a passion the two shared over the years.

So, after his death, Locke returned to Sicily with the couple’s adopted daughter so that she could become closer with Saro’s family, who’d initially disliked Locke because she was a black American.

Tembi Locke and her late husband, Saro, on the eve of their wedding.

But, in the warmth of her mother-in-law’s kitchen, Locke discovered both the nourishment of simple, fresh food and the solace of a close-knit community.

Her memoir about that experience, From Scratch, explores starting over, forgiveness, multicultural identify, and culinary discovery. And it includes 16 recipes from the couple’s culinary adventures.

Tembi Locke and her late husband, Saro, on their wedding day.

In the audio above, Locke discusses the book with Houston Matters. She’ll hold a book signing tonight at Brazos Bookstore.

Locke is an actress with credits on shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, The Magicians, and NCIS: LA. She’s also known for her TEDx talk What Forty Steps Taught Me About Love and Grief.

Her sister, Attica Locke, is the author of several novels and is a writer for the TV series Empire.

Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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