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.
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 2019 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.
In the audio above, Locke discusses the book with Houston Matters host Craig Cohen in a 2019 interview.
The story is the inspiration for From Scratch, a new limited series on Netflix she created with her sister, Attica Locke, who is the author of several novels and was a writer for the TV series Empire.