My name is Lisa Orwig, and I’m a homegrown cook. I learned the ways of the kitchen from my Slovenian grandmother who spent the summers with my family. Gram never owned a measuring cup, nor a mincer — and definitely not a food processor. She taught me to cook by cupped handfuls, pinches, and splashes. She didn’t read or write English very well since it was her second language, so recipes were passed on at the kitchen counter. Thankfully, during my early twenties, I wrote down many of her specialties.
I’m a native Pennsylvanian who has lived in Dallas for the past 16 years. I write about food, life, and travel. When I’m stuck in my writing, I head to the kitchen for inspiration. Creating homemade feasts and celebrations for my family and friends is my way of creating community and traditions. I’m happiest when there is a group gathered in my kitchen eating appetizers, drinking wine, and waiting for me to get our meal on the table — ask them, and they’ll tell you, sometimes it’s hours, but that’s the fun of it. Everyone gets louder and hungrier as the minutes mount.
I’m very grateful and lucky to live between three unique and wonderful food cultures — Dallas, New Orleans, and Taos. My partner, our three dogs and five cats reap the rewards of my successes and failures. No matter how it turns out, cooking is an expression of my love and a way to gather in my people. I love a day in the kitchen and a crowd at my table. Let’s eat!
About gnocchi no. 9
Don’t let the word gnocchi fool you — this site is not just about Italian food. Gnocchi no. 9 is about cooking, eating, and exploring food around the world. The recipes here have been gathered throughout my life, beginning in my childhood when I stood by my Gram’s side watching her make magic with flour, eggs, cabbage, and potatoes.
Many of the recipes at gnocchi no. 9 come from my imagination –and whatever is in my cupboard at the time. Some have been passed on from friends, and I’ve also included some favorite recipes from old cookbooks, magazines, and clippings I’ve been collecting for over 25 years. Since I’m a pescatarian, you won’t see recipes with meat here.
In addition to the cooking that I love, this site is about some of my favorite places to eat and my adventures exploring food wherever my travels take me. Grab a good glass of wine and enjoy!
Why gnocchi no. 9?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be Italian, just like so many of the people and things that surrounded me in the rural Pennsylvania town where I grew up. The paper place mats at my favorite restaurants were decorated with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Colosseum, and the Vatican. My best friend was Italian and her huge family of 20-something gathered every Thursday night for spaghetti; I was usually among them helping myself to the heaping mounds of pasta.
I was adopted, and my parents who raised me were of German and Slovenian descent, which meant they were shorter, paler, and stockier than me. I was tall, dark-haired, and skinny — “Like a string bean,” my mother always said. Something about those Italians, and especially their foods, called me to their tribe. In my late twenties, I discovered my instincts were right: I found my birth family and discovered that I’m almost 100% Italian.
Italy is one of my favorite destinations, pizza is my favorite food on earth, and as for gnocchi, I like the way it sounds with number nine — there’s magic in it!
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