Sanchez, Maria Bruscino 1964-
SANCHEZ, Maria Bruscino 1964-
PERSONAL: Born February 20, 1964, in Waterbury, CT; daughter of Carmen (a barber) and Corinda (a bookkeeper; maiden name, Fiorucci) Bruscino; married Edgar Sanchez, Jr., November 4, 1988. Education: Post College, degree in marketing.
ADDRESSES: Home—14 Randolph Ave., Waterbury, CT 06710. Offıce—Sweet Maria's, Inc., 159 Manor Ave., Waterbury, CT 06705. Agent—Carla Glasser, Betsy Nolan Literary Agency, 224 West 29th St., New York, NY 10001. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Sweet Maria's, Inc., Waterbury, CT, owner and baker, 1990—.
MEMBER: International Association of Culinary Professionals, Connecticut Icing Artists.
AWARDS, HONORS: Awards from Connecticut Chefs Association, Connecticut Icing Artists, and Connecticut Bakers Association.
Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1997.
Sweet Maria's Cake Kitchen: Casual and Creative Recipes for Layer, Loaf, and Bundt Cakes, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 1998.
Sweet Maria's Italian Desserts: Classic and Casual Recipes for Cookies, Cakes, Pastry, and Other Favorites, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 2000.
Sweet Maria's Cookie Jar: 100 Favorite, Essential Recipes for Cookie Lovers of All Stripes, St. Martin's (New York, NY), 2002.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Continuing research on dessert recipes.
SIDELIGHTS: Maria Bruscino Sanchez is the owner of Sweet Maria's, a bakery in Waterbury, Connecticut, whose motto is "more than just another pretty cake." Sweet Maria's has been in business since 1990, and now employs nine full-time workers, including several family members, to create the cakes and cookies for which it is known. In addition to her role as a business owner, Sanchez has also published several cookbooks featuring the traditional recipes of her Italian-American heritage. According to an article posted at the Sweet Maria's Web site, Sanchez "can usually be found at the bakery, apron covered in chocolate, digging into the daily orders, meeting with new brides about their cakes, or signing a cookbook or two. She continues to be inspired to create new tastes and designs."
In her cookbooks, Sanchez shares many of the recipes which she regularly uses at her own bakery. Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray and Sweet Maria's Cookie Jar include recipes for biscotto, frizelle, and pizelles suitable for the home baker. "Sanchez's precise directions ensure consistent results in the home kitchen," according to Mark Knoblauch in Booklist. Sweet Maria's Cake Kitchen: Casual and Creative Recipesfor Layer, Loaf, and Bundt Cakes presents sixty-five recipes for cakes. Beginning with basic instructions for baking pound, sponge, and layer cakes, Sanchez then goes on to explain how these simple foundations can be used in more complicated recipes. Sanchez "is smart enough to teach the basics, then build on those fundamentals," as Barbara Jacobs explained in Booklist.
Sanchez once told CA: "I began collecting family recipes and writing down family stories to preserve traditions for myself and future generations. So many of the recipes in my first cookbook Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray were the types of recipes that my grandmother used: a handful of this and a handful of that. By measuring her handfuls, I've preserved traditional recipes that are otherwise lost. The family stories just seemed to complement the recipes that are so much a part of growing up American-Italian in a tight-knit community. I write primarily to preserve and share great recipes.
"I am influenced by my family of great cooks. I am also influenced and challenged by my bakery customers, who always have unique requests. Local produce and fresh ingredients also influence my recipe development. Any food writers who lack pretension and provide great recipes with clear and interesting directions are also inspiring.
"I always begin writing with an outline that will evolve as I write. I usually accumulate recipes or ideas for recipes. I then begin testing to see what works and what doesn't. The writing evolves from the recipes. Serving suggestions, family or bakery anecdotes, tips on production and other topics begin to take shape.
"My need to share great recipes inspired me to begin to write. So many people never stop to record family recipes or stories. Food is one thing that truly connects the generations. Hopefully I'll inspire others to record their own family traditions."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 1997, Mark Knoblauch, review of Sweet Maria's Italian Cookie Tray, p. 1865; September 15, 1998, Barbara Jacobs, review of Sweet Maria's Cake Kitchen: Casual and Creative Recipes for Layer, Loaf, and Bundt Cakes, p. 182; September 15, 2000, Mark Knoblauch, review of Sweet Maria's Italian Desserts: Classic and Casual Recipes for Cookies, Cakes, Pastry and Other Favorites, p. 198.
Library Journal, August, 2000, Judith Sutton, review of Sweet Maria's Italian Desserts, p. 147; November 15, 2002, Judith Sutton, review of Sweet Maria's Cookie Jar: 100 Favorite, Essential Recipes for Cookie Lovers of All Stripes, p. 95.
Sweet Maria's Web site, http://www.sweet-marias.com/about.htm/ (April 14, 2003).*