William Styron

Salving psychological wounds with talk and food

Salving psychological wounds with talk and food

In 1992, Paula Butturini and her husband, John Tagliabue, moved back to Rome, where they'd met, gotten engaged and were married in the '80s.

Each morning she would walk from their apartment near the Tiber River to Campo dei Fiori, where everyone from the fishmongers to "the roving garlic salesmen from Bangladesh" beat her to their stands, no matter how early she got there.

In 1995, she pitched a high-powered New York publisher a cookbook centered on the riches of Campo dei Fiori. The publisher told Butturini, "No, write a memoir, and write it in a hurry. We don't know how long this whole memoir thing will last. Don't write a cookbook. This is a much bigger...