Boston Globe: Interview with Michele Topor

Interview by John Koch, Globe Staff

MOVING TO THE NORTH END made Michele Topor, 52, what she is: a devotee of Italian culture and food, a cooking teacher, and a guide who leads culinary tours in her historic neighborhood.

Do you have to be Italian to do what you do?

I’m 100 percent Polish, but I grew up eating wonderful, fresh, good food. My dad was a butcher, and my mom is a wonderful chef — Polish, though. This was in Three Rivers, a Polish, French Canadian, and very Catholicvillage [in Palmer]. When I moved into this neighborhood, in ’71, I had never even eaten spaghetti. Tomatoes were for salad or stewing as a side dish. I’m sure I drove people crazy asking what is this, how do I cook it, how do you eat it? (more…)

Beth Applebaum

Beth Applebaum loves to teach-anyone, anywhere, anytime. For the past twenty five years, she has taught Special Education and has been an outspoken advocate for children with special needs. A private tutor for the past seven years, Beth is currently teaching dyslexic children to read.

One can trace her love of teaching back to a year spent in Torino, Italy in the mid-70’s. During that time she worked at a private school teaching Conversational English to Italians, and learning the Italian language from her students in return. Her love of teaching, combined with a passion for cooking make Beth a perfect guide for our North End Market Tours. (more…)