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ELKHART — It’s not just the food, it’s the table that matters.

Adriana Trigiani, author of 17 books and director of “Big Stone Gap,” the movie based on her first novel, said she’s spent a life mining how Italian-Americans come to the table together.

Though Italian-Americans agree on little, they come to the table as equals. “We’re all the same level at that table,” she said. How people treat each other and what it means to be family are part of being at that table, Trigiani said in a phone interview Thursday morning.

“The table is not only a metaphor for everything. If you’re going to sit there, you’d better bring your best to it,” she said.

Trigiani, a 1981 Saint Mary’s College graduate, will return to northern Indiana for an event on Monday that will feature food prepared by Italian-Americans as if it’s for a family gathering.

“An Evening With Adriana Trigiani” at Wellfield Botanic Gardens will help raise money for the Elkhart Education Foundation’s Living Libraries Project.

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