Author Archives: Rick Bailey

About Rick Bailey

Rick Bailey grew up in Freeland, Michigan, on the banks of the Tittabawassee River. He taught writing for 38 years at Henry Ford College. A Midwesterner long married to an Italian immigrant, he has learned the language and food of Italy, traveled around the country, and, in the process, he has been (partly) made over–italianizato. In retirement Rick and his wife divide their time between Michigan and the Republic of San Marino.

The Cheese of Forgiveness


don oreste benzi

Asked how I feel today, I’ll say, “Fresh as a fish.”

It’s a figure of speech I heard on the TV yesterday. The program examined the quality and safety of fish from the Adriatic. We were at an inland restaurant eating brassato, a braised beef dish our friend Lidia makes. At noon, for the workers who come for lunch, Lidia turns on TV news. The focus was on fish. This was long-form journalism. Three journalists in a studio were importantly holding forth, along with reporters and scientists in the field hoisting octopi aloft by their tentacles, displaying crates of sole, mussels, and clams; a full half-hour expose on fish. Given my limited fish vocabulary, I couldn’t follow much of what they were saying. I recognized a few fish names; every so often I heard inquinamenti, the Italian word for pollutants. Continue reading

And Then Not Do Nothing


I Googled “shooter” and found the Cambridge Dictionary describes the term as “mainly US.”

It wasn’t the sort of thing you wanted to see. The cabin doors closed. The aircraft pushed back, engines started. I figured it would take 70 minutes or so to fly from Virginia Beach to Detroit. Then, ten or twenty feet out, we rolled to a stop, the nose of the plane still pointed at the gate. The engines powered down. We sat for five minutes or so, in silence, until finally the pilot came on the intercom, apologized, and reported that a small repair would be necessary. It was a little thing, he said, but he was required to have maintenance take a look. Continue reading

Have I Got a Ragu for You


The sauce was red, runny, and pungent, with bits of tomato-esque matter and oregano floating in it.

I was reading the other day in The Daily Beast about Mario Batali’s friendship with Jim Harrison and their “search for the genuine.” Harrison’s final book, A Really Big Lunch, a posthumous collection of his madman essays on food and drink, was about to be published. My mind turned to a favorite subject and my search for the genuine.

Ragu. Continue reading


bug on the subway

Whatever we’re up to, it probably won’t work.

“Wouldn’t you know it,” my wife says.

We pull up to a red light a mile from our house.  It’s 7:00 a.m. Stopped in front of us is a pest control truck. On the back of it, facing us, is the company name, telephone number, and an all-star list of domestic pests that, if you don’t watch it, can get out of control. Wasps, ants, termites, bats, raccoons, ground hogs, mice; each pictured with a larger-than-life-size photo for the reading impaired or animal challenged, or both, on the back of the truck. Continue reading