Bridge

power-double-sketch

In the end it all came down to two points.

My freshman year of high school the wrestling team had no one to put in the 95-pound weight class. That meant at every meet the team would forfeit that match, giving the opposition five points for free, and an automatic advantage in the final score.

The coach at the time was a guy named Jack Curl. He was a big guy with short blond hair and an easy smile. In the fall he coached football. That’s where his heart was. He also taught gym, although “taught” somehow seems like the wrong word. “Moderated” or “presided over” or “benignly neglected” might be more accurate. I recall him walking around the gym holding a clipboard, blowing on a referee whistle he wore around his neck, yelling at kids. Winter semesters he coached wrestling, which as the phys ed guy he probably had to do. I don’t think he knew much about the sport. He referred to it as “wrastling.” Continue reading

Brown Rice, Chopped Tomato, Arugula

mich toms

When gluttony meets restraint…

There’s always brown rice.

We are on the threshold of tomato time in Michigan. It’s hard to be patient. At the local farmers market they will have both red and gold cherry tomatoes (what the Italians call pendolini) and Early Girls and Big Boys bursting with flavor. You take the Girls and Boys, slice and anoint them with olive oil. Continue reading

A Sweet and Tangy Spaghetti Dish

5

How to make a fast sauce that’s always great

A number of years ago I taught a cooking class I called “ten sauces, ten pastas, ten wines.” The animating idea was to become a good match-maker. Some sauces need a particular form of pasta. Meat sauces, for example, instead of spaghetti or linguini or taglionlini, are best paired with wheels or fusilli or a wide noodle like fettuccine or tagliatelle. Tengano il sugo, they say in Italian. The pasta holds the sauce. And wine? I didn’t know much about wine then, and still don’t. The class was an excuse to try ten different wines from all over Italy. Continue reading

Coffee Me

Photo Mar 29, 9 36 48 AM

Where to find good espresso in Italy

Everywhere, of course.

But what is it about train stations in Italy and coffee? Train station bars have the best coffee ever. You order at the cashier, present your receipt at the bar, and get served coffee that, well, just makes you want to travel by train, every day, if possible, or live close enough to the train station that you can get your morning, mid-morning, after-lunch, mid-afternoon, and after-dinner coffee there. Train station bar ambiance is not so great. But the coffee? A life-giving elixir. Continue reading

Two Restaurants in Romagna

1

“This is not hunger,” my wife says.

We are bent over two dishes of pasta that are, well, a religious experience. She ordered the ravioli burro e salvia; I have cappelletti with ragu. We’ve come for lunch, and we go away not satisfied so much as transported. Continue reading