If I Were a Chicken Thigh

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This is how I would want to be cooked. Lay me down in olive oil and onion.

I woke up today thinking about olives. It was 4:00 a.m., my usual time to wake up thinking about something. This morning it was olives, and lunch. Confession: I often wake up thinking about lunch.

A fond reminiscence in our family is how food-oriented my father-in-law was; well, a better word is obsessed. He too often awoke with food on his mind and began planning the mid-day meal before his head even left the pillow.  He would turn to Rose, my mother-in-law, and  say to her, whispering quietly so as not to disturb her rest, “Ro, do you think we should defrost that chicken for lunch today?” It pissed her off. He too, I should add, was inclined to wake up early. She would harrumph, Sta Zitto, Gigi. Che piaga! Translating roughly to: What a pain in the ass you are.  He would roll out of bed and head for the kitchen. Continue reading “If I Were a Chicken Thigh”

Cheesey

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Certain things, you think: I shouldn’t eat that. We had people over for dinner a couple nights ago. During the cheese phase of the evening, we unwrapped a chunk of Tuma, a very mild #pecorino.  Much later, during the good-night and clean-up phase of the evening, the Tuma was left on the counter, exposed to the air. Continue reading “Cheesey”

Panforte: Best Served in Slab Form

While we’re in Italy, Tizi accumulates treasures. Mainly chocolate. Over time we’ve put providers on our maps, in Rome, Florence, Siena, Venice. When we’re hanging out in San Marino and Pesaro, which is usually the case, her go-to place is Cioccolatteria & Confetteria Talmone. Now we have a new place, in nearby Fano.  But…, but… Continue reading “Panforte: Best Served in Slab Form”

When the Artichokes Spoke

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I listened.

The first time I tasted artichoke, I was already in college. As far as I know it was not an item they stocked at Pat’s Food Center in Freeland, the one-stoplight farm town where I grew up.  If I had seen one at all, it was probably the likeness of an artichoke on someone’s apron. Continue reading “When the Artichokes Spoke”

At Delinda, Serious Joys

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Full disclosure.  These are our relatives.

My relatives by marriage, and how lucky I was, am, and will always be. (When Tizi’s cousin Pierpaolo shakes my hand and says, Come va, cugino? How goes it, cousin? I sort of pinch myself. How did this happen?) Continue reading “At Delinda, Serious Joys”

Da Gustin

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Today, on Thanksgiving Day, we went to Bargni.  

I wouldn’t blame you if you said, “You went where?” It’s not the kind of place, you go back to the States and say, Hey, when we were in Italy we went to Bargni.   

Remote location. A small town on a hill west of Serrungarina. Twice this month on the state highway we’ve driven past the exit for Serrungarina, on our way to Acqualagna, on our way to Fossombrone. This is hilly country between the Adriatic and Gubbio. Along this state road that goes south to Rome, Bargni does not merit a sign. And Bargni, truth be told, is barely a town. More like an abbreviated village. So, that’s where. And I’ll tell you why. Continue reading “Da Gustin”

Intermittent Feasting

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Fat rats. Research focused on them suggests there may be something to intermittent fasting. So says Monique Tello in Harvard Medical Publishing

Good, I think. Because this morning I feel like a fat rat.

My wife and I are in our fifth and final week in Italy.  Around this time in our stay, a kind of desperation sets in. Can we eat enough before we go home? Yesterday at lunch, after our first course–she had the ravioli, I had the pappardelle in boar ragu–we asked our server about the carbonara.   Continue reading “Intermittent Feasting”

Probably Not the Beef

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So you’re standing outside a restaurant in Italy. Its PR machine has been humming for months, no, make that years. The restaurant has been featured on Chef’s Table, in Food and Wine, who knows where else.  

You’re standing outside enjoying a glass of their Tuscan wine, actually a third or fourth glass. It’s a small glass, of a light swill, and it’s free! While you wait for the starting gun at 1:00 p.m. you enjoy crostini with lard, crostini with olive oil, slices of house salami, and all the free wine you can drink.  Continue reading “Probably Not the Beef”

Required Eating

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I remember a distinction professors made on their course reading lists: required reading vs suggested reading.  

Put Gennaro down as required eating.

That’s Da Genarro.

It’s on a hillside high above the Adriatic, on a two lane road called “la panoramica,” through a national park called San Bartolo. I wouldn’t say the restaurant is in a village. It’s not a village so much as a brief deviation. If you don’t deviate, you’ll miss it.  And trust me: you do not want to miss it.   Continue reading “Required Eating”

Into the Mix

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One of the delights in eating in Romagna (and I hazard to guess all over Italy) is the “misto.” 

The mix. 

Where I come from, eating fish you usually get one thing. Your appetizer is one thing–a tartar, half a dozen oysters, a bowl of mussels. And your main course is usually one thing–fillet of whitefish, fillets of perch, a chunk of salmon or tuna or swordfish, some crab legs or a lobster tail. Want to taste something besides what’s on your plate? Poach a bite from your wife’s when she’s not looking.   Continue reading “Into the Mix”