Category Archives: Life in Italy

A Reading at Hannan House

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Happy to be reading at Hannan House, 4750 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, Michigan on September 16, 2018, 2-4 p.m.  Music, open mic first. Then the reading.

They say, “He’s funny, warm, and peevish.” Yup, that’s me.

 

The Kids Are All Right

These are people who know and care about local food.

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For years I would ask my Arabic students, Where do you eat? In what restaurants do you find the best, most authentic Arabic food? The response was predictable: a bewildered smile. Then, also predictable, the answer: At home. Whatever they ate in a restaurant was, by default, going to be second best. Eating around in Dearborn, I tended to look toward the kitchen, hoping to see an old lady or two. If there was a grandma back there, that was a good sign.

In the last couple days, we’ve eaten in establishments with kids in charge. Kids? Okay, people younger than us, a lot younger, fully in command of local food tradition.   Continue reading

Once More to the Table

Food so beautiful you can’t believe your eyes, food so good you can’t believe your tastebuds.

If you grow up and come of age at the dinner table in Michigan, the way I did, it can be hard to fathom the variety of foods in Italy.

For 40 some years now I’ve been plumbing those depths, coming up for air with a smile on my face, then diving deeper.  In these next few blog posts, I’m going to try to warm up to this subject; in words and pictures, sharing some of the food fun we have when we come to Italy.   Continue reading

Dalla Maria, Best Overall

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I’ll have the tagliatelle with beans, please.

If you’ve made it to Pesaro, you are in the land of good eating. In the old town you will eat well at Zongo, Pasqualon, La Guercia, and Il Moletto. Venture out of town, to Il Sentiero, for example, or to Gennaro, and you will experience both extraordinary natural beauty and culinary excellence. Continue reading

Bean, Fagiolino, Haricot Vert

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Why do green beans in Italy taste so good?

I’ve been feeling lonesome for green beans since we got home from Italy.

Early Tuesday mornings over there, in the piazza just up the street from our building, Marco Stanchini sets up his fruit and vegetable stand. He’s open for business until noon. By the time I get there around 8:00 a.m., the old ladies, some with husbands in tow, are busy bagging their produce. Continue reading

Urbino, Storybook City

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How to enjoy a beautiful day in Urbino

In Italian, the sin of gluttony is gola. Golosita’.

In Italy, it’s so easy to be goloso.

I’m thinking about gluttony the day my wife and I drive to Urbino. From Pesaro it’s a 40 kilometer drive I do not love, on a two-lane road through village after village, past Montelabbate and Colbordolo, past Gallo and Morcia. Every few kilometers you have to brake for a roundabout. You get stuck behind trucks and vans, behind decrepit Fiats driven by old men. Then around Trasanni, 5-10 kilometers from Urbino, the road straightens out, and the hills rise gloriously, so glorious you almost think you might slow down, pull over, and take in the view.

We don’t. We are on a mission. Continue reading

Halloween in Italy

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Where the month of dead means pumpkins, cemeteries, and baked goods

My wife is talking about Druids.

We’re in a kitchen store in Rimini, a place where we buy stuff for our apartment–pans, drinking glasses, cutting board, a new espresso pot. The lady there also keeps us supplied in stainless steel coasters, an accessory my wife delights in buying. (I don’t like them. With the least bit of condensation, they stick to the bottom of a glass, then detach and cymbal crash on the tabletop when you take a drink.) Our cupboard back in the US is full of them. Today the store is having a sale on nonstick pans, 10 euro. We’re tempted. Continue reading

The Sway of Earth

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A recap of this weekend in Italy: earthquakes and seafood

We have clams for lunch.

For dinner, earthquakes.

First, a food report from a restaurant on the Adriatic. The photos below were taken at a fish place called La Marianna that my wife LOVES. It’s in Rimini, next to the Roman-era bridge of Tiberius, completed around 21 AD. We drive over it every time we go to this part of Rimini. How’s that for engineering? Continue reading

Italy 2016: Four nights in Florence, three nights in Venice

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Small group makes a big difference: A walk around Italy with Rick Bailey

You come home struck by the warmth and generosity of people. Maybe it’s standing in front of astonishing sights like the Duomo in Florence or sharing the mind-blowing food at Fagioli or walking together in the rain knowing your feet will be soaked when you get back to the hotel, and not really caring.  Or the hand held out to steady you when you step into a gondola. A bond is formed. You join hands and hearts for a few minutes, a few days. Continue reading