When I got home from the grocery store I looked at the sales slip and saw tartaruga. Which means turtle in Italian. It took me a minute. I didn’t remember buying a turtle for lunch. Then, of course, I saw and remembered: it was the bread. Continue reading →
A staple at the table around here is “erbe.” Google Translate says erbe means “herb” in English. Google Translate is entitled to its opinion. The word erbe covers a wide spectrum of green stuff. (Plug “cut the grass” into Google Translate and you get “tagliare l’erbe.”) Continue reading →
If you are eating in Romagna, you’re eating piada. Piada is the standard issue flat bread they bring to the table, usually hot off the griddle. Each eating establishment puts its own thumbprint on their piada (aka piadina, the affectionate diminutive)–ranging from flaky (frolla) to brittle. Continue reading →
Enough with the cod! No, never enough. Especially when you get something like the above dish, poached cod with finely sliced onion and diced tomato. Add a little olive oil, a trace of diced parsley. Continue reading →
This too we ate at Trattoria La Marianna in Rimini. It’s a soup made of maltagliati, clams, ceci beans, and porcini mushrooms. You can very easily use a variation on a theme on this soup (sans clams, for example, or hand-crunched tagliatelle in place of maltagliati) and be very happy. Continue reading →
Who thinks of these things? In conversations I’ve had with Italians about talented chefs, they refer to “fantasia,” which translates as something like “imagination.” This cod dish, served as an antipasto at Ristorante La Vela in Pesaro, is an excellent example. And as with most things on the table in Italy, particularly in my wife’s regions (Emilia-Romagna and le Marches), the guiding principle is simplicity. Continue reading →
This dish falls into the “life is short, eat dessert first” category. You could eat this dessert without feeling guilty. Poached pear and prunes.
We enjoyed this dish the other day in Rimini at La Marianna, a seafood trattoria. Pears and prunes are baked in red wine, with a couple cloves added. These looked like Bosc pears. They were baked whole, peel and all, then sliced for serving. We split one between us.
To add just a little guilt to this dessert, the pears came with a small dish of gelato on the side. The gelato was whitish–I’m guessing crema. My wife tilted the dish and drizzled a little of the wine-pear-prune sauce over the ice cream. She tasted it and gave it her O.F. (oh fuck!) approval.
These are people who know and care about local food.
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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.
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 →