I was talking to my friend Pat a few days ago about tomatoes. “Everyone who’s been there,” she said, “talks about the tomatoes in Italy. They’re supposed to be so good.” Yup, they’re good all right. Here in the US we do pretty well a few months of the year. Over there, year around it seems, great tomatoes.Continue reading “Take a Tomato Break”
When I was a kid, my junk food of choice, purchased at Pat’s Food Center across the street from my house, or at the park store in the Missaukee County trailer park, was Twinkies or Mars Bar or Three Musketeers bar (Pat’s) or wax lips or wax coke bottle with that syrupy pseudo coca cola inside or colored-sugar-in-a-straw (county store). I had friends who bought Good and Plenty, black or red licorice. Not me. Ever.Continue reading “Pass the Fennel”
You stumble onto things. It can be a fortunate fall.
When I married into an Italian family, I had never eaten a chickpea. If you were raised in the Saginaw Valley, you ate navy beans. End of story.Continue reading “Chickpea and Swiss Chard Soup”
My wife and I are beanophiles, pure and simple. And could there be a food more pure and simple?
Time was, I bought navy beans at Kroger, plastic sacks of old dry beans grown who knows where and who knows how long ago. I soaked them, and they woke up from their long sleep, and we made beautiful music together (that is probably not the expression I should use). They were very okay.Continue reading “Let There Be Beans”
No one is neutral on peas.
In England for a conference a few decades ago I was taken to dinner by a local guy who ordered something the English like to eat. It came with a side of mushy peas (mushy rhymes with bushy). To the eye the peas looked like they had been cooked 2-3 hours, then stored away to languish in cans for 2-3 decades. They were the color of bile, more texture than taste.
Aside from a few summers I was sent out to the garden to pick peas, and unpodded them and ate them on the spot, I do not have warm memories of peas.Continue reading “You Gotta Have Peas”
The bug bites you every now and then. Get rid of some stuff.
We have a couple pantries in our house, one in the kitchen, another over by the garage. Stuff we use regularly we keep in the kitchen, naturally. Stuff that’s not on deck gets stored over by the garage. Pepper corns, cans of chick peas, back-up jars of marmalade and jams, peanut butter and nutella, tomato paste, boxes of pasta.Continue reading “Gross Sauce (Get Rid Of Some Stuff)”
In the kitchen I originate very little. Modify, yes; originate, no.
I’m okay with that.
I was gratified recently when I watched “Funke,” a documentary film about Evan Funke, the American chef whose LA restaurant Felix attempts to serve the best pasta in the United States. Not just good pasta. The best. (Felix menu shown above.) What struck me were Funke’s remarks early in the film about the casalinghe tradition in Italy.Continue reading “Eat Up”
In just thirty minutes, you can make a pasta sauce that will change your life. Sausage and leeks and tomato. Salt and pepper. And if you’re a spicy person, red pepper flakes to hot the sauce up a bit, or a lot.
A word about sausage.Continue reading “Quick and Spicy”
They’re up there, in the top of the pantry. Loved only a little, and then only occasionally; otherwise, forgotten. I mean prunes.
The ones I found this morning were probably a year old. Dried up, withered and hard, they looked like minor asteroids. I had an idea. Continue reading “Pork and Prunes”
Tizi suggests a new menu item for New Year’s Eve. A local tradition in Romagna, her region of Italy. I’m sure I’ve heard the word “lentils” before in Italian and decide to try it out. Use or lose it, right? “But why lentiggini?” I ask.
“For good luck,” she says. “And it’s lenticchie. Lentiggini are freckles.”
Lentils, not freckles. Continue reading “Lentils, not Freckles”