Drink Up

And the winner is: 2017 La Focaie, Maremma Toscana.  

Every summer I look for a budget red or white, the wine I’m going to open at home, enjoy while cooking lunch and with chocolate after lunch. A couple summers ago it was Cecchi, an Italian red.  Last summer it was budget California chardonnay from Costco. These are not wines I take to someone’s house. Neither are they jug wines. These are everyday house wines that consistently satisfy, until I can’t get them anymore, or until they no longer satisfy consistently. Nothing lasts forever.

Continue reading “Drink Up”

An editorial

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National Healthcare Is National Defense.

According to the Wall Street Journal, South Korea is capable of testing 20,000 people a day for coronavirus. Way more than the US. How much more? That’s a difficult question–because the number being tested in the US is uncertain. We can say with confidence, however, that the US is testing fewer than 20,000 people a day.

For the scale of this US failure, consider the numbers. Continue reading “An editorial”

What Comes Next

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Tizi says, Hey why don’t you Google the local stores and find out if they have special hours for senior citizens?  

And I think, But why would I do that? 

And then I remember.

I haven’t developed the habit of thinking of myself as a senior citizen. Then it hits you, like a pie in the face. A week ago, talking to my son in LA, I described our distancing regime during the pandemic.  Good, he said. Just that morning it had occurred to him that we were in greater danger. He’d remembered: we’re old.  Continue reading “What Comes Next”

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”

Pienza, Pinconning, Santa Monica

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“I don’t like the word cheese,” my wife says.

We’re driving home from the grocery store, where we have just bought a couple mozzarella balls to slice and lay over tomato slices at lunch today.

I am surprised and delighted. Forty-two years of marriage and I never knew this about her. I tell her cheese seems like a perfectly good word.  

She shudders just a little.

One syllable, it must have Anglo-Saxon roots, I think, also considering the ch in the word.  “Cheese,” I say out loud, testing it. In Italy, I’ve heard groups of people lined up to have a picture taken together, everyone saying “cheese,” in English.  I remind her of this. “Cheese has caught on in Italy,” I say.   Continue reading “Pienza, Pinconning, Santa Monica”

Market, Mercato

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So I had to get something.  Buy something. My wife and I were on the ninth day of a ten-day stay in Italy. She had visited her cousin’s boutique in Pesaro.  And her favorite shoe store and bookstore and her favorite herbalist in Rimini. And a great toy store in Bologna. And her scarf and headband lady in Santarcangelo. She was pretty loaded.

She asked me, “Don’t you need anything?”

“Nope.”

That Thursday morning we were walking through the mercato in Borgo Maggiore, a village ten minutes up the mountain from our apartment in San Marino. It was the end of November. In two days I would be back in the classroom. Continue reading “Market, Mercato”

I Spiralize…

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Meanwhile my life has been permanently changed by the discovery of the spiralizer, a kitchen device that transforms a zucchini into spaghetti.

What joy. What delightful culinary alchemy. In my wife’s family there is a mildly chiding remark employed when someone states the obvious. Hai scoperto america. You discovered America. So, all right, the spiralizer (I will never tire of using that term) is old news. But to me, it’s new news.

It’s lightweight. Its dies are razor sharp. My first time spiralizing I drew blood, my own, twice. The shiny white easy-to-clean appliance wasn’t exactly covered with gore. But if it was, so what. A quick rinse under the tap, and blood’s away. Easy to use, easy to dismantle and clean, easy to mantle.

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I’ve spiralized twice now. Second time, caution was observed and I came away unscathed. Now, to the eating. Spiralizing will reveal new worlds. What to spiralize? What to do with spiralized stuff? This spiralized zucchini, I’m eating it raw, with arugula and chopped tomato. Olive oil, red wine vinegar, sea salt. I used to think, How did we live before arugula? Now I wonder, How did I live without a spiralizer?

A year from now, will it still be special? Or will it fall onto the junk heap of other kitchen devices like the cap snaffler, egg cuber, roll ‘n pour, alli-grater, pancake pen, electric hotdog slicer, Oreo dipr, the one click stick butter cutter, the battery-operated spaghetti twirling fork, the condiment gun?

I predict the spiralizer will last. It will stand the test of time. I spiralize. Therefore I am.

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