When Bacco Smiles–from American English, Italian Chocolate

My wife’s old aunt has an omino (the diminutive of uomo, the Italian word for “man”). Omino.  Little man.  When she wants to cook a rabbit for lunch, she has an omino who sells her the rabbit. She wants fish, she has another omino. She has a repair job to do in the house, she…More

Exceeding Your Limit–car, earthquake, gun

This week I’ve had a few occasions to reflect on the concept of risk. Earthquake, tornado, air travel, rental car.  Thursday Tizi and I went to the Bologna airport to pick up a car. At the rental car booth it always takes a while. There are documents to present, long phone calls to make (by…More

Made to Last–the water, the fabbro, and tonino guerra

When we arrive in Serravalle, the village Tizi is from in San Marino, and open the apartment, as soon as we’ve wheeled suitcases through the front door, I drive down to the street below the building to turn on the water. To do that, I visit our tombino. Our little tomb. There are four of…More

I Can See Clearly Now–you look great!

The first pair of sunglasses I owned cost $1.50. I bought them at Pat’s Food Center. Ronnie Fritz and Bob Young showed up at my door one summer day wearing wrap-around sunglasses with black frames. We were in fifth grade. At the time, on a TV show called 77 Sunset Strip a character named Kookie,…More

Bird Beans (Fagioli all’uccelletto)

I can’t get enough beans, ever. This dish resembles, probably badly, a Tuscan bean dish called fagioli all’uccelleto. I’m translating that roughly, and probably badly, as “bird beans.” For this dish you need: dried beans, tomato, sage, garlic, and love. The recipe calls for cannellini. I usually substitute Michigan navy beans, whose goodness is unsurpassed.…More

Covid, Quarantine, Italy–getting ready to not go home

My last name ends in yogurt.  Tizi is on the phone with a health-care professional up the hill, at the hospital in San Marino. It’s the day before our departure. Both of us have just tested positive for Covid. Over here they call it a tampone–the skewers that go up your nose and into your…More

About the Parsley and Rivoltini

The parsley war continues. My wife and I disagree.  The question is not whether to use it. We’re both parsley positive. The issue is when, during cooking or added afterward as a garnish.  I’m during, she’s after. It has not always been thus. For many years we lived in perfect harmony, parsley-wise. Diced parsley was…More

Piadina e Stracchino–those soft spreadable cheeses

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.More