Friday, March 18, 2011

For the Art of it--Cooking and Painting in Calabria


The most popular topic in Italy after football is cooking. You can’t avoid it. It beats listening to the latest gossip about Berlusconi eh? Yesterday, March 17th, was the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy and I spent a couple hours at a food seminar. Much healthier than how many Americans spent yesterday – drinking green beer for St. Patrick’s Day. I confess we skipped speeches in the piazza last night by the mayor since they were not to begin until 22.30.
Our friend Chef Enzo Grisolia, and his colleagues of the Accadamia Italiana Del Peperoncino are holding a seminar in nearby Scalea, on cooking with peperoncini (hot peppers). I am attending the event because I cook and I’d like to improve how I do it. I cooked plenty of Mexican and Thai food in America, but it lacked a certain subtlety. If there’s one thing I have learned about Italian cooking, it is that the good cooks are subtle. I cook like an American – a bull in the china shop with too much meat, too many spices, too much of each spice, etc.

Seminar leaders Francesca Russo, Fabio Campoli, Enzo Monaco, Enzo Grisolia

It is a fun seminar and I’m picking up some tips to try in our kitchen. The audience is a split between professional cooks and others like me. I must say that Chef Enzo (for me) is the most articulate and clear-speaking of the group, so I understand a lot more of his Italian. I am skipping language class to attend this, but forcing myself to focus and listen to the speakers is good practice! Today’s lesson is about dolce (desserts) made with peperoncini. I probably won’t be trying any spicy chocolate dishes at home since we are not dessert eaters. Saturday there is a dinner and we can take companions (Di) for a modest cost.




And the painting...Our neighbor Giuseppe has a studio up the hill and Di found a piece there that we both like for our guest apartment--that's as local as art can get.  Note the buildings in the painting match the background of the photo, typical construction of that age. We were looking for a village scene that wasn't mass produced--but we don't have a Trumpish art budget. This painting looks very nice in the apartment and radiates the simplicity we were looking for. Giuseppe also gave us a smaller painting done by his daughter who also has talent. The take home message – sometimes just walk 100 meters instead of driving all over for what you want.


See you next time I venture off-Terrace--Guido

10 comments:

  1. Love your take home message.

    Have a good weekend.

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  2. Same to you Sue, thanks for commenting.

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  3. Hi Diana,
    I just wanted to let you know that I have been a reader/follower of your blog since its inception. I would love to one day do the same as you and Guido(Doug) and move(retire) in Italy. My children and I just acquired our Italian citizenship this past year, and now have American and Italian Passports. Two of my children have studied at the American University of Rome, one graduating 2 years ago, and the other currently there studying. We all have a deep love for Italy. I would love to get tips from you on how we would go about finding a property like yours. What real estate agency you may have used, and whatever other info you could share. Thank you and I look forward to future post on your blog, and hearing from you. Grazie...Liz

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Thanks Liz. You have done quite a lot to further your dream already.
    You can e-mail us (look for contact info when you "view our complete profile" to the right of the posts). Better for detailed info.

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  6. Ciao Guido grazie per i commenti spero che il corso ti sia piaciuto un saluto a presto Chef Enzo..

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  7. Si! Si! Certo! Grazie per un bel corso per mio marito. Si piacere bene. Diana

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  8. Hellow!
    I love your site, It is a pleasure to visit.
    I have added your site to my site.
    Please link my site to your site.
    Thank you!
    http://gardenlife-klimt.blogspot.com/

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  9. Hi there - where does Giuseppe the artist live? I've purchased some amazing art in Calabria and am always on the lookout for new paintings :-)
    Thanks,
    Andrew

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  10. Hi Andrew

    Giusep lives next door about 15 feet across the alley here in Santa Domenica Talao. His daughter too does paintings. They don't have anything "amazing", but a few pieces worth wall space. doug

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