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|