Thursday, January 28, 2010


No matter how often or persistently we Italian food purists try to separate them, put them on separate plates, offer them at separate courses,  Americans want spaghetti and meatballs.  Together, in one giant heap  spilling out over the sides of one dish. It's a cultural thing -- like peanut butter and jelly, a burger and fries, popcorn and the movies.

In yesterday's  NYTimes article, Alex Witchel recounts a visit to an Olive Garden in midtown Manhattan stuffed with tourists ordering that All-American Italian comfort food.

How they eat in Italy has nothing to do with it.  Americans own this dish. We invented it, we love it, and, by golly, we'll go to New York where there are  more authentically Italian restaurants than anywhere on this side of the Atlantic, and we'll order it.

I'll still have my meatballs on the side.  And hold the spaghetti.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


You know how when you were in high school, you'd gaze longingly at your boyfriend's picture during the summer months while you were separated by those boring family vacations or sleep-away camps, yearning -- as only teenage girls can yearn -- for his return?

Well, that's me when I'm not in Rome. A crazed yearner! But it's not a lover I'm pining away for. It's food, glorious Roman food. It's spaghetti alla carbonara and rigatoni all'amatriciana, abbacchio al forno, as they can only be done in Rome. I torture myself daily with my stockpile of photos taken table side, such as this one: coniglio (rabbit) with olives and points of bruschetta in a luscious winey sauce. I would have jumped right in had the bowl been a bit wider and my dining companion not a member of the italian aristocracy.

If you journey south of Rome to the Castello di Fumone restaurant in the medieval town of Fumone, such intense dining pleasure can be yours.

I just can't promise the marquis.