Jun 202015
 

Come join me at L’Italo-Americano, my new soapbox for Italian cooking. My introductory essay, how I went from political aide to professional eater, is my Italian-American story, here.

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How I Became a Professional Eater, or Saying No to Papà...
Jun 192015
 

Here’s what…   My latest story and recipe, just out in L’Italo-Americano. Continue reading here…  

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What is a spezzatino?
Jun 162015
 

You may know it as “broccoli rabe,” but any Italian will prickle at that mangled term for their beloved bitter greens. Here’s a crash course on how to pronounce it, cook it and love it, with eight terrific new recipes, read on….

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Rapini: Ultimate Italian Soul Food with 8 New Recipes for the Beloved Bitter Greens
May 302015
 

Once upon time, there was Balducci’s, the grocery-cum-take-out market that started people thinking about real Italian cooking at the outset of America’s food revolution. Maybe they even started it, at least the Italian flank. NYC was the epicenter of the foment in those days and it sent shock waves across America. In the 1970s, when other “Italian” grocers were selling the usual American-Italian provisions and Italian-style restaurants were still thinking along the lines of tomato sauce and blankets of cheese on top of everything, or branding their restaurants “Northern Italian” (only the color of the sauce changed, from the perfunctory red to indiscriminate white), […more…]

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Grocers of Legend: From Fruit Stall to Food Empire and Embracing "Local"
May 132015
 

A few weeks ago a message arrived in my inbox announcing that The Italian Trade Commissioner, Pier Paolo Celeste, is off to a new post in Moscow, and of course, there would be a little send-off. I don’t deny I was feeling sad about his leaving, as we’ll miss the creativity and vigor he brought while in New York City. Here’s to your mission in Moscow, Pier Paolo. Stay warm and in bocca al lupo! — You sure know how to give a party! Photos: ©Nathan Hoyt/Forktales 2015  

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D'Ya Think the Italians Know How to Give a Party?  Arriverderci Pier Paolo!
May 042015
 

When people ask me what I do for a living, I usually hesitate before answering. Writer? Journalist? Chef? Cook? Teacher? Story teller? Food advocate? Environmentalist? All of those descriptives are true for me, as they are for so many of us. Food can’t be separated from its source and what happens to it on its way to our plates. Chefs Collaborative, a nonprofit that educates about a better food system and celebrates the best in American cooking, is made up of hundreds of chefs, cooks, growers, farmers, fisher people, ranchers, cheese makers, artisans, writers, reporters, publishers, educators, activists — and it’s a mighty brain trust. Its […more…]

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Meating with the Stars at the Food Network Kitchen
Apr 042015
 

Special dolci are an essential part of Easter celebrations in Italy and Sicily in particular, where the Arab sweet tooth pervades. At this time several years ago, I was in Agrigento sampling the island’s quiddities with the legendary restaurateur Tony May (Palio, Gemelli, San Domenico, SD26) and a group of Italian chefs. We had lunch al fresco one afternoon at the estate of olive oil producers, where this traditional Easter sweet dominated the dessert table. Called pecorelle, “little lambs,” these artful confections are fashioned of almond paste and decorated with chocolate and tinted sugar. The lambs represent eternal life, the Easter theme, with the red flower symbolizing the Resurrection, Jesus Christ rising from the tomb. Despite […more…]

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Celebrating Easter Sicilian Style