So this is what happens when a three year old takes over your iPhone. About a hundred pictures in a span of 15 minutes, some of which look like a crime scene involving a knockoff Barbie.
A lot of people have expressed an interest in the cleanse I mention in “Marathon Pants.” I didn’t feel comfortable “endorsing” a book or a diet on a national website, but hey, I can say whatever I want on my own blog, right? Anyway, it’s a book called Cinch!: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches by Cynthia Sass. It worked for me, but who knows if it works for everyone. Good luck and thanks for reading!
And while you’re at it, take a second to “like” my blog. Thanks!
A is in no way, shape, or form a mammone (ma-mo-neh). What, you may ask, is a mammone? He would be the stereotypical Italian male who is practically attached to his mamma by the umbilical cord. He loves her above all else (at times, including his wife), loves her cooking and her cooking only, and lives a maximum of five minutes away from her his entire life.
Thankfully, the hubs doesn’t meet this description.
My excessively devout brother-in-law (as in, he considered going to a seminary and becoming a Catholic priest level of devotion) told me the following:
Q: How do you know that Jesus was Italian?
A: Because he lived with his mother for 33 years, thought he was the son of god, and that his mother was a virgin.
I may be paraphrasing a rough translation…he told me the joke many many years ago.
I should also mention that the said brother in law is 39…and lives at home.
Anyway, as I was saying, A is not a mammone, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love his mamma’s cooking. He even dared to say at one time that his mother made a certain dish—risotto—better than I. GASP! The horror! Well, he was right. I mean, she has been perfecting her risotto for about 45 years now, so she’s definitely got the upper hand when it comes to experience. And darn it, I honestly don’t know what she does, but her risotto is just plain awesome. Beyond good.
As any curious cook would, I’ve tried to learn as much as I can from her gazillion years of epicurean stylings in the twelve years that A and I have been married. Thankfully, my suocera is not the type of person who hordes cooking secrets, or opinions (that one, less thankfully).
She loves it when we visit and I offer to help her out in the kitchen. She has three sons and a daughter, and only the youngest (a son, not A) ever showed any interest in cooking. My best times with her have been in the kitchen, chopping onions, working some dough, grating cheese. We’ll chat, or not, and we work with purpose. There are hungry mouths to be fed. Hungry, opinionated mouths.
I wanted to share some little tidbits that I’ve learned from A’s mom during our time in the cucina. Here they are in no particular order:
If you live in the Bay Area, have lived in the Bay Area, or even just visited the Bay Area, you know how summer is here: nonexistent. Cold, foggy, drizzly, with an off-chance of a rare beautiful day (i.e. over 75 degrees) every once in a while.
When A and I lived in Italy (hot, humid summers with bugs as big as fists), coming to California to visit every summer was an incredible treat. We would get our three-week fix of cold weather, sleep with a down comforter in the middle of August, and then fly home to appreciate heat and humidity (aka being able to wear a tank top in the evening).
One thing we can still appreciate though, is the bounty of summer fruits and veggies. It’s good being here this time of year. This is a random list of yumminess I wanted to share…for no reason other than I’ve been thinking about all of these foods a lot.
About six weeks ago, I got my issue of Bon Appetit. It was the Italy issue and I was uber excited about it. Then I actually read the issue, and it just irked me so much that I had to write a letter to the newly appointed editor, Adam Rapaport. Of course I never heard back from BA, but I had spend too much time on the letter to let my rant go to waste – I must share it with the world! And maybe – just maybe – Mr. Rapaport will see it sooner or later. So here it is in its entirety:
Dear Mr. Rapoport,
Full disclsoure: I am one of the thousands of Bon Appetit subscribers who received their subscription after Gourmet closed, and continued subscribing because few other magazines on the market seemed as good as BA (and none lived up to Gourmet).
I enjoyed the recipes and stories, although I always found myself going back to old Gourmet recipes. I was looking forward to the much-hyped transformation of the magazine, and eagerly awaited the May issue.
Sadly, I think I may let the subscription run its course and not renew. The only thought looping through my head as I read through the issue was, “Why are they TRYING so hard?” It seems as though the magazine has been taken over by 25-35 year old hipsters, although that is exactly what the magazine would make us believe has not happened. Just the number of references to hipsters, know-it-all foodie friends, and tattooed baristas makes me think that the magazine is now run by hipsters, know-it-all foodie friends, and tattooed former baristas (all fully aware that they are these things, and adamant about denying it).
Perhaps I’m taking it too much to heart because this was the Italy issue. Another full disclosure: I’m married to an Italian and lived in that wonderful country for seven years. This full immersion into the Italian culture and cuisine has made me wary of Americans trying to stamp their “expertise” onto Italian traditions. I would LOVE to meet any Italian who goes through your ludicrous method of making coffee with the moka coffee pot, especially the last step which calls for wrapping a cold, wet towel around the pot “to stop the extraction.” As my husband pointed out, another way to do this is to pour the coffee and drink it. Pretty simple.
Also, for a magazine which seems to extol the authenticity that still permeates Italian cuisine (to quote page 107, “You can get a rich, crema-topped espresso just about anywhere. And it doesn’t come with a lecture from some tattooed, fedora-wearing barista.”), it’s pretty ironic that the “Moka Pot Manual” was written not by an Italian, but a New York City barista, perhaps one with tattoos (or sporting a fedora).
Or even worse: Maybe the irony was intended, fully putting the hipster stench on Bon Appetit forever.
I know this email will never get a response, but I just feel better knowing that I sent it.