What’s not to love about a big old woodfired loaf of bread? The first time I saw a Pain Poilâne, I wanted to sink my teeth right into its yeasty innards and let the smell of smoke waft into my brain. And that big crusty miche on the cover of Peter Reinhart’s book? Okay, it’s [...]
“Sinpannay; conpannay.” A man holding a white pad stood by our weatherbeaten outdoor table, gesturing from me to the Salad Queen. His face was turning red. We were so frazzed by our drive that we just didn’t get it. “Sinpannay. Conpannay.” He gestured back and forth, threw up his arms and stalked off. His thin cry of exasperation [...]
You never forget your first sformato. We were in that little trattoria on the north shore of Green Lake, absorbed by an inner glow that transcended the gusts of rain throwing themselves against our window. Inside the restaurant with its fabulous smells, all was candlelit and cozy.
Our waiter’s humor and his rounded Balkan accent were totally [...]
When it comes to lasagna, size matters. Just as with great ski terrain, steep and deep is good. You want your teeth to bite into a mouthful of flavor, cascade off the noodles and sink your taste buds into pockets of cheese that go forever. Ah, now that’s the good stuff.
So when Jonathan from Norway [...]
The tongue of heat that laps at the Maremma’s hardened landscape takes away our breath. We’re only three hundred feet down the trail that leads to the sea and already gasping for water. Not only is the heat scalding our lungs, but the signs warning of malaria mosquito are freaking us out. A long-horned bull [...]
The sharp ring of metal on ice breaks the still mountain air. My old coal shovel bites at the crusty snow, scaring off some resident blue birds who’ve flown in looking for a handout. In an hour I’ve cleared enough deck space to accommodate them. They squawk and squabble as they hungrily attack seed I’ve laid on [...]
Intense rivalry charged the warm air that lingered around the Piazza del Campo in Siena that night. Hoards of young Italians swarmed the square with flags held high, ranting, gesticulating, and then moving off to blend into side streets. Some were in street clothes and some medieval costume. As groups came through in waves, each behind [...]
‘Yum!’ My daughter in her newly fashioned pink-tipped hair wandered into the kitchen with the intention of grazing. ‘Why don’t you make bread like that more often?’
I was slicing fat slabs of fresh focaccia, still steaming from the oven. Plates were laid out with heaps of spaghetti and meatballs on the counter, and I was [...]
The words I heard on the other end of the line struck terror in my pizza-loving heart. ‘I can’t eat wheat,’ my friend Alison announced in the lead-up to our long-anticipated woodfired dinner. Her voice was resigned and more than a little apologetic.
Aargh, I thought. Here we go. Rice flour; boring dough. But her next [...]
In mid-morning sunshine, we squint up at the Tuscan hill town that rises in a tangle of narrow streets and medieval buildings as far as our eyes can see. At the very top peeks a crenellated building that looks remarkably like a fortified castle. Sounds resonate in the clear Sunday stillness, bringing us back to [...]