Fraboni Bros take Italia

Pizza Napoli and zuppa di polpo. The first two dishes Domenic and I ate together once he arrived in Firenze for his Spring break. I wanted him to be fully immersed in my favorite aspect of Italy, so I took him straight to the Mercato Centrale. The central market of Florence is basically a huge indoor farmers market. Although it’s inside, it’s organized by streets with almost any kind of animal protein, fruit, vegetable, or spice you could imagine. Plus, a few vendors sel
ing fresh pasta or panini. The upstairs though is what really blows my skirt up. To call it a food court would be the biggest understatement ever made. But, that’s essentially the idea. Only I could eat every meal there for the entire semester and never have the same meal twice. The best part, every ingredient comes from right down stairs, so you know you’re getting some high quality food.

Anyway’s, Dom needed to see it for himself.

That night, we went out with my roommates and a few other friends to the Jazz Club. Dom and I had never actually been to a bar together, so why not start in Italy?

The next morning, Dom and I woke up bright and early after a less than desirable amount of sleep and hopped on a bus to Bologna. Neither of us had done any research about the city, and I only had vague food knowledge of it, but I guess that how we travel best. We get lost, look up random sites, wander towards them, and eat whatever looks good along the way. We found Bologna’s central market (it has nothing on Firenze’s. I’m just sayin) and got some pumpkin filled Tortellini and some gnocchi, both smothered in the traditional ragu. The pumpkin tortellini was subtly sweet and lusciously creamy, creating a good contrast between the two same-sauced dishes.

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When in Bologna… smothering everything in Bolognese. Duh.

I know that to some people going to a city you know nothing about with little to no plan is a scary thought. For Dom and I, that is the way we prefer it. We talked a bit about this and came to the conclusion that most plans don’t end up perfectly anyway, so why make them? Go into things with open expectations and the mentality that you will be able to make the best of whatever comes your way, and you’ll be just fine. Plus, you won’t have to added stress of trying to stick to schedule (that’a a plus for me anyway). We found ourselves in an 11th century monastery. Cute little courtyards scattered around, stone sanctuaries, and a whole ton of religious paintings. The entire thing was like a labyrinth, I’m not usually very interested in touring chapels or ancient places of worship, but this was pretty freaking cool. We also went to an art museum, the two woman at the front desk spoke absolutely no English and Dom and I weren’t entirely sure where we were. There was a ton of old religious paintings upstairs and some modern art downstairs. If you couldn’t tell, I really don’t know much about art and know how to write about it even less.

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Just two good ‘ol Catholic boys doing good ‘ol Catholic things

Monday, we went to Pisa. I have a morning class and another at night, so a perfect eight hour break for a quick day trip. We took our obligatory leaning tower pics, of course. And admired the souvenirs, which I think are absurdly clever, almost everything is leaning. I see what you did there, Pisa.

Tuesday, things took a sick turn. And on wednesday, a doctor told me that was most likely strep throat. Wonderful timing.

Thankfully, like I mentioned before, us Fraboni boy’s like to make the best out of whatever we’ve got. Dom made a run to the central market to pick up ingredients and it’s a good thing that even when it hurts to swallow my own spit, I still love to cook.

The night before in one of my cooking classes, we made our own pasta. So I wanted to recreate that as best as I could.

Spaghetti con salsa al pomodoro e basilico

I used a mixture of white flour, semola flour and cracked three eggs into the well. I didn’t use any exact measurements, but the beauty of pasta is that it will only take the flour that it needs. Once I had a slightly sticky ball of something that seemed too full to eat much more flour, I began kneading. As a baker, I usually follow the rule of never wanting to overwork any dough, so the amount of muscle behind making pasta dough made me a bit uncomfortable at first. My chef professor said this helps to develop the gluten and some protein. Not entirely sure, I’m not a scientist. I kneaded it until it was the texture of the flesh right underneath my cheekbone when I have a big smile. Then let it rest for about an hour.

Dom got to chopping some onions and garlic for the base of the clams and mussels. He sauteed them with a little olive oil. Before adding the mollusks, he scrubbed them with a brush under running water to get any remaining grit out of there. Hey, this is some of the freshest produce we can get, so a bit of earth should still be there. He poured white wine and lemon juice,plus some chopped sage and rosemary, into the pot of onions and garlic and let them all get acquainted. When the liquid had started to boil he threw in the clams and mussels. And steamed them until all the little cuties opened up to say hello.

We don’t have a rolling pin in our apartment, so I rolled out my pasta using an empty wine bottle. When I had long, translucent sheets, I rolled them up and cut them into about 3/4 inch strips.

After all of the clams and muscles had opened, we strained the sauce into a large saucepan and added a nice chunk’o’butter. When the pasta only had a few minutes left to cook, I picked them out of the boiling water and straight into the sauce to finish them off.


The fresh pappardelle had absorbed so much of that acidic seafood sauce and the hints of fresh herbs, and clams and mussels offered nice little meaty bites. “Caramella di mare” or candy of the sea – they don’t actually call mollusks this in Italian, but I think they should. Needless to say, this dish was a pretty big hit, and even though every bite pained me, I finished my whole bowl and then some.

Side story: How to spot a bad Italian Restaurant in Italy

So the next day, Dom and I went to the Accademia (where Michelangelo’s David is) and went out looking for a place to eat after. I had finished telling him about some things to look out for when searching for a place to eat and we ran into a restaurant that hit almost anything on my list of red flags. But, being the curious travelers we are, we decided to test out the theory. So, here are just a few things that should make you turn around and not look back when picking a place to eat in Italy

  1. Things are broadly advertised in English. If the main group of people they are trying to get into their restaurant require an English translation, they are most likely not into serving repeat customers.
  2. In close proximity to any sort of tourist destination. Convenience usually means that the esablishment is willing to charge you more for subpar food. This kind of goes along with the first red flag.
  3. A lack of people speaking in Italian. If the locals don’t want to eat there, you don’t either.
  4. People out front trying to lure you in. The really good places, in my experience, have been the most unassuming. Someplace you could easily overlook. The best eats don’t seem to try to hard.

Long story short, I was right. The food wasn’t horrible… but that’s about all I have to say.

For Dom’s last two days we ventured to Venice. Of course the first place I took him was the little cicchetti place I wrote about in my last post. Partly, because I wanted him to be able to try some of those little nuggets of goodness, but also, because I knew that I would be able to try a lot more different types with our combined plates.

Wandered into Saint Marc’s Square. That was pretty neat.

We spent most of our time getting lost and wondering in awe of the city. For dinner our first night treated ourselves to my new favorite resturant i’ve been to in italy. There I had polenta that made my knees weak, topped with tiny grey shrimp. He got a bowl of linguini with mini scallops and I got something I’d been searching for since coming to Italy, pasta with a squid ink sauce. This one used cuttle fish ink and had cuttle fish in it as well. But more importantly, this was just a damn good meal to be able to talk with Dom over. It’s been a little over a month since I’ve been home, and being able to see him just gave me a good kick of energy to keep me trucking.

So good I didn’t even want to stop eating to take a picture.
Mmmmmmmm

Domenic had to leave my apartment at around 4:15 am on Sunday, so we got back from Venice mid day on Saturday and had a fairly chill, and early night. I know this has been a long post, but this has been a long (and incredible) week.  -Thank you Domenic for using your Spring break to come and see me. I know you had your ticket to Firenze before I even knew if I was coming here for sure or not. So, I’m glad I was able to make it into the program to see you? Or something like that. Anyway, thanks for a week so good not even strep throat could put that big of a damper on it. – And as always, if you made it to the end of this post (or even if you just skimmed through the pictures and are currently reading the final paragraph) thank you for reading and keeping up a little with my adventures.

Buono Giornata!

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Carnivale Kick-off

It’s hard to believe that I’ve only just finished my first week of studies at LdM. Every day has held a new wonder, from walking into Italian on Monday and being fully immersed into the language, to my two separate tours (and tastings) of the Central Market of Florence. I’ve had more food than I could write about in a reasonable amount of words (I’m still trying not to make this ENTIRELY a food blog).

I guess I’ll begin with Thursday evening. I’d finished all of my classes for the week and my roommates, a few other friends, and I decided to go out. We found an underground Jazz Club that had a 6 euro membership fee. Such a cool place! We got a free drink upon entering, and were greeted by a small, albeit extremely talented, live band. They seemed just like a group of friends having a jam session. The vibe was causal and cozy. And now that we have memberships, I know we’ll be back as soon as we can.


The morning after, my roommates and I boarded a train to Venice. Our first weekend exploration. I was ready to get lost in this city that I’ve read so much about. Adam found an almost-too-cheap-to-be-true apartment for two nights that was on the small Venetian island of Murano, the one know for the unmatched skill of its glass blowers. After getting settled (and calling the company we were renting from to come and clean it please and thank you…) we took a water taxi to the main island.

Now, every travel blogpost I’d read about Venice said that the best way to see the city was to avoid the crowds as much as possible and to get lost in the maze of narrow walkways and mesmerizing canals. We wandered for the majority of that first day. I asked one of my culinary professors for some good eats. She let me know that Venice is not an Italian city necessary known for its food. The major tourists destinations are surrounded by tourist trap restaurants, catering to those who probably won’t be back, and therefor won’t pay as much attention to quality and pricings. She said that the best places were the easiest to miss and the most Venician way to eat was Cicchetti-style. This is a local custom of eating finger food and sipping the local wine (prosecco is the go-to as this is the region it’s from).

Cantinone gia Schiavi

This led us to Cantinone gia Schiavi, an extremely unassuming place found under a duo green awning that could be easily passed by without a second look. Here I had one of the best plates of food I’d eaten since landing in Italy. From right to left: pumpkin, ricotta, and parmigiano – octopus – smoked swordfish – and tuna and leak – all on top of a slightly toasted baguette slice. I asked the chef behind the counter for his favorite and he picked out the tuna and leak one. This is my kind of eating, so many different combinations of flavors in tiny little bites. I could have spent my entire visit in Venice solely eating cicchetti. Plus this entire plate only cost me around 6 euro (including the prosecco).

*still drooling

For dinner that night our main goal was to find a seafood place where I could get some risotto (two things that Venice are known for). This was no problem after a little aimless wandering. Since the place we found didn’t open until 6:30, we killed some time by drinking a bottle of prosecco next to a canal at the end of an alleyway. One of my roommates and I split a mound of tuna tartar, a bowl of steamed clams and mussels, and we each got our own bowl of seafood risotto. Now here is where Venice surprised me. Everyone, and everywhere I read, was telling me not to get my hopes too high for the food in Venice. Yet, these two meals, I have to say, matched any food expectation I had of Italy in general and then some. The tartar, small raw cubes of raw tuna, was lightly seasoned with a drizzle of balsamic reduction and on top a nest of peppery arugula. I was immediately transported to the sea, which probably wasn’t much of a stretch considering we were less than a kilometer away from the Aegean. The bowl of mollusks was served with a thin tomato and seafood broth and a slice of lemon. Exactly how I believe mussels and clams should be served. They tasted like they were cooked right in the sea with minimal additives. Then came the risotto. Risotto is a rice dish, that’s slowly cooked with wine and some sort of broth, and this one had shrimp and calamari. It was creamy and an absolute comfort with every forkful.

The Fierce Firenze Five take Venezia


I went to bed early and very happy that night. Getting a surprising 15 hours of much needed sleep.

The next day was a pleasant blur of exploring the glass shops on Murano, a quick trip to Saint Mark’s square, more crowd-less wandering, and of course, the first night of Carnival. Now, I’m no expert, but my understanding is that Carnival is the near month long celebration leading up to Lent. It’s the Italian Mardi Gras, or Mardi Gras is the Americanize Carnival – eh not totally sure, and too lazy to google it. The big kick-off event was a canal parade of extravagant lights. There were fire dancers and eaters, a woman suspended by a huge glowing balloon, dancers with (what looked like) wacky-inflatable-tube-dancer-esque appendages, and women with glowing capes seemingly dancing on the water. The entire day we were surrounded by masqueraded crowds and little kids in Star Wars or Spider-Man costumes (yeah I’m not sure why either).


And this was just night one of an entire month of events. I’m currently riding the train back to my new home, Firenze. I thought I’d finally take some time to record a bit more of my adventures. I refuse to edit these posts (too much) partly because I’m just lazy, but also because I want to remember this as raw as I possibly can. As always, thanks for reading – you da best! I’ve only been here for, what? not even two weeks? And my eyes, and taste buds, have been exposed to more than I thought possible. Well, here’s to the more that’s yet to come.

Ciao!

Benvenuti a Firenze!

The two days leading up to Firenze, Emma and I were in Amsterdam. What a busy and beautiful city. Maybe I’ll write a full post about it at some point. Maybe I won’t. I’m still getting used to this whole blog thing, so who really knows? What I do know, is that I plan on making my way back to the Venice of the North.

Now onto Firenze! Well that’s what the plan was, but the weather thought differently. We had to touch down on Pisa. I honestly didn’t mind. I wasn’t in any huge rush. Plus I got to see an hour of Italian countryside that I’d never been able to see without that little detour. Didn’t get to see the leaning tower, but I’m sure that’s still to come.

After arriving in Florence I had to go straight to a short orientation. At this point I hadn’t met any of my roommates, and had only been able to contact one on Facebook. Wolfgang just happened to be standing right behind me in line. I know, how freakin cool is it to have a roommate named Wolfgang? Anyway, I had the great idea of trying to find our own way to our apartment and bypassing the taxis. Now, Florence’s streets remind me a little of the cracks of a broken mirror. No nice and easy, structured city blocks. These narrow cobblestone streets are going to take a little getting used to. Wolf and I tried our best, but after about 15 sweaty minutes and figuring out that we were walking in the wrong direction, we decided to hail a cab. At least we could feel a tad accomplished about that.

We were the last two to arrive. Five guys living in the middle of Florence. And what do you do on your first night with new people in Italia? Drink wine! And explore the city a little. But mostly, drink wine! We stopped at a tiny restaurant tucked away in the city. I panicked due to not understanding/knowing how to speak much Italian, so I ordered one of the first things I recognized, pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans). But, honestly, I don’t think it matters what you order most places in Italy, because it’s going to be delicious. The main components of this soup were square cut pasta pieces and chick peas. The warmth of the soup and the familiar onion and garlic flavors seemed to welcome me home.

Then came the wine, of course, and a chance to connect a bit with the roomies, or as I coined on WhatsApp, the “Fierce Firenze Five”.

The next morning I stopped at a cafe that is right next door to our apartment that I’d failed to notice the day before. For breakfast I like to have something soft, crunchy, sweet, and something strong to give me a kick start to the day. And the apple tart I had gave me the first three and looked like a piece of art with the thinly sliced apple fanned out on top. The cappuccino gave me my kick.

After some more orientation and whatnot/who’s who stuff, my roommate, Adam, and I went grocery shopping. I’ve never really been in a place where I’ve had to constantly cook for myself, and I was in heaven walking into that market. For lunch we just made ourselves a very simple bruschetta with a baguette topped with pesto, fresh mozzarella, and a balsamic glaze. The perfect thing to tide us over until dinner.

There is nothing more calming then standing over a stove and having the starchy smell of boiling pasta fill the room. This is what I came here for. Food, and also the sense of peace it brings me. We made a very simple pesto pici. Pici is a type of pasta similar to spaghetti, but thicker. I poached some eggs to throw on top, as well as some parmigiano reggiano. The egg yolk oozes over the pasta, thickening the sauce, giving it a bit more body. There’s nothing like a perfectly runny yolk. The basil pesto, even though we didn’t make it ourselves, tasted so fresh and was absorbed wonderfully by the pici. Oh, and of course there was a bit of red wine throughout the cooking/eating process.

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First home cooked meal in Firenze

Gelato was an obvious after dinner go-to. Oh, and we were right outside the Duomo (see featured image) while we indulged.

Even though it’s only been a day and a half living in Firenze, I really think I’m going to like it here. It’s going to be a pretty delicious semester to say the least.

Alla Prossima! Ciao!

Last day in Bielefeld

On my last day visiting Bielefeld I woke up around 1pm… But in my defense, it was because the night before my cousin invited a bunch of her friends over and Germans party until the sun comes up. Or in our case around 3:30. If we would’ve gone to the disco, it would’ve been more like 6. Germans seem to start partying way past my bedtime. Guess I need to step my game up.

Anyway, that morning (afternoon) we had a light lunch of a few different tapas. Traditionally, tapas are a collection of appetizers that comprise a meal. We had two different types of bruschetta (made with left overs from the night before), some roasted Spanish peppers, and a variety of german meats.

After lunch, we took a walk through the Teutoburgerwald forest. What’s crazy about Bielefeld is that basically anywhere you are in the city, you are just a short jaunt to the woods. My mom’s cousin, Michelle, gave me a little history lesson about the city on our excursion. Apparently, it was in these woods that the Roman empire was halted on their conquest through northern Europe. Arminius, or Herrmann, was born the chief of a Germanic tribe, but was kidnapped as a child and taken to Rome, where he grew up. He betrayed the Roman Empire in favor of his homeland and aided in their victory during a battle that was fought in the Teutoburgerwald forest. Pretty neat, eh?

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Now onto more food. Because you knew it was coming 😉

That night, I was taken to Restaurant zur Linde, an authentic German restaurant family owned since 1677. I can’t even wrap my head around how this restaurant has been kicking since before my country started a violent protest for its independence. I ordered the Jägerschnitzel mit Bratkartoffeln, Schnitzel topped with a mushroom sauce with a side of potatoes. Bratkartoffeln are potatoes that are first fully cooked in boiling water, then sautèd with butter and bacon. This creates a beautiful brown, crispy exterior while keeping the insides nice and tender. Each bite had a light crunch and then melted in my mouth like butter. Then there was the schnitzel, oh the schnitzel. Someone once told me that unlike some more famous cuisines German food isn’t extravagant or fancy. German food is just damn good. And I would 110% agree with that statement. It reminds me a bit of food from back home in Minnesota, very seasonal, hardy, meat-and-potato, nap-inducing, rustic cooking. Schnitzel is pork that has been pounded out flat, breaded, and usually pan fried (God, am I glad I stopped being a vegetarian for this trip). Jägerschnitzel is that, topped with a creamy mushroom sauce. The Linde family has had 340 years to perfect their schnitzel, and it sure tastes like it.

Dinner was followed by a shot of Patthorster waldgeist, or a schnapps considered “the spirit of the forest”. It was like a smooth vodka with a powerful chili kick and a woodsy undertone. My whole mouth tingled and the heat only grew and spread as the waldgeist went down. I can see how it got its name, I felt like there was curios ghost lingering in the throat. I thought it was lovely.

We tried to end the night with some spaghettieis, which is essentially spaghetti made out of ice cream. Vanilla ice cream noodles, raspberry “sugo”, and white chocolate “parmesan”, or in other words, perfection in ice cream form. I’ve only had it once before, and that is when I was around twelve, but I will never forget how enthralled I was by it. Unfortunately, it’s January and most ice cream shops don’t run into the night during Winter. I guess I’ll have to wait a little bit longer to have another taste of that childhood magic.

Bis zum nächsten Mal, tchüss!

Playlist to Remember to #1

Why post playlists?

Well, memories and music go hand-in-hand. I just want to record whatever I’m listening to for exactly that reason. So, sorry that this isn’t exactly a travel account. I thought I’d share some music with you all.

1. Elevator Operator – Courtney Barnett

This is definitely my current favorite song. I honestly can’t say what genre I’d put it in. It reminds me of some sort of alternative Patti Smith/alt punk something or another.

2. Nobody Dies – Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

3. Future – Transviolet

4.Safety – Yoke Lore

5. Shaky Ground – Freedom Fry

6. Pret a Porter – Emilie Mover

I have no idea what she is saying. I don’t care. This song is just so relaxing to listen to.

7. Made of Gold – Shenna

8. Swoon – Beach Weather

9. Genghis Khan – Miike Snow

This song has played on loop for me since the beginning of Fall and I don’t plan on stopping it.

10. Absolutely – Ra Ra Riot

11. Marijuana – Zebra Katz

This is from the Broad City playlist. And if you haven’t watched it yet. Do it now! Some quality entertainment right there.

12. Oulala – Ana Tijoux

Ana Tijoux is my favorite French-Chilean artist, and only one whom I’m currently aware of. She’s great and I haven’t heard anything like her before.

13. Rainbow – O’Spada

Within in the first 15 seconds of this song my friend said, “this is the gayest song I’ve ever heard”. I think he forgot about the Scissor Sister’s “Let’s have a Kiki”, but regardless “Rainbow” is my current gay anthem.

 

Amsterdam to Bielefeld + Doggo

Airplane food is way better than I remember it to be. It wasn’t anything spectacular, just a grilled chicken salad, an assortment of fresh fruit, shrimp with cocktail sauce, and a fudge brownie. You do good things Delta. And on top of that, we got breakfast. Some greek yogurt, orange juice, and a roll with some creamy orange marmalade. The food wasn’t technically “free”, but I didn’t have to pay for it on the plane, so I’ll take it.

I landed in Amsterdam at around 11am. Or what felt like 4am to my midwestern mind. My cousin’s father picked me up and immediately brought me to lunch at a Dutch sandwich shop that couldn’t have sat more than fifteen people. This is where I heard spoken Dutch for the first time. I’m sure its development has some sort of rich history, but to me it sounds like mix between German and English. And a little goofy. Like, goofy in a good way.

The three hour drive to Bielefeld, Germany was probably gorgeous,  but I wouldn’t know. I was asleep for its entirety.

I was greeted by my cousin Emma and her younger brother Richie. We’ve all know each other for just over half my life. Then, my senior year of high school Emma lived with us for the first half of it. She became one of my closest friends and stayed so even when we were an ocean and a few countries away. Our plan was to meet up again within five years of her moving back to Germany. We’ve actually been quite fortunate as her family has come over to the states a few times since then, and we were able to meet up in San Francisco this past Summer. Though, this is the first time the roles have been reversed and where I’ve been the visitor.

She showed me around her neighborhood as we walked their dog, Gigi. Tomorrow I’ll be able to see more of the city.

After dinner (goulash and spaetzle), we walked a few blocks to a traditional german restaurant, Vahle Einmalig Anders, so I could have my first taste of real German beer. I’m still not a huge beer person, but I will say that I was a huge fan of the amber ale I got, especially the inch worth of foam on top that reminded me of some sort of foamy, hoppy, whip cream. I also ordered a Bavarian cream with raspberry coulis. Bavarian cream is similar in texture to a mousse, but it is thickened with gelatin to give it a little more of a spongy texture while still keeping it light and airy. It was so smooth and the coulis’ acidity cut the sweetness perfectly. The only thing that made my experience in Vahle better was the fact that there were so many dogs inside. I guess it’s common in Germany for restaurants to allow dogs inside with their owners.

After that, I thought our night was coming to a close when a large dog with a beautiful white coat made an appearance on our walk home. Their owner was nowhere to be found and it’s collar lacked any sort of tag. Emma, Richie, and I made quick friends with the doggo. After asking anyone on the street if they’d seen the dog before, I realized that I know almost no German, and that we probably weren’t going to find this poocher’s home like this. We walked back to my cousins’ house and they took the dog to the nearest animal shelter. I didn’t go with them, so I don’t know all of what happened, but I do know that the pooch was happily returned home.

Thank you for reading all these random thoughts of mine. Like I said in my last post, I don’t really know where this blog is going, but now I think it’s really just going to be an unedited travel journal of sorts. You’re all the greatest and I hope you get to pet a super cute dog in your near future.

Tschüß!

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Check-in Before Checking Out

Wow. It’s finally here. For about the past year and a half, this is what has helped keep my sights set forward and my feet moving. I remember hanging up the “Sights of Italy” calendar my mom got me before moving back to Gustavus this Fall. A picture of the Piazza della Signoria in the center of Firenze looked me in the face every morning this past September. I’m in a surreal state of mind that after tomorrow everything will be very different for me.

Tomorrow, I take off to Europe. I’ll start my trip by visiting my cousin and her family in Bielefeld, Germany, and spending a little time in Amsterdam with her. Then, on the 31st I fly to Florence, where I will be studying at Lorenzo de’ Medici. I’ll be taking Italian Language courses (doing my Italian roots proud), an Italian Crime Fiction course, and two different culinary classes, one on Mediterranean vegetarian cuisine and another on Italian nutrition and cooking.

Yeah, I still don’t believe all of that either. I’ve wanted to run away to Italy to become a chef since I first heard Giada de Laurentiis pronounce rigatoni “ree-gah-TOH-neh”. That was around the time I fell in love with food in general. Toss in an Italian family and memories of visiting our nonni’s sausage factory, and I’m hooked to the idea. I promise, I’m not going to go too ham gushing over how cool I think food is on this blog (my roommate gets enough during random 1am outbursts). What I am going to say though, is that food is an art. It utilizes all of the five senses throughout the culinary process. Food is also the best way I know how to exhibit love. My mother’s favorite artist, Brian Andreas, has a quotation that reads:

There are things you do because they feel right & they may make no sense & they may make no money & it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other & to eat each other’s cooking & say it was good.

To love and to eat. Di amare e di mangiare. I’d say that’s a fairly sound way to live.

Even writing all of this down right now, I find it difficult to imagine what tomorrow will be like. I feel like I’m about to finish letting out a two and a half year long breath, and that I am about to take another one. A new life’s about to begin.

So, as you can probably tell by reading this, I have no idea where this blog is going. But, it’s going to be here. I’m just putting it all out there, wanting to share, and also wanting to document. Thanks for taking the time to read – and feel free to comment. I’d love to hear back from some of you.

Also, let me know if I’m doing this whole blog thing right.

Ciao!