Recreating Memories in the Kitchen

I can’t remember exactly when it was, but recently I learned an Italian phrase that I had never heard before: “fare la scarpetta.” Roughly translated “to do the little shoe,” the terms refer to the act of taking a piece of bread and soaking up the remnants of gravy or soup or whatever meal leftovers remain.

Upon investigating, I learned that the “shoe” reference is a metaphorical description of the bread. Like a shoe being dragged in the mud, the bread soaks up the sauce and becomes saturated with flavor. Continue reading

An Old-School Italian Cook

My aunt is a stereotypical, older Italian lady. She won’t leave the house without lipstick. She yells at her husband whenever she teases him. And of course, she can cook a mean gravy.

Most of my memories with my aunt come from visiting at her house by the beach in Rhode Island. Although she lives only 45 minutes away, 45 minutes of travel for Rhode Islanders is a long way. Because of this, I usually only saw my aunt and uncle a few of times a year. Once on Christmas Eve for the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes and then maybe a couple of times in the summer when we wanted an escape to the beach.  Continue reading

La Carne Non Più: Meat No More

This is one of my favorite stories to share, so please forgive me if you are someone who is hearing it for the bagillionth time.

As many of you know, last spring semester I studied away from the Georgetown Hilltop and relocated to the hillside of Fiesole in Florence, Italy. During those four months abroad, I commuted from my homestay to attend classes at Georgetown’s Tuscan villa, Villa Le Balze. As a homestay, I lived with another female student from the program in the home of a local family. My host mother was the sweetest, tiniest woman, and, as could be expected, she was an incredible cook. Every meal at Flavia’s table reminded me of those Sunday mornings as a child spent with my Italian great grandmothers. Continue reading

Un Giro a Siena

This past weekend I took a trip to Siena.

While I wish I could say that I was in the Tuscan city that is world-famous for the Palio horse race, its neighborhood rivalries and cuisine, I spent this Saturday evening in a local restaurant, imagining myself transported to the Italian province.

Located in Rhode Island’s Little Italy area known as Federal Hill, Siena restaurant promises diners “authentic Tuscan cuisine in a warm, inviting and lively atmosphere.” Having spent the last semester in Tuscany, I have been on a search for someplace where I could taste the flavors I fell in love with overseas. Continue reading

My First Kitchen[s]

Julia Child's Cambridge, MA Kitchen

Some girls dream about their first house with a white picket fence, a large yard for the dog and the kids to run around, and a front porch complete with a rocking chair. While this image seems absolutely wonderful, my idea of my first home is very different. For me, images of a fence or a yard or a porch do not cross my mind. Instead, my dream home is based around what my kitchen would like.

When I was a little girl one of my favorite “toys” was my play kitchen. Though it was relatively simple compared to the ones today with battery-powered microwaves, light fixtures, and ovens that chime, I adored everything about it. I could spend hours placing plastic fruit in the blender for “smoothies” or flipping “eggs” in the fry pan to serve my dolls for breakfast. Playing in the kitchen, I felt like a mother, the person the family could rely on to literally put food on the table. Perhaps an early sign of my future love of cooking, those moments with that kitchen are some of my favorite memories of childhood. Continue reading

Tale of Two Markets

There is a place in D.C. where for a moment I feel like I am back in Florence.

During my time abroad one of my favorite things to do when I was not traveling or studying in class was to go down into the city and visit the San Lorenzo market within the Piazza di Mercato Centrale. Selling genuine Florentine and other Italian products, including leather jackets, handbags, Pashmina scarves, jewelry, and even aprons adorned with David, the market at San Lorenzo has something for everybody. Continue reading