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Elizabeth
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Erratum just in case you're in a literal mood: I know you'd buy half a kilo or a few *etti* of prosciutto vs. a pound.
Toggle Commented Jul 20, 2009 on Is there a new dining culture afoot? at Aroma Cucina
1 reply
Today's lunchtime routine of polishing off last week's goodies to make room for yesterday's purchases at the farmers market included a plateful of tomato-braised Roma beans (i.e. using the *authentic* ;) technique for preparing the dish). Even so, I would like to raise a completely different issue. I know that Italian markets are often located in buildings, or if open air, they are surrounded by shops where you can pick up other groceries such as bread, cheese, milk, meat, both fresh and cured. With the large farmers' market movement in the U.S., we don't have that handy set-up because few specialty grocers exist anymore. When they are around, they are usually not the old mom and pop operation, but very pricey "gourmet" stores. Of course, there are major exceptions to this rule in places such as NYC, Atlanta, San Francisco, but I am talking in generalities. So, let me get to the point: you can go to an open-air market and get someone to slice off a pound of salumi or prosciutto to wrap up and sell to you, right? Here, in my hometown, no. It's got to be pre-sliced and vacuum sealed in very expensive packaging. Therefore, lovingly cured ham from local chestnut-eating, woods-roaming pigs costs both your arms to get just an ounce of the porcine leg and it just isn't half as fresh and moist as it was when its producer sliced it. I am all for not dying because of the food I eat, but I am frustrated by what seem like laws written by an ignorant culture, especially since there are scarier aspects of our nation's meat industry. So, would you kindly go out, observe, converse, and report back? Grazie mille!
Toggle Commented Jul 20, 2009 on Is there a new dining culture afoot? at Aroma Cucina
1 reply
So, did you make soup with the stinging nettles or a frittata like Apicius and me?
Toggle Commented Apr 30, 2009 on Orto Report at Aroma Cucina
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Hey--say hello to Italy for me! And while you're at it, get me some pits or seeds for white-flesh peaches w chartreuse skin and fuchsia around the pits, please! (For Winn & Freddie of Quaker Valley Farm.) I will owe you big, but I am good for it. Now, back to this particular Chartreuse. The lovely, lovely film has a counterpart in culinary literature. Get your hands on *The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth* by Roy Andries de Groot (NY: Ecco Press, 1973). First reference for me was in a biography (sort of) about Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, though there is also a glowing comment from Julia Child on the backcover of the library copy I am reading. Exquisite writing: not precious, just real good. VERY old fashioned, time-consuming recipes, but that is part of the charm, too. In any respect, the author stumbled upon his subject when planning to research the monks's liqueur and ended up falling in love w the part of France they occupy, especially the food and way of life offered by the owners of the titular inn.
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2009 on The Last Word at Aroma Cucina
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Did you see "The World According to Monsanto?" USDA and FDA are not to be trusted, either. Yet. So, I'd be as suspicious as you are about the bill and motivation. I know great farmers who use primarily organic practices, but don't bother w certification; some market patrons won't buy their stuff because it isn't organic, so you are preaching to the choir. Still, I think there must be a sensible way to deal w food safety standards.
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2009 on What did I miss? at Aroma Cucina
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Jude: I haven't read the bill yet, so, yes, you can call me on ignorant remarks. Nonetheless, there is something to be said for oversight of small farms that sell food to the general public. Not all farmers markets are managed by organizations as professional as the one most familiar to me, i.e. w trained and certified staff well-versed in food safety standards who make a point of conducting annual site visits that include inspections. Nor are all farmers noble, informed and as wise as the ones I know, especially when they're overworked, struggling w small operations that are short-handed and worked by folk who are not as invested in the labor as the farmers themselves. Do you think health inspections should be mandated for national food chains while small, family-run restaurants should be exempt? As long as you are not selling your garden's produce, you should be free to spray w either Roundup or ladybug spit, plant more than 250 feet from a bathroom w hot water facilities, etc., no? Or is this proposal similar to measures that banned home-made birthday cakes from public schools?
Toggle Commented Mar 24, 2009 on What did I miss? at Aroma Cucina
1 reply