Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Scent and the city

New York, sometimes you're smelly. But I love you anyway.

Photos by Kate Orlinsky at The New York Times

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sexy linguini

Oh, how I love this poem.


It was always linguini between us.
Linguini with white sauce, or
red sauce, sauce with basil snatched from
the garden, oregano rubbed between
our palms, a single bay leaf adrift amidst
plum tomatoes. Linguini with meatballs,
sausage, a side of brascioli. Like lovers
trying positions, we enjoyed it every way
we could-artichokes, mushrooms, little
neck clams, mussels, and calamari-linguini
twining and braiding us each to each.
Linguini knew of the kisses, the smooches,
the molti baci. It was never spaghetti
between us, not cappellini, nor farfalle,
vermicelli, pappardelle, fettucini, perciatelli,
or even tagliarini. Linguini we stabbed, pitched,
and twirled on forks, spun round and round
on silver spoons. Long, smooth, and always
al dente. In dark trattorias, we broke crusty panera,
toasted each other -- La dolce vita! -- and sipped
Amarone, wrapped ourselves in linguini,
briskly boiled, lightly oiled, salted, and lavished
with sauce. Bellissimo, paradisio, belle gente!
Linguini witnessed our slurping, pulling, and
sucking, our unraveling and raveling, chinsg
listening, napkins tucked like bibs in collars,
linguini stuck to lips, hips, and bellies, cheeks
flecked with formaggio -- parmesan, romano,
and shaved pecorino -- strands of linguini flung
around our necks like two fine silk scarves.

By Diane Lockward, from What Feeds Us.

Listen to the fantastic G.K. read it here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

What to do

When you're boss is out of the country, and your boyfriend is on February vacation from school, you should leave your office mid morning and hop on the M15 bus downtown to meet said boyfriend for brunch at Shopsin's.

While you're sitting on the bus, look over the print off of the menu you've stashed in your purse. There are over 600 things on it, and you need to be prepared, because you've heard they can get a little surly if you take too long to decide. Narrow it down to 2 choices. Or 10. Whatever you can manage. Anything under 600 is a good number to shoot for, and believe me, this is hard to do.

When you're waiting for a tight spot at the counter, take it all in. The shelves overhead filled with hot sauce and powdered sugar and cans of beans. The owners sitting in the center of the little dining room, swearing and chatting with customers. People eating from skillets filled with sausages, runny, gorgeous eggs, and vegetables. Plates full of french toast. Sandwiches piled high with a mound of french fries on the side.

Sneak up to the counter when two seats open up, and politely ask if you can sit down. Don't be embarrassed when the owner says, "Shit, no. You just have to stand behind the seats. Okay?" Try to smile and go with it and be a funny, sassy New Yorker, even if you're not. Sit down and make your final decision.

When your chocolate coconut pancakes come, followed by your boyfriends mac and cheese pancakes, don't look too excited. Take it in stride, even though these might be the best pancakes you've ever eaten. Don't gush. Whisper cooly to your boyfriend that these pancakes are pretty good.

Clean your plate. It's okay to feel a bit of pride when the waiter says, "You two did a beautiful job," when he sweeps away the empty dishes. Sneak back to work and try to stay alert, though you feel a food coma coming on.

Friday, February 6, 2009


I'm reading a lovely book by Anthony Doer called Four Seasons in Rome. It's a memior of his time living in Italy in 2004 with his wife and twin baby boys. Reading it makes me miss Italy so much.

I read this passage on the train this morning, and thought it did such a good job describing what makes Italians so magical:
"Italians," our friend George Stoll says, "will stop at anything for pleasure." And the longer we're here, the more we feel he's right. Espresso, silk pajamas, a five-minute kiss, the sleekest, thinnest cell phone, extremely smooth leather. Truffles. Yachts. Four-hour dinners.

The following recipe for a Nuttella Dog, submitted by twelve-year Martina Bartolozzi, appeared in the newspaper the other day. Nutella is a hazelnut-flavored chocolate spread that Italians spread on everything: toast, crepes, breadsticks, cookies, even pizza bianca.

1. Spread the cut sides of a hot dog bun with Nutella.
2. Fill bun with peeled banana "dog."
3. Enjoy.

The third step is the important one, the piacere, the "enjoy."
I think we could all use more espresso, more five-minute kisses, more four-hour dinners. More enjoy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Happy heart day gift guide

I always think it's fun to give grown up toys as part of presents for holidays and birthdays. (And no, I'm not talking about that kind of grown up toy...). Getting clothes and watches and gift cards is great, but the best presents are always fun things that you would never buy for yourself. Here are a few of my absolute favorite food presents to give (and receive!).
  • Citrus limon ‘Meyer’ tree. These heirloom dwarf lemon trees are the hardiest for cool temperatures and makes great potted plants. The fruit is more flavorful than store bought lemons and it bears heavily at a young age. $10.95.
  • New England Cheese Making Supply Company. This site sells all kinds of home cheese making kits, but my favorite is the basic hard cheese kit. With it, you can make cheddar, gouda, monterey jack, feta, cottage cheese, colby, parmesan and ricotta. Basic kits range from $15-$30.

  • Nudo: Adopt an olive tree. Adopt one of Nudo's trees for a year and you'll receive all the produce from your tree. This adorable company even sends you an adoption certificate. In the spring and autumn, you receive packages with olive oil pressed from your tree. They even encourage you to go to the grove to visit your tree in Italy! Price in British pounds, roughly $135.
Wouldn't these be fun surprises for Valentines Day?! I think so.
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