Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Delicious

I am of the belief that for all the joyful experiences and happy remembrances a family vacation brings with them we must sometimes bare heightened tensions, sensitive nerves, and not-always-welcomed insights into one another’s character and the complex nature of closely bound relationships. It is the combined adventure of stepping into the unknown or unfamiliar, coupled with the inordinate time spent in undiluted company, that brings about such familial lightheartedness and oftentimes, drama. In other words, travelling with loved ones can be a real bitch.

With the whirlwind touring of sights and teeming streets of steamy Rome and Florence behind us, I’m taking today, a rather uncertain day weather-wise, to review and organize our travel photos to share with you as inspiration, perhaps propelling you on an adventure of your own, culinary and otherwise. Sitting here in our rented house in our favorite retreat, the tiny hillside village of Panzano in Chianti, I scan the pictures, marveling most at the bounty of colors and flavors offered to us at restaurant tables, and overwhelming the bins and shelves of numerous stalls of every kind of food merchant imaginable. Within these amateur photographs lies for me, that which is the joy of Italy and the expressions of my life.

Cooking is something I turn to in times of great joy, terrible sadness and everyday monotony. It is for me, the best means of communicating my deep need to nurture others, thereby nourishing myself. No wonder then, my heart fills, my eyes widen, and my pulse races when I come upon the sumptuousness of Italian markets and kitchens. The flavor combinations are limitless, anything is possible, and I want to share it with those that I love. Who can gaze upon these treasures and not feel the same?

With creative juices flowing and excitement mounting, I quickly jot ideas in a tiny notebook for future experimentation upon returning to my own kitchen in Los Angeles.

These eye-popping porcini we discovered at the Mercato Centrale in the San Lorenzo area of Florence are waiting to be softly sautéed and tossed gently with homemade tagliatelli and a drizzle of truffle oil. Reminded of the utter simplicity of the Italian cuisine, I will restrain from adding other elements, such as cheese or cream to the dish, and simply offer the pungent earthy flavors of the earth at my table. And all will be right with the world, at least for a time…..

1 comment:

  1. Lovely pix---can't wait to see them in a larger size, so I can identify everything...yummm.
    p.s. count me in for that tagliatelli!