The last three weeks have been quite hectic. We welcomed a guest speaker, Dr. Chausovsky from the department of Politics and International Affairs at Fredonia, who spoke about grapes and wine, including their classifications. It was a very informative and fun class, during which we made two kinds of pizzas: one more Americanized and one more Italianized with fresh mozzarella and fresh tomato. Guess what? The latter was soooooo much better than the former!!!! Four NY stars to Dr. Chausovsky for challenging the Americanness of the pizza! He was the one who insisted upon more genuine Italian ingredients! We also enjoyed some locally grown grapes, very kindly provided by Cynthia and Barbara Yochym and by Kevin and Amber Powell: thank you all so much!
The following week, we had a revised version of spaghetti all’amatriciana, so altered that perhaps we shouldn’t even refer to them in this way. They served to help us remember, support, and share the feeling of compassion towards all of the Italian people, cities, and villages impacted so severely by a series of earthquakes that have devastated central Italy since last August. Amatrice, from where the spaghetti all’amatriciana hails, was, in fact, one of the most devastated areas. Love and thoughts to all the Italians affected by these natural disasters. That day, we also prepared a very thin and simple Florentine-style omelette taken from Pellegrino Artusi’s master cookbook, Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, published for the first time in 1891 and representing the unification of Italy from a gastronomic point of view. Finally, our class also enjoyed some Nutella, that we all ate happily that afternoon. Well, I ate mine that night, when I really needed a pick up to cheer me up for something that had left a bad taste in my mouth. It was October 26th, and the Nutella did its job: it cheered me up!
This past Wednesday was devoted to an Italian-American gastronomic exploration since we talked about the Italian immigrants who left Italy for the U.S. at the end of 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Yes, we did it! What? Well… spaghetti with meatballs!!! To be more precise, fettuccine with meatballs, because, as a class, we decided that we prefer eating fettuccine over spaghetti. Our loyal and super chef Dean shared his recipe with us and with all of you who are following us. Grazie mille, Dean!!! The meatballs were soooooo delicious!!!! We really enjoyed them!! Well, I had to explain that in Italy we do NOT eat spaghetti with meatballs!! We eat meatballs, but as a separate second course, not on pasta, not on starch, to quote the characters from the film Big Night. And yes, every week, every class of this journey is a discovery, that we hope to be transformative for the students and readers. Buon appetito, sempre e comunque! By Chiara De Santi