We like Lidia Bastianich

Today, I received my newsletter from Lidia Bastianich. I would like to believe she sent it to me, personally, and no one else. After all, I love to cook - and I love to eat - and I'm half Italian. So, why not?
Lidia writes that spring is here. Although, I'm aware spring has arrived, I enjoy that the announcement of the vernal equinox is revealed to me by someone whose culinary and teaching skills I truly admire - immensely. Even before reading further, I know Lidia will tell me which vegetables are best at this very moment. And she comes through!
Just last week, after reading a story in Sunset Magazine about Cookbook (neighborhood green grocer) in Echo Park, Los Angeles, where I found the most beautiful fava beans, I had a hunch I would be reading about a fava bean recipe in this newsletter - and there it was: Orecchiette with Favas and Cherry Tomatoes.
My Italian Grandmother taught me how to remove fava beans from their pods and how to cook them. I remember her teaching me how to prepare Baccalà; dry salted cod reconstituted in water, prepared with potatoes, leeks, garlic and favas - drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Delicious! I look forward to preparing Lidia's recipe soon - perhaps improvising and adding basil instead of arugula.
Watching Lidia's Italy, I often think about my Grandmother (Nonna), my Mother and my two Aunts - all excellent cooks; all with their own special dishes. My Mother often strayed from her Italian roots, preparing dishes from China and Mexico. I remember long rice with shrimp or enchiladas filled with ground beef. Living in San Francisco, it was (and is) easy to find ingredients for any type of cuisine: China Town, the Mission District for Mexican ingredients and North Beach for anything Italian.
I have fond memories around food, wine and a table filled with relatives and friends. So, whenever, Lidia invites us to her table, exclaiming, "Tutti a tavola a mangiare!", I am transported back through time. Needless to say, food is important in my life - for it's healing properties (see earlier stories about Sally Kravich and Ani Phyo), and because it brings us to the table - to laugh, to tell stories of the past and present, and most importantly, to enjoy the delicious flavors of all the world's cuisines.
"Lidia, next time you invite me to your table, I will bring the wine!" So, invite me - PLEASE.
Lidia's Italy website
Cookbook LA


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