April 4, 2011

Florence. September, 1984

Today, a “postcard” from Florence of the Ponte Vecchio and the River Arno, taken from a window in the Uffizi...and a story from my friend and former colleague Lou. He and his wife, frequent visitors to the Tuscan city, were dining al fresco at one of their favorite trattorie, this one in the Piazza della Signoria, steps from the towering (copy of) David by Michelangelo. At the next table, an American tourist couple, the wife of which was fretting over the menu and grilling the waiter. “Do you have diet soda?” “I need something that’s low-carb.” “Do you have any fat-free entrees?” “What can you suggest as a low-calorie choice?” The waiter, a charming but increasingly exasperated Florentine, well-accustomed to tourists but unprepared for this kind of questioning, finally replied, “Signora, this is a restaurant, not a hospital.”


  1. And, the somewhat opposite story -- cooking for a 16-year-old boy tonight.

    There was the T-bone steak cooked medium rare the way he likes it, with Salsa Verde to spread on top.

    There was the side mixture of Italian green peppers, onions and pierogies -- the peppers still slightly crisp, they way I think they should be.

    And the end result: My son was shoveling it in, fast, exactly like I did when I was 16.

    But then, mostly-way through, he looked up, held out a half pierogi and said, "Dad, this is really good, what is it?" And I explained that Momma Ts, the manufacturer, had recently created a new pierogi, nuevo Polish: feta cheese, spinach and potato. I had mixed some in, amid my usual favored four-cheese blend, and we were trying them out tonight.

    We talked for a while about ethnic cuisine, and cuisine nuevo, what you can grow in some countries, and American steaks.

    And I suddenly saw a torch, handed off -- handed off, I tell you, to a new generation.

    Food is love.

  2. What a great comment, though no southern Italian like me would ever condone al dente peppers...