Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fine Dining

I have always loved food. This is why I am not a size 0 super model. Well, that’s not the only reason, but one of the biggies. Here in Florence I get to indulge my appetite. Let’s just say it’s a lot of fun. I get pasta and bread everyday. Fresh fruits, vegetables and mushrooms. Lots and lots of olive oil and garlic. Parmigiano reggiano, pecorino, mozzarella and provolone cheeses (to name a few.) And wine with lunch and dinner, all chosen specifically for each meal by Leif, who knows his stuff when it comes to wine and food.

Just so you understand…it’s not only the food. It’s the whole meal experience. I don’t know if what we do is a real Italian meal, but Leif has lived here for 6 years, so he has shared a few meals with his friends. Who knows, maybe this is as close as a Swede and an American living in Tuscany can get to Italian cooking and dining. It goes something like this:

The pasta pot goes on the stove to boil while we chop the vegetables, garlic and meats. The person not chopping sets the table and cuts the bread. Leif chooses the wine because I have no idea what I am doing with the wine. Whatever will be eaten with the pasta goes into the saute pan first and once the pasta is finished it gets tossed in there too. Then serve up this first plate with a glass of wine and a short toast to each other.

While we eat the first dish, the meat is put into the saute pan to cook. It usually finishes up about the same time we finish our pasta and viola…the second plate. Once we have eaten our fill of meat, we use our bread (my favorite is schiacciata, a sort of flattened focaccia) to clean our plates and then dip it in olive oil till we just can’t eat another bite.

But of course there’s always room for chocolate (sorry dad, I know we usually say there’s always room for ice cream, but times change) with the last of the wine from our glasses. We spend the whole meal talking and cooking together. I never once worry about having all the food on the table at once. It gets there when it’s time and I enjoy the ease of that pace.

And yes, this is how I eat most every meal except for breakfast. Which as I recall was a specific request from several people when I started this blog. “We want to hear all about what you are doing, but please don’t tell us what you had for breakfast.” So I haven’t, you will have to use your imagination.

PS Last night I had dinner with a new friend who has lived here for 20 years and is married to an Italian. I have discovered that, yes, this is how meals are done in Italy. I love it here!

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