Saturday, December 18, 2010

Florence/Tuscany in the snow

(Photo courtesy of Il Corriere della Sera)

Florence and the rest of Tuscany are buried under with snow!

Well, they'll have a bianco natale so that's nice!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Italy -- out of control -- yesterday

I know we don't normally think of Italy as a scary place, but the protests yesterday that occurred in Rome after the Prime Minister survived a narrow confidence vote in Parliament are just that: scary.

See for yourself in the video at the link below (after the quick ad for parmesan cheese).

http://video.corriere.it/assalto-camionetta-guardia-finanza/ba043e5e-083d-11e0-b759-00144f02aabc

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ce l'ha fatta Berlusconi?

Ma com'e' possibile?

C'e' da dire, pero': una rissa in aula? Priceless.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Oggi, tutto all'americano (Thanksgiving)

Il tacchino, come forse sapete, il piatto tipico della nostra festa di ringraziamento

Le patate

Insalata di bietola, che sinceramente non è un piatto tipico per la cena di Thanksgiving, ma Il Cuoco, cioè Il Nostro Inviato, è molto bravo in cucina e voleva fare qualcosa di speciale.

La torta di mele -- ci mancherebbe altro! Da noi c'è un detto: As American as apple pie. Vuol dire: Tanto americano quanto la torta di mele. Quindi la torta di mele non si salta.

L'anno prossimo venite a trovarci! Vi faremo sapere un po' della nostra festa nazionale.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mantra of the Day

Dal nostro caro amico Giovanni:

"Quando un uomo con la pistola incontra un uomo con la penna, l'uomo con la pistola è un uomo morto, perché la penna rende immortali!"

--- Roberto Benigni

Translation: When a man carrying a gun meets a man with a pen, the man carrying the gun is a dead man because the pen makes us immortal!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

NYT: End of Berlusconi era?

Italy Senses Berlusconi Era Is Nearing End
By RACHEL DONADIO
Published: November 12, 2010
Analysts say a call for a confidence vote against the prime minister is expected to bring down the government within weeks.

Read article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/13/world/europe/13italy.html

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Ciao Bocca in Atlanta

As I've said before, Italy ruined sandwiches for me.

When I first arrived in Italy as a student, I would eat one sandwich, and one sandwich only: mozzarella con pomodoro.

When the bread is locally-made, and the mozzarella is fresh and slightly damp, and the tomatoes are good, there's really nothing better.

Really, when you can buy a sandwich like that, you don't need mustard or mayonnaise. I used to order this sandwich at a small dive bar in Siena called Il Pozzo, and the German proprietor would toast the sandwich slightly, and oh, it was heaven.

Later on, when I began eating meat again, I realized life is even better when you add prosciutto crudo to a sandwich. (It's only fair to say at this point that prosciutto crudo improves just about any situation!).

How good are Italian sandwiches? Well, when I was driving from Rome to Puglia a few years back, I stopped a few times at autogrills, i.e., rest stops along the highway, and even at these places, the bread was fresh, the mozzarella was good and the prosciutto had been sliced that morning.

But the discovery of the Italian sandwich makes life hard in America. I mean, eating at Subway just simply isn't the same.

So you can imagine how lovely it is to find a little treasure like Ciao Bocca, which opened earlier this year at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market, near downtown Atlanta.

I included the lunch counter, and its owner, Deborah Kudelka (in photo above), in a story I recorded for WABE 90.1, Atlanta's NPR affiliate.

You can listen to the story here:
http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wabe/news.newsmain/article/1/0/1709237/Atlanta./Downtown.Atlanta.market.comes.back.to.life

She makes a variation of my favorite sandwich that uses pancetta instead of prosciutto. It includes baby arugula and it's a delight!

And Deborah offers daily specials, which can be anything from a specialty sandwich (for example, the grilled portabella sandwich you see in the top photo) or a pasta dish. And she serves fantastic salads as well.

Her lunch counter reminds me of the food stalls that I used to see at the markets in Italy, but also the markets in Mexico, too. You know, the places where the market workers eat, often the simplest places, and the ones with the best local food. And that's no surprise since Deborah comes from fine Roman stock (she says she learned how to cook in part from her aunt).

Below, you can see what her homemade ravioli look like. Truly squisiti! The photo is not the best, but her food is: on the left is a sample of her ravioli with portabella mushrooms and on the right is one with a pumpkin mixture (its orangey goodness breaking through the pasta sheath like an egg served sunny side up). Oh my Lord are they good!

So buon appetito and I'll see you at Ciao Bocca!


Ciao Bocca at the Sweet Auburn Curb Market
209 Edgewood Avenue (Jesse Hill Jr. Drive)
Atlanta, Ga.
http://www.sweetauburncurbmarket.com/

Friday, October 22, 2010

Alessi @ Eataly


In my post yesterday about my visit to Eataly, the new Italian food and drink emporium in New York's Flatiron District, I forgot to say that I did buy something!

A wonderful Alessi cheese grater.

We bought it to replace another wonderful Alessi cheese grater that bit the dust in the dishwasher! (Troppo calore)

Leave it to Alessi to create such a cool, functional cheese grater. The round plastic cradle acts as storage for cheese during your meal.

And Il Nostro Inviato has to have grated parmiggiano at the ready at all times!

I highly recommend the grater either for yourself or as a gift. But be careful when you wash it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Eataly @ NYC (c/o Slow Food)

(Photo credit: Lana Adinne via Flickr)

I was in New York last month and the early part of this month, and while there, I was able to visit Eataly, the new branch in the Flatiron District of an expanding Italian food emporium.

Slow Food, which is dedicated to honoring the origins of and protecting the source of traditional dishes, is a consultant to the Eataly folks.

Just about everything you might want to eat or drink in Italy is sold at Eataly. Prosciutto. Mozzarella. Coffee. Wine. Even craft beer.

I was a little disappointed that I could only find Lavazza coffee at Eataly; while planning my visit, I managed to convince myself that I would be able to find Quarta or Guglielmo coffee.

Alas no.

But it's a gorgeous, secular temple to Italian food. The wine there is fantastic, the plates of affettati and cheese are wonderful, and the buzz at Eataly was infectious.

And I can happily report, the food and wine hall is full of sayings and signs in Italian.

Pretty soon, the average New Yorker is going to know words like il pesce, la birra, crudo and lo sconto!

And..... Mario Batali, who is one of the partners behind the new supermarket, was at Eataly while I was there!

To learn more about Eataly, see this article in the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/20/dining/reviews/20Eataly.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Eataly&st=cse

Eataly
200 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ecco perché alla fine della giornata siamo nervosi...

Dalla nostra cara amica Ilaria:


Dicono che tutti i giorni dobbiamo mangiare una mela per il ferro e una banana per il potassio.

Anche un'arancia per la vitamina C e una tazza di the verde senza zucchero per prevenire il diabete.

Tutti i giorni dobbiamo bere due litri d'acqua (sì, e poi espellerli, che richiede il doppio del tempo che hai perso per berli).

Ogni giorno un'aspirina, per prevenire l'infarto, e un bicchiere di Vino rosso, sempre contro l'infarto ed un altro di bianco, per il sistema nervoso, ed uno di birra, che già non mi ricordo per che cosa era.

Se li bevi tutti insieme, ti può dare un'emorragia cerebrale, però non ti preoccupare, perché non te ne renderai neanche conto.

Tutti i giorni bisogna mangiare fibra. Molta, moltissima fibra, finché riesci a cagare un maglione. Si devono fare tra i 4 e 6 pasti quotidiani, leggeri, senza dimenticare di masticare 100 volte ogni boccone.

Facendo i calcoli, solo per mangiare se ne vanno 5 ore.

Ah, e dopo ogni pasto bisogna lavarsi i denti, ossia dopo l'Actimel e la fibra lavati i denti, dopo la mela i denti, dopo la banana i denti... e così via finché ti rimangono 3 denti in bocca, senza dimenticarti di usare il filo interdentale, massaggiare le gengive, il risciacquo con Listerine...

Bisogna dormire otto ore e lavorare altre otto, più le 5 necessarie per mangiare, allora 21. Te ne rimangono 3, sempre che non ci sia traffico.

Secondo le statistiche, vediamo la tele per tre ore al giorno.

Già, non si può, perché tutti i giorni bisogna camminare almeno mezz'ora (attenzione: dopo 15 minuti torna indietro, se no la mezz'ora diventa una).

Bisogna mantenere le amicizie perché sono come le piante, bisogna innaffiarle tutti i giorni. Inoltre, bisogna tenersi informati, e leggere per lo meno due giornali e un paio di articoli di rivista, per una lettura critica.

Ah!, si deve fare l'amore tutti i giorni, però senza cadere nella routine: bisogna essere innovatori, creativi, e rinnovare la seduzione.

Bisogna anche avere il tempo di spazzare per terra, lavare i piatti, i panni, e non parliamo se hai un cane o ... dei FIGLI???

Insomma, per farla breve, i conti danno 29 ore al giorno.

L'unica possibilità che mi viene in mente è fare varie cose contemporaneamente: per esempio: ti fai la doccia con acqua fredda e con la bocca aperta così ti bevi i due litri d'acqua. Mentre esci dal bagno con lo spazzolino in bocca fai l'amore (tantrico) col compagno/a che nel frattempo guarda la tele e ti racconta, mentre tu lavi per terra.

Ti è rimasta una mano libera?? Chiama i tuoi amici! E i tuoi genitori. Bevi il vino (dopo aver chiamato i tuoi ne avrai bisogno). Il BioPuritas con la mela te lo può dare il tuo compagno/a, mentre si mangia la banana con l'Actimel, e domani fate cambio.

Però se ti rimangono due minuti liberi, invia questo messaggio ai tuoi amici (che bisogna innaffiare come una pianta).

Adesso ti lascio; tra lo yogurt, la mela, la birra, il primo litro d'acqua e il terzo pasto con fibra della giornata, già non so più cosa sto facendo ... però devo andare urgentemente al bagno.

E ne approfitto per lavarmi i denti....

SE TI HO GIÁ MANDATO QUESTO MESSAGGIO, PERDONAMI PERÓ É L'ALZHEIMER, CHE NONOSTANTE TUTTE LE CURE NON SONO RIUSCITA A COMBATTERE.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pomodorini!

Ci sono ancora i pomodorini nel giardino. Infatti ce ne sono di piu' ora che l'autunno è arrivato!

Va perfetto perché io come io non voglio accettare che l'estate è passato. E col tempo ancora calduccio qui ad Atlanta e questi pomodorini, posso far finta.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Vespa mania in Atlanta


People who love Vespas in the U.S. really love Vespas because riding scooters is really not all that wide-spread still.


These photos are from a Vespa rally that took place in Atlanta last month.

Ho fatto questa foto quassu' perche' mi piace vedere gli scritti in italiano. Ora si vedono tante parole in italiano qui in USA. Mi garba!


You see a lot of Vespas around Atlanta. And it makes sense: il bel tempo!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Prosecco, ormai diffuso in USA


Ultimamente, quando voglio passare il pomeriggio perfetto, faccio cosi:

*Faccio un giro in bicicletta per Atlanta da casa nostra fino al parco principale (Piedmont Park)

*Poi ci fermiamo ad un locale che si accosta al parco e ci mettiamo a sedere fuori

*Per ultimo, prendo un po' di prosecco e godo il bel tempo!

Ormai nelle città grandi in USA, non è difficile trovare il prosecco sia al supermercato che ai locali.

Prosecco dopo un bel giro in bici ci vuole. Ecco le prove qui sotto che prima di rilassarmi, faccio un po' di attività fisica! (Nel caso che non vi fidate!)


Cin cin!

Monday, August 30, 2010

La luna e i falò -- ho finito di leggerlo!

Finalmente vi posso dire che ho finito di leggere La luna e i falò' di Cesare Pavese. (Infatti l'ho finito qualche settimana fa ma ero un po' presa da lavoro e non avevo tempo di inserire quest'argomento).

E' un pezzo che volevo leggerlo. E ricordo che durante gli anni universitari, il libro ha fatto parte di un corso che ho saltato.

Non so perchè, ma è stata una lettura difficilissima per me. Mi pare che ci siano diverse parole nel libro che hanno a che fare con la campagna e la fattoria (appunto: la parola falò, che mi incuriosisce molto), ed è per quello che l'ho letto a stento.

Leggo romanzi italiani spesso -- fra cui libri di Silone, Moravia, Sciascia, ecc -- e ormai mi capita poco spesso che devo rivolgermi al vocabolario, e capita quasi mai che devo tenere il Ragazzini-Zanichelli accanto a me sul divano ma guarda un po.....


Oltre al vocabolario nella foto, potete vedere l'elenco di nuovi vocaboli mi sono segnato. Fra cui:

Fastello
Cascina
Salice
Grinfie
Canna
Canneto
Biroccino

E cosi via....va bene: vale la pena!

Buona lettura ragazzi!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer dinner: Bistecca fiorentina


Ahhh....Il Nostro Inviato. Sa cucinare lui!

Every now and again the chef grills up a steak, and it's always delicious!

What you see in the picture is essentially a bistecca fiorentina (same cut, same cooking style), which our friends in Florence used to devour on a very regular basis.

In fact, we used to ring up some ridiculous bills at places like La Cantinetta in the Florentine countryside because the large bisteccas served there were not cheap.

Put over a bed of arugula and topped with shaved parmeggiano, it's a very simple dish. And man is it good!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Cesare Pavese vuol che io soffra....

Sto leggendo "La luna e i falò". Si, sto leggendolo ancora!

AIUTO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Proprio un sacco di parole che non conosco.

E sinceramente a volte perdo anche il filo del discorso.

Solo io? Sono grulla?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Foto: cena stile americana


Quasi pronti per mangiare.....


Stasera si mangiano i taco con il mais, pollo e queso fresco. Ormai cena stile americana comprende la cucina messicana.

Buon appetito!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

NYT Business: "Is Italy Too Italian?"

Molto interessante......Soprattutto questi due brani:

"To understand why...so much of Italy, is stagnant or worse, requires a bit of geopolitical history and a look at the highly idiosyncratic business culture here. It is defined, to a large degree, by deep-seated mistrust — not just of the government, but of anyone who isn’t part of the immediate family — as well as a widespread aversion to risk and to growth that to American eyes looks almost quaint."


"...Of course, the worship of growth has its limitations. The American economy is vastly more robust, but instead of family-owned bakeries, which seem to dot every hectare of Italy, we’ve got Quiznos. And for all the efficiency and horsepower in Germany, no character in a movie has ever welled up and sighed, “We’ll always have Stuttgart.”

Potete leggere il resto dell'articolo qui:

Business
Is Italy Too Italian?
By DAVID SEGAL
Published: July 31, 2010
Like much of the Italian economy, the Carlo Barbera factory is struggling, for reasons that academics say reveal much about what ails Italy.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/business/global/01italy.html

Friday, July 30, 2010

"10 - 100 - 1000 -10000 R. Saviano...."

Trovato su un muro nel Mezzogiorno:

«10 - 100 - 1000 -10000 R. Saviano per i (casalesi) del clan»

*Ma cosa vuol dire? Lucy, mi puoi aiutare? Non capisco.

Ecco un brano sulle scritte da Corriere.it (su CORRIERE DEL MEZZOGIORNO.it):

Casal di Principe: 10-100-1000 Saviano per i casalesi (del clan)
L'inno sui muri

Dopo le scritte ingiuriose comparse a più riprese dopo il successo di Gomorra le prime lodi a Roberto Saviano


CASERTA - Per usare le parole del presidente di Libera Caserta, Valerio Taglione, viene da pensare «qualcosa pur si muove» guardando le scritte su Roberto Saviano comparse sui muri dello stadio comunale di Casal di Principe.

Perché, a differenza di quanto accaduto in passato — come nel 2008 e non solo a Casale, ma anche a Castel Volturno e Villa Literno — quelle non sono scritte ingiuriose: «10 - 100 - 1000 -10000 R. Saviano per i (casalesi) del clan», campeggia sul muro.

Il primo segnale di questo tipo che viene da una città, Casal di Principe, da sempre poco tenera nei confronti dello scrittore napoletano che ha portato alla ribalta nazionale e internazionale i sogni di gloria di una malavita abituata a vivere «rinchiusa», quasi al sicuro, nel suo mondo piccolo, pur pensando in grande.

E' arrivata la burrata!

I received an email from an Atlanta restaurant called Sotto Sotto that they had received a shipment of burrata from Puglia.

This is a very good sign!

Slowly but surely genuine Italian foodways are making their way over to the U.S. I used to order burrata at a restaurant in Firenze called Borgo Antico. It's so tender that it melts in your mouth.

If you want to learn more about burrata, here's the email:

We’re Big on Burrata
Sotto Sotto would like to introduce you to a unique cheese just in from Italy – burrata.

Made fresh yesterday, our burrata selection arrived at the restaurant today, and we'll be serving it first come, first serve until it's gone!

First crafted circa 1920, burrata is an established artisanal specialty of Southern Italy. Deliciously creamy and oozing with layers of oh-so-comforting flavors, burrata's uniqueness lies in the buttery texture of the cheese's center, made from fresh cream and shredded pieces of mozzarella called stracciatella.

The cheese is delicately wrapped in the protective leaves of asfodelo, an herb-like plant similar to leeks, tied into a sac with a simple blade of grass. Slice into this tantalizing treat, typically served warm, and be rewarded with a taste of three different textures and flavors all at once - the sweetness of the cream, the shredded mozzarella with a touch of acidity and the more complex outer layer.

Sotto Sotto
313 N. Highland Avenue Northeast
Atlanta
(404) 523-6678

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer dinner, Italian-style


Da cominciare, prosciutto e melone.


Poi, come primo...le tagliatelle ai pomodori.

I think we also had a secondo but I guess I didn't take a photo!

Da bere: a bottle of Torre Quarto Uva di Troia Bottaccia IGT Puglia 2006

Buon appetito!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tanto per cambiare (vino)

I don't drink many Italian merlots and I don't drink very many wines from Northeast Italy.

But hey, tanto per cambiare.

The wine in the picture is: a Ca Donini Merlot Delle Venezie IGT

It was good! A great everyday bottle of red.

For Atlanta wine lovers, I bought it at Toscano & Sons on the city's Westside. I think you can probably find it cheaper elsewhere, but I needed to stock up on coffee and biscotti so I threw it into the basket.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I love Guglielmo. Not the man.....


The coffee.....

Thanks to my friend Mike for supplying me with a few packages of Guglielmo coffee (Sai, il caffe che fa centro!).

Guglielmo is from Calabria, and I think once you've had coffee from southern Italy, you never truly go back to thinking Lavazza is good enough.

For more information, visit the American site: http://www.lespressousa.com/index.php

Monday, June 28, 2010

What I'm Reading: “La luna e i falò”

Yes, yes I'm finally getting around to reading Cesare Pavese's classic, "La luna e i falò.”

I think I was meant to have read it in college but must have been busy doing something else!

What's it about? Superficially, it tells the story of an Italian man who returns to his small village after having made it in America. More broadly, it's about politics, and memory.

And just where did I pick up this copy of the book?

The Atlanta Public Library!

Yes, it's true.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Panino perfetto -- in Boston!

Prosciutto crudo + mozzarella + peperoni + pane = panino perfetto

From the Salumeria Italiana in Boston's North End

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Auguri Ilaria ! -- 2 giorni in anticipo



Ho scattato questa foto a New York l'anno scorso, sapendo che prima o poi mi sarebbe servita!

Auguri alla mia cara amica Ilaria!

Buon compleanno. Spero che tu ti diverta!

Un abbraccio forte forte dai tuoi amici in America :-)...

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Zingara" di Iva Zanicchi



I fell in love with this song when I saw the movie "Il Compleanno" (see review on April 12).

You'll need to ignore the slide show of gypsy women ("zingare") but I wanted to post this version rather than the live versions I found on YouTube that I didn't think were as good.

The song played while two of the movie's main characters are riding on a motorbike near the beach. It just shouts out 'summer' and 'freedom'!

Here are the words:

Prendi questa mano,
zingara,
dimmi pure che destino avrò
parla del mio amore,
io non ho paura
perché
lo so
che ormai
non m'appartiene.

Guarda nei miei occhi,
zingara
vedi l'oro dei capelli suoi.
Dimmi se ricambia
parte del mio amore,
devi dirlo
questo
tocca a te.

Ma se e' scritto che
lo perderò,
come neve al sole
si scioglierà
un amore.

Prendi questa mano,
zingara

Ma se e' scritto che
lo perderò,
come neve al sole
si scioglierà
un amore.

Prendi questa mano,
zingara,
leggi pure che destino avrò
Dimmi che mi ama,
dammi la speranza,
solo questo
conta
ormai per me.


Godi!

Friday, May 14, 2010

New Ligabue album out this week!



"ARRIVEDERCI, MOSTRO!" è il nuovo album di Luciano Ligabue. Questo disco esce a esattamente vent'anni dal primo (pubblicato nel maggio 1990), con l'importante compito di demarcare un nuovo inizio.

One of the first singles, "Nel Tempo," is above. Here's a preview of all the songs on the new album:



Not sure if it sounds like one of his best (hard to beat past albums that included songs such as "Certe Notti"), but certainly worth a listen. And without a doubt, he'd be worth seeing live.

Infatti, if you're going to be in Italy this summer, check him out:

09/07 Roma Stadio Olimpico (SOLD OUT!)
10/07 Roma Stadio Olimpico
13/07 Firenze Stadio A. Franchi
16/07 Milano Stadio San Siro (SOLD OUT!)
17/07 Milano Stadio San Siro
20/07 Padova Stadio Euganeo
24/07 Messina Stadio S.Filippo
02/08 Pescara Stadio Adriatico (nuova data!)
07/08 Oristano Aeroporto Fenosu (nuova data!)

Study Italian in Calabria or Basilicata

I recently received this email about a summer Study Abroad program, which is open to adults as well as college students:

Studia l'Italiano e Scopri la Cultura del Mediterraneo
Study Italian and Discover Mediterranean Culture

If you are interested in an unforgettable summer experience, intensive language lessons and profound cultural immersion, film shoots, cinema classes, cooking courses and more, please visit our website: www.derada.com

The De Rada Institute will sponsor the shooting of two movies this summer in Calabria:

Il ritorno di Norman by Renato Guzzardi

and

Illegal by Eva Benedikt (Film Producer: Demetrio Loricchio)

De Rada is offering 10 Special Scholarships for the Celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the program.

Here are the scholarships available for the programs in Calabria, Puglia and Basilicata:

Vincenzino Selvaggi Grant: $1,000
Giuseppe Faraco Grant: $900
Girolamo De Rada Grant: $800
Girolamo De Rada Grant: $700
San Nilo Grant: $600
Sant'Adriano Grant: $500
San Demetrio Grant: $400
Girolamo De Rada Grant: $300
Teresina Bellucci Grant: $200
Giovanni Andrea Bellucci Grant: $100

For more information, application requirements, and other grant opportunities visit
http://www.derada.com/calabria/grants.htm

Best Wishes,

Michelangelo La Luna
Associate Professor of Italian
Director of the URI & De Rada Summer Program in Italy
www.derada.com
Office Hours: M-W 11:00-noon and by app.
159 Swan Hall,
University of Rhode Island,
60 Upper College Road,
Kingston, RI 02881 (USA)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Una barza

A joke passed on from my friend, Ilaria.

La storia è reale. L'articolo tratto da una rubrica di notizie del
Washington post (ecco giustificato l'italiano non perfetto della traduzione).

Titolo: Ah, The Italians!

Circa un mese fa, un italiano è entrato in una banca di New York e ha chiesto di parlare con un impiegato addetto ai prestiti. Dice di doversi recare in Italia per un mese e che ha bisogno di un prestito di 5,000 dollari.

Il funzionario ovviamente gli comunica che la banca richiede alcune forme di garanzia per concedere un prestito. Così l'italiano ha tirato fuori le chiavi di una Ferrari.

La macchina era parcheggiata in strada di fronte alla banca. L'italiano consegna anche il libretto di circolazione e i documenti dell'assicurazione. Il funzionario accetta di ricevere l'auto come garanzia collaterale del prestito.

Il presidente della banca e i suoi funzionari si fanno quattro risate alle spalle di un italiano che utilizza una Ferrari da 250 mila dollari come garanzia di un prestito di 5 mila dollari.

Un impiegato della banca si mette alla guida della Ferrari e la parcheggia nel garage sotterraneo della banca. Due settimane più tardi l'italiano ritorna,restituisce i 5mila dollari e paga gli interessi pari a 15 dollari e 41 centesimi.

Il solito funzionario gli chiede: "Gentile Signore, siamo veramente lieti per averla avuta come cliente e questa operazione andata molto bene. Però, ci deve scusare: siamo un po' confusi. Abbiamo assunto qualche informazione sul suo conto e ci siamo resi conto che lei è un milionario. Quello che ci chiediamo è perché lei si sia dato la pena di chiedere un prestito per 5 mila dollari."

La risposta dell'italiano non si è fatta attendere: "Secondo lei dove posso trovare a New York un posto dove parcheggiare per un mese la mia Ferrari per 15 dollari e 41 centesimi e sperare di ritrovarla al mio ritorno?"

Friday, May 07, 2010

Sunday dinner


Pappardelle al ragu con polpette e salsiccia and an insalata di rucola

Buona! We sometimes adapt dishes here in America so I would not normally eat "spaghetti with meatballs" in Italy, as essentially we did here, but the wide-noodle pasta was good and the sauce was good and rucola makes the world go 'round!

A closer look at the sauce that Il Nostro Inviato slaved over for a few days.

Buon appetito!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Study Italian in Puglia!

An Italian language school in Lecce is offering five scholarships for foreign students who want to study Italian during July and August.

(I believe there are also five half-tuition scholarships).

Studying Italian in Puglia would be so awesome I don't have words!

You may recall I went to Puglia and absolutely fell in love with the land, the food, the sea, the rocky beaches and the sandy ones. If you don't recall, you can relive my holiday here:

http://ciambellina.blogspot.com/2007/09/viaggio-puglia-yes-puglia.html

or to see another part of Puglia here:

http://ciambellina.blogspot.com/2007/10/puglia-gargano-national-park.html


But more importantly, to find information about the scholarships, visit this link:

http://www.italianoperstranieri.unisalento.it/

400th Anniversary of publication of Galileo work

Okay, I guess this sounds geeky but I think this conference on Galileo sounds really interesting! I receive these notices because I'm on a listserv for Italian professors despite the fact that I'm not one!


University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Graduate Student Conference
October 29-31, 2010

"Forbidden Ideas: controversial modes of engagement in Italian intellectual tradition"


This year marks the 400th anniversary of the publication of Galileo Galilei’s most influential work, the Sidereus Nuncius (1610).

Although the groundbreaking ideas presented in this short treatise forever changed the perception of the universe in the intellectual and scientific world, Galileo was accused of heresy and faced torture and the Inquisition for the subversive potential of his words.

In the spirit of Galilei’s struggle, the Italian Graduate Student Association (IGSA) at UCLA is pleased to announce a graduate conference that will analyze controversial relationships between intellectuals and the Establishment throughout Italian history. Examples may range from Niccolò Machiavelli to F.T. Marinetti, from Giordano Bruno to Antonio Gramsci.

Did the idea of trial, imprisonment, exile, torture or even death hinder or advance the intellectual's interpretation of his/her contemporary reality? What is the relationship of Italian writers, artists, intellectuals, filmmakers, etc. with power structures throughout the ages?

This conference aims to explore the multifarious nature of this relationship and these questions, and to present current graduate research on controversial modes of engagement in Italian intellectual tradition. Papers from a variety of disciplines are welcome, including Italian literature, Film and Media Studies, Comparative Literature, History of Art and Music, and Science.


Possible topics may address:

Italian intellectuals facing trial and/or torture (Inquisition, Fascism, etc.)
Italian intellectuals in jail
Italian intellectuals sentenced to death
Issues of exile and emigration/immigration
Issues of censorship (forbidden books, burned books, censored books/films, etc.)
Controversial relationships between the individual and society/politics

Monday, April 12, 2010

Last but not least: "Il Compleanno"



In writing these reviews about Atlanta's Italian Film Festival, I forgot to mention that I never write about film and have never worked as a film critic.

Probably painfully obvious, but I mention it because all I'm saying is, I liked these films. And mainly what I want everyone to do is watch Italian films, and maybe these reviews will help get you started or fill you in on the latest releases.

So, the last film I want to mention is "Il Compleanno," which was translated as "David's Birthday."

I liked this film a lot! The cinematography, the music, the characters, the plot -- they all pulled me in right away. These old friends are going to the Italian seaside for the summer, oh how nice, here's your sunny Italian countryside, but wait! You know things are about to go awry.

And much of the trouble, though not all, is spurred by the reappearance of David, the son of one of the couples, who arrives from America.

He's young, he's a fashion model and he appeals to both women and men.

And that's one of the key themes of the film. I should mention at this point that there are those so-called "adult situations" in this film, but in spades. I mean, alla grande. If you're not ready for this, you may want to stay away.

But the way the characters fall apart at the end of the film is so delicious. Particularly the psychoanalyst played by Massimo Poggio. The film also features Alessandro Gassman, a well-known actor in Italy.

All these shrinks want to make it look like they have it all together. Ha ha ha this guy not so much! This guy absolutely and totally self-destructs. And it's fun to watch! In fact, in some scenes the audience actually laughed even though the action was not intended to be funny.

So enjoy "Il Compleanno." I did!

Italian Film Festival film reviews continued....



Ok, continuing with reviews of some of the films shown at Atlanta's 4th Annual Italian Film Festival, which wrapped up last week.

"Il papà di Giovanna" ("Giovanna's Father") is next up, and it received the highest rating of any of the films shown, with a score of 9.388, according to the film festival organizers.

It stars Silvio Orlando, a veteran Italian actor who plays a schoolteacher living in Bologna before World War II (the film continues through the war, though the family is forced to leave the city).

His daughter, Giovanna, is considered delicate, special, different, sensitive -- all the words people use to describe someone who may or may not have mental problems.

Silvio Orlando's character, Michele Casali, dotes on his daughter in a vain effort to shore up her confidence. Right from the start, the relationship is moving -- his doomed efforts to save this girl really get to you.

Again I won't say anything more about the plot -- no spoiler alert here! (THOUGH, if you understand Italian very well and you don't want to know too much, you may want to only watch the beginning of the trailer).

But let me add a few other key details. The movie is the work of famed Italian director Pupi Avati, whose other films include one of my favorites, "Il testimone dello sposo" (1998), which in English was called "The Best Man."

I definitely recommend this film. And in fact, when I saw this film along with "Alza La Testa" (see previous review), I was sure the film festival was on the right track. I think people go to a film festival to see something different, something jarring perhaps, something profound, something that says something.

And "Il papà di Giovanna" fits the bill.

"Alza La Testa," "Il Compleanno" e "Il Papa di Giovanna"



I'm going to try to tackle all of these films at once, given that Atlanta's Italian Film Festival has now been over for a week!

Let's start with "Alza La Testa."

I thought it was great, in large part because Sergio Castellitto, the star, is, ahem, Sergio Castellitto.

Interestingly, I received the official punteggio from the film festival and it received a 7.3, compared with a rating of 9.0, which went to "Italians," a forgettable comedy that was popular in Italy.

For American viewers who may not be familiar with Castellitto, I guess you could say he's like Al Pacino or Robert De Niro in their best roles. He's intense and high-energy, and he feels a lot -- too much.

In this film, he plays a former prize fighter who has raised his son with one idea and one idea only: that he will be a champion boxer. The son is game, and trains with his father every day, but as a 17-year-old (I'm guessing at his age), he also wants to be a regular kid, which strains his relationship with his father.

I won't say more about the plot, but the film takes place in Fiumicino and Castellito's character works in a ship-building yard, which as a background I found very interesting and compelling. It's not just the sunny Tuscan countryside: it's the real Italy that's just as interesting but a little less postcard-perfect.

So, in response to the AsianCajuns and other readers, rent "Alza La Testa"! It's worth it (though, no, I don't see it on Netflix).

Alternately, you can try to rent "Non Ti Muovere," another Castellitto vehicle which is available on Netflix. Just be prepared: that film is even heavier and sucker-punches you with an initial encounter that's the opposite of romantic.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Anti-Mafia Wine in Sicily

My friend Nancy Greenleese produced a story for the American public radio show, The World, on winemakers in Italy who are defying the Mafia. They are part of a movement in Sicily to seize properties bought with proceeds from organized crime.

Here's the link. Enjoy!

http://www.theworld.org/2010/04/08/anti-mafia-wine-in-sicily/

Monday, April 05, 2010

Roundup on Atlanta's Italian Film Festival -- coming

Atlanta's week-long Italian Film Festival, which concluded yesterday, included some amazing films!

Among the ones I liked were "Alza La Testa," with Sergio Castellito; "Il Papa' Di Giovanna," with Silvio Orlando and "Il Compleanno," with Alessandro Gassman.

I don't have time to write about the films today -- sto lavorando! -- but stay tuned because I want to share my thoughts with you and spread the gospel of Italian cinema.

I think there's hope yet!

And in any event, three cheers for the Italian Film Festival, a nonprofit that produces film festivals in Miami and Acapulco, and for Georgia State University, which was the festival's chief sponsor and host.

Buon proseguimento!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Radio piece on Atlanta's Italian Film Festival

Here's a piece that ran on Atlanta's NPR affiliate about Atlanta's Fourth Annual Italian Film Festival:


http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wabe/news.newsmain/article/0/1/1631133/Atlanta/Italian.Film.Festival.expands

Here's just the text:

ATLANTA, GA. (WABE) - This week, a small but growing film festival will show Atlanta movie-goers a side of Italy they may have never seen. Here's a report on Atlanta's Fourth Annual Italian Film Festival.
There are eight features in the festival, and none of them show the sunny Italian countryside that many Americans have seen in mainstream movies.

One film tells the story of a girl from Bologna who is institutionalized after killing her best friend. Another follows a television journalist as he investigates the death of his teenage son.

Georgia State University is the festival's main sponsor, and Richard Keatley is a professor of Italian.

"I think American viewers will get a much broader vision of Italy. You see Italy is a real country with real problems and real issues to confront," Keatley said.

This year's festival doubled the number of feature films from last year, and added short and documentary films. Keatley said the festival's growth is remarkable given the economic climate, and the obscure nature of some of the films.

"These are not films that are released in the U. S. for distribution. They've been shown at film festivals here and there but you can't find them on Netflix," Keatley said.

The Italian Film Festival will run through Sunday at Georgia State's Rialto Center. For more information, visit cinemaitaly.com.

WABE News.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Atlanta's Italian film fest -- starts Monday!

The 4th Annual Atlanta Italian Film Festival starts Monday, March 29. The festival will kick off with light food and drink and the music of the Trevor Eich Jazz Ensemble.

The festival's first movie is "Italians," which will start at 7:30.

The 2009 film was directed by Giovanni Veronesi and stars Carlo Verdone and Sergio Castellitto.

All films will be screened at Georgia State University's Rialto Center for the Arts in downtown Atlanta. Here's the film lineup for the week:


Monday: Italians at 7:30
Tuesday: Cemento Armato at 7:30
Wednesday: Alza la Testa
Thursday: Il papà di Giovanni
Friday: La Casa sulle nuvole

Saturday: There are two films at 6 and 8 PM
Mar Nero
Il Compleanno

Sunday: Sbirri at 3PM


For more information about the festival, go here www.cinemaitaly.com.


ALL FILMS are FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Sempre di domenica - Daniele Silvestri.

I love this song!

"Mi sono accorto che sto bene....solo quando sto con te."

Monday, March 01, 2010

Dov'è Ciambellina? A lavoro!


Ciao Cari Amici,

It's been a bit quiet here in Ciambellina land and I do apologize!

Such is the life of a freelance writer: lately I've been pretty busy writing stories for local publications and preparing radio scripts for the NPR affiliate here in Atlanta (radio pubblico).

Yes, I'm on the radio!

Here's a link to a story I wrote about streetcars (trams) in Savannah:

http://atlanta.creativeloafing.com/gyrobase/streetcar_envy/Content?oid=1391844


And here's a link to a radio story I wrote about an endangered historic property:

http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wabe/news.newsmain/article/223/0/1574378/WABE.Features/Herndon.Home.Hits.Hard.Times


Però, lest you think I've forgotten about Italy and its wonderful language, I leave you with the photo above -- a lifesize sculpture of a horse sketched by Leonardo da Vinci.

I took this photo at the High Museum in Atlanta, which had a small exhibit on Leonardo this winter.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Diner's Journal: Linguine ai frutti di mare

It's been a particularly rich time to eat with Il Nostro Inviato, who is a whiz in the kitchen.

In the past month or so, he's prepared homemade pasta, baccalà and pizza (he's also pickled beets, and baked an apple pie but I don't think that's Italian).

The latest entry: the dish you see above, linguine with littleneck clams and mussels. A later iteration of the dish included wild Georgia shrimp, which were truly a revelation.

He's thoroughly mastered the basics, by which I mean the foundations upon which to build countless dishes. The base sauce for this pasta dish, for example, is a rich combination of olive oil, garlic and peperoncino, sauteed to perfection.

I love the way you can see the steam rising up from the pot!

Add a solid Italian wine -- in our case, almost always red, even with seafood -- and a salad or more substantial second dish, and you have a great meal.

I will have more photos to share, and I hope they inspire you to cook Italian.

Buon appetito!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

When vin santo is not on hand...

Vin santo, one of the liquid joys of Italy, can often be expensive here in the U.S., if you're able to find it at all.

And when we travel to Italy, we tend to load up on regular wine, not after-dinner drinks so we typically only have one bottle on hand.

What to do? Buy a bottle of what Il Nostro Inviato calls Spanish vin santo.

That would be sherry; we like the kind you see in the photo, Lustau Solera Riserva Deluxe Cream.

To be sure, it's not the same as vin santo.

And publications like the Times will often sniff at sweet sherry as something unsophisticated, but for the purposes of dipping the cantuccini cookies, which are a key part of the vin santo ritual, and enjoying an after-dinner drink (see photo below), it does the trick.

Cin-cin!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I' Che C'è C'è

Trattoria I'Che C'è C'è is a small restaurant in Florence not far from where I used to live and surprise, surprise the chef and owner will be teaching a cooking class at the Cook's Warehouse here in Atlanta next month.

I say surprise, surprise because the restaurant is a real neighborhood place on a tiny street (Via de' Magalotti) that's not easy to find; you need to know the short, narrow streets near what was once the Etruscan center of the city.

In other words, who knew they had a little empire going?!

Anyway, I can vouch that the chef knows Tuscan cooking. The restaurant takes its name from a Tuscan expression that can be translated loosely as "Be happy with what you have."

(I always thought whenever I ate there that, given it's the name of a restaurant, the expression could also be translated as, "What we have is what you'll get," though with the proviso that Tuscan cooks can make something wonderful with whatever's on hand).

Here's the info:

What: "Authentic Italian Via Florence," featuring Chef Gino Noci
When: Sat., Feb. 6, 12 p.m.
Where: Decatur location (on Ponce, in downtown Decatur)
Cost: $50

For more information, visit www.cookswarehouse.com.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Crema di zucca con baccalà

Slowly but surely, I will be posting photos from our Christmas culinary extravaganza.

Staying in Atlanta for the holiday meant Il Nostro Inviato could go to town in the kitchen -- so to speak.

Here's the soup we had on Christmas Day: squash soup with salted cod.

I suppose I've had salted cod before but it was a revelation this time around.

Salty and soft and just right. I could've eaten bowl after bowl!

Buon appetito!