In Search of Ragu - Matt Goulding (Roads & Kingdoms) The beauty of ragu is that it’s an idea as much as it is a recipe, a slow-simmered distillation of what means and circumstances have gifted you: If Zia Peppe’s ragu is made with nothing but pork scraps, that’s because her neighbor raises pigs. When Maria cooks her vegetables in a mix of oil and butter, it’s because her family comes from a long line of dairy farmers. When Nonna Anna’s slips a few laurel leaves into the pot, she plucks them from the tree outside her back door. There is no need for a decree from the Chamber of Commerce to tell these women what qualifies as the authentic ragu; what’s authentic is whatever is simmering under the lid.
What's so bad about Friday the 13th? Well, what's so unlucky about the number 13? It's largely a modern, Western superstition, merging suspicion about Fridays and the number 13, which once concocted, felt ancient. Some give credit to the Thirteen Club, formed in 1881 or 1882, who flaunted so-called cursed actions, breaking glasses with abandon. Meanwhile, Martes Trece, or Tuesday the 13th is bad luck in Spanish speaking countries, and it's an ominous date for Greek history as Constantinople fell on the specific date in 1204, while Friday the 17th is a national day of sfortuna, or bad luck, in Italy. [more inside]
Are you a James Bond fan? You've seen every movie including unofficial ones like Never Say Never Again and the original 1967 Casino Royale? How about Operation 007 starring Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny, Bernard Lee as "M" and... Neil Connery, Sean Connery's brother, as 007's brother... Neil Connery. The Italian production was also known as O.K. Connery. How good is the movie? So good that it it made into an episode of the much-loved Mystery Science Theater 3000.
How Capicola Became Gabagool: The Italian New Jersey Accent, Explained.
California has long been home to immigrants from around the world (and from within the U.S.). What is less known, however, is that such longstanding histories of immigration and internal domestic migration have made California a fertile ground for extremely diverse and vibrant accordion musical cultures. With that, here is background on four immigrant populations —Italians, Creoles, Lebanese/Middle Eastern, and Mixtec/Mexican — to give more background the Squeezebox Stories, about an hour of history and tales of the accordion, filtered through customs and cultures found in California. [more inside]
Yesterday, "Surf and Turf" Joey DaSilva slid, slipped, and skipped to the end of a 45-foot-long telephone pole suspended over the water and covered with grease and slop. By grabbing the flag at the end, he became the 2015 Saturday champion of the annual Greasy Pole contest, making him one of the elite crew eligible to compete again on Fiesta Sunday for the rest of his life. It's one of the highlights of the unique St. Peter's Fiesta, an annual festival sponsored by the Italian-American fishing community of Gloucester, MA. The festival is a five-day celebration including a procession of St. Peter's effigy accompanied by bands and Sicilian chants, a Sunday mass on a large outdoor altar, seine boat races, a carnival, food, and drinking - lots of drinking. The annual festival is a defining force in Gloucester's tight-knit community, even as the fishing industry that generated it continues a long decline. [more inside]
Isabella Rossellini's daughter Elettra has a witty, attractive food/recipe blog where she shares a customizable pasta dish her grandfather, the iconic director Roberto Rossellini, used to make.
Italo Calvino profiled on the BBC TV show Book Mark in 1985: [SLYT] Rare interview with the great Italian journalist and writer of short stories and novels.
"Ancora Tu" is an Italian phrase roughly translating to "You Again". It's also the name of a classic 1976 pop song by Lucio Battisti and Mogol. [more inside]
"Less a race than a celebration of motorsports heritage," the Mille Miglia classic car rally takes place every May. Its thousand-mile course wends from Brescia through Verona and Padua to Rome and then back north to Brescia by way of Bologna. (PDF) First staged in 1927 with 77 entrants, the now-annual event draws driving enthusiasts from around the world. [more inside]
“Je Suis La Jeune Fille.” “Yes, that’s French they’re speaking. But no, these children aren’t French – they’re American!” If you grew up in the late 1980s and early 1990s, or watched children's TV programming from that era in the US or UK, no doubt you saw that commercial for Muzzy (formally titled Muzzy in Gondoland). The show was first produced by the BBC in 1986 to teach English as a second language, as seen in this playlist of five videos, and later expanded with Muzzy Comes Back in 1989 (six episode playlist). The shows were both translated in to French, German (playlist), Spanish (and the Spanish vocabulary builder), and Italian (Muzzy in Gondoland, Muzzy Comes Back).
Visualize a comic book, in your language, and imagine what would be written in the text balloon coming from the mouth of an animal. Now translate it. Derek Abbott of The University of Adelaide (previously) has compiled "the world’s biggest multilingual list" of animal sounds, commands, and pet names.
The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown is a nine-part series posted by sci-fi author and statistician Michael F. Flynn to his blog last year, covering the historical conflict between heliocentrism and geocentrism, with a special focus on Galileo. They are based on an article (pdf) by Flynn which originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Analog. [more inside]
His recipe calls for a bustard stuffed with a turkey stuffed with a goose stuffed with a pheasant stuffed with a chicken stuffed with a duck stuffed with a guinea fowl stuffed with a teal stuffed with a woodcock stuffed with a partridge stuffed with a plover stuffed with a lapwing stuffed with a quail stuffed with a thrush stuffed with a lark stuffed with an ortolan bunting stuffed with a garden warbler stuffed with an olive stuffed with an anchovy stuffed with a single caper - The Roti Sans Pareil or Roast Without Equal.
Gay Talese's "Frank Sinatra Has A Cold" appeared in Esquire Magazine in April 1966. Sinatra had turned down interview requests from Esquire for years and refused to be interviewed for the profile. Rather than give up, Talese spent the three months following and observing the man and interviewing any members of his entourage who were willing to speak -- and the final story was published without Sinatra's cooperation or blessing. In 2003, editors pronounced it the best article the magazine had ever published. Nieman Storyboard interviewed Talese last month about the piece and has annotated it with his comments. [more inside]
A Culinary Giant Perhaps like no other food writer, Marcella Hazan, helped intergrate a foreign cuisine into American culture with her no-nonsense and easy to understand approach. Mrs. Hazan passed way yesterday a the ripe old age of 89. Her simple tomato sauce is legendary - she made all of us better cooks and eaters.
“Fifteen years of diary entries. From 1817 to 1832. Some just a couple of lines. Some maybe a thousand words. At a rhythm ranging from two or three a day to one a month, or even less frequent. Suddenly, translating Giacomo Leopardi’s Zibaldone it occurs to me that if it were written today, it would most likely be a blog.”—Tim Parks writes of the challenges of translating from this “collection of personal impressions, aphorisms, profound philosophical observations, philological analyses, literary criticism and notes” written by “the finest Italian poet after Dante.” Meanwhile, a team based at the University of Birmingham have prepared the first-ever complete translation of the Zibaldone into English, which is due for publication next month. [more inside]
CCCP Fedeli alla linea was an Italian "Emilian1 melodic music pro-Soviet punk" band that performed and recorded between 1981 and 1990, disbanding on the same day as German reunification. For those who can read Italian, here is their story in their words. For the rest of us, Wikpedia does a pretty good job of thumbnailing the group, calling their sound a "genre-defying convergence of militant rock, industrial music, Folk, electropop, Middle Eastern music, and even chamber music." CCP's final album was Epica Etica Etnica Pathos (Epic, Ethics, Ethnic, Pathos), recorded live in an abandoned farmhouse/villa in the Romagna countryside. (exterior shot, and a couple more pics on this page) [more inside]
Ettore Sottsass was an industrial designer who was born in Innsbruck, Austria. Famous for his My Valentine typewriter design and his geometric enamel designs. [more inside]
Suspended in Void - a lovely collection of Italian ex votos depicting people who survived falls under the watchful eye of the Virgin Mary. Previously: a larger collection of ex votos from various cultures. (Via Heading East)
Enzo Jannacci, a father of Italian rock and roll, jazz musician, actor, writer, comedian, and doctor had a 50+ year career in Italy. He died yesterday of cancer at the age of 77. His biggest hit song, 1968's Ho Vista un Re (I Saw a King), written by the 1997 Nobel Prize winner for Literature Dario Fo and Eugenio Esposito, was banned on RAI TV and radio, due to its subversive lyrics. Jannacci performed and worked until illness forced his retirement in 2011, though still beloved by Italians of all ages.
Alex Britti's 'Oggi sono io' covered by Italian pop star Mina, who recorded it in one take. An English translation of the lyrics.
With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else. December 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Invisible Cities -- the sublime metaphysical travelogue by author-journalist Italo Calvino. In a series of pensive dialogues with jaded emperor Kublai Khan, the explorer Marco Polo describes a meandering litany of visionary and impossible places, dozens of surreal, fantastical cities, each poetically reifying ideas vital to language, philosophy, and the human spirit. This gracefully written love letter to urban life has inspired countless tributes, but it's just the most accessible of Calvino's fascinating literary catalogue. Look inside for a closer look at his most remarkable works, links to English translations of his magical prose, and collections of artistic interpretations from around the web -- including this treasure trove of essays, excerpts, articles, and recommended reading. [more inside]
GlamourFilter: Opening Night at La Scala. Pictures from La Scala's opening nights, dating through the fifties and sixties. (Main story here, slideshow here, those links in Italian, but easy enough to figure out for non-speakers.) Pictures of Callas, Toscanini, Princess Grace, Dick and Liz, and many more, all looking impossibly fab and glamourous. (Via the always informative and entertaining Opera Chic.)
Sara White, Canadian blogger who recently moved to Rome, shares some thoughts about old world food cultures versus the American approach to cooking. One of the most interesting things to me about her post is the discussion about how having no limitations (many Americans can just waltz into a large supermarket and get almost anything from almost anywhere) can negatively impact culinary creativity.
[all links may contain SPOILERS] Antonioni's unique style works beautifully in The Passenger. The dream-like long takes, especially the final seven minute one where the dusty town square is seen through the barred window of Locke's hotel room—evokes a world that he is barred from. There is nothing romantic or sentimental about the space that we see, but it conveys a sense of an ongoing life that Locke has chosen to retreat from. There is also Antonioni's eye for aesthetic detail-for whitewashed walls of buildings, and vividly colored backgrounds like yellow doors and red car seats. He is a director of great formal rigor and beauty, whose style effortlessly suits his vision. The slow rhythm of the film may put off some viewers, but it forces them to be more observant, and understand there is nothing accidental in the images that Antonioni constructs. - Leonard Quart [more inside]
LunchBook won the 1st prize in the competition “Expopack” for the design of a paper lunch box for Expo Milan 2015, which is dedicated to food and sustainability. LunchBook is a recipe book made of paper dishes showing recipes from all over the world. The user can taste the food while walking among the Expo 2015 stands. Once a dish gets dirty, he can remove it and use the following dish. (via book patrol) [more inside]
Picture a tiny Italian woman gesturing continuously as she uncorks a full brain dump (from a very, very creative mind) on all of the little things that many people never think of when photographing others.
"... the first time I had to photograph someone that wasn’t myself, I spent the night before puking, and it was half a disaster. Ten years later, these are the things I wish someone had told me back then."Sara Lando's On Photographing People: Pt. 1, the first in her three-part series on photographing people on Strobist. [more inside]
Photographer Stefano Bonazzi's series Smoke, where nude subjects vanish into the air.
Many films are called “classic,” but few qualify as turning points in the evolution of cinematic language, films that opened the way to a more mature art form. Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura is such a work. It divided film history into that which came before and that which was possible after its epochal appearance. It expanded our knowledge of what a film could be and do. It is more than a classic, it’s an historical milestone. ... Antonioni’s great achievement was to put the burden of narration almost entirely on the image itself, that is, on the characters’ actions and on the visual surface of their environment. He uses natural or manmade settings to evoke his characters’ state of mind, their emotions, their life circumstances. We learn more about them by watching what they do than by hearing what they say. We follow the story more by reading images than we do by listening to dialogue. The settings are not symbolic or metaphoric—they are extensions, manifestations, of the characters’ psyches. Physical landscape and mental landscape become one. - Gene Youngblood
Cruise Captain says he 'tripped' into lifeboat and couldn't get out. Audio recording of an Italian Coast Guard Captain telling him to get back on board [Transcript]
Aspirants to the role of painter-as-poet are many. Giorgio Morandi was the real thing. [more inside]
The familiar '70s query, "Is it art or porn?," took on a whole new dimension with The Night Porter (NSFW), a stylish and astoundingly seamy fusion of erotica and stark concentration camp trauma. While many subsequent films, mostly Italian, took the Nazi sexploitation route to unbelievably tastless levels, Liliana Cavani's treatment remains more problematic. More concerned with mood and characterization than cheap thrills, the film is nevertheless extremely kinky and shocking enough to prove that its R rating is the product of a ratings system far different than the one we have now. [more inside]
Life as an Italian American Sikh Female Taxi Driver Maria Provenzano Singh is an ordinary Italian American woman who married a Sikh man and became a taxi driver.
Pasta alla carbonara (usually spaghetti, but also fettuccine, rigatoni or bucatini) is an Italian pasta dish based on eggs, cheese (pecorino or parmesan), bacon (guanciale or pancetta), and black pepper. [more inside]
[Michelangelo Antonioni's Chung Kuo] as a documentary film was one which was draped with fascination for both filmmakers as well as an audience, rather than championing anti-whatever sentiments from either side of the world. Not having seen many movies, either features, shorts or documentaries made during the Cultural Revolution era or about that era in question (propaganda included), I think this Antonioni film has more than made its mark as a definitive documentary that anyone curious about the life of the time, would find it a gem to sit through.
26 years ago today, we said goodbye to Ettore Boiardi - who fed the Plaza Hotel, Woodrow Wilson, millions of GIs, and - more likely than not - you. [more inside]
Acclaimed food and music critic Jonathan Gold was hungry for some Italian. He decided to go to The Olive Garden.
Bar Portraits — Dignified gentlemen sit for their portraits in bars and cafes across Italy. Contrast that with The Waste Land, a series of intimate portraits of young intoxicated people, photographed during or after parties, festivals, and raves. Both are portrait projects of Piero Martinello. [more inside]
Danakil Desert ; 1938 - Dinner from the sky "Italians love their food. And they love it fresh. You know this. What you might not know, though, is the lengths they will go to in order to enjoy a fine dining experience."
The State University of New York at Albany's motto is "the world within reach." But language faculty members are questioning the university's commitment to such a vision after being told Friday that the university was ending all admissions to programs in French, Italian, Russian and classics, leaving only Spanish left in the language department once current students graduate.
Twenty-four different accents in just over eight minutes. (NSFW SLYT)
The Geometry of Pasta. If you click on a shape, on most of them, it tells you a bit of history and recipe suggestions. l Pasta shape names l Recipes l Farfalle (butterflies/bow-ties) with Prosciutto and cream animation. The geography of pasta l The origins of pasta. Glossary. More pasta shapes. [more inside]
Sit back and enjoy the many Italian recipes Great Chicago Italian Recipes.com has to offer. This site will provide you with a culinary adventure into the world of Italian food and wine. Choose from poultry, beef, vegetables, pasta, and sooo much more. Looking to finish off that perfect meal? Try Adriana's Italian Gourmet Cookies. [more inside]
Marcella Polini Hazan, Cavaliere della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana, has Lifetime Achievement Awards from both the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She's also got one of those "cooking every recipe in her book" blogs.
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