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Category Archive for 'Europe'

“The beauty of Jerusalem in its landscape can be compared with that of Toledo.” – Robert Byron, The Road to Oxiana Perched above its bend in the Tagus, with sheer drops on three sides to eddying currents, and tightly-enclosed within its craggy walls Toledo has an impenetrable, monumental aspect. But, through the early morning rays, […]

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It must go down among the biggest porkies a man ever told a woman – right after Christopher Columbus telling his mother he wouldn’t be long; he and a few friends were just taking their boats out for a spin. And, never has the term “farm”* been used more euphemistically than when Felipe V of […]

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Last year there was unprecedented outrage when the news broke that the meatballs being sold by more than one European grocery chain were “contaminated” with horse meat. This was big news this side of the Atlantic for two main reasons: a) the horses in question are likely to have been American horses, and b) because […]

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“A smooth sea never a skilled mariner made.” – English proverb In the summer of 1997, two friends and I decided it would be a hoot to spend six weeks visiting a variety of countries that had recently emerged from behind the Iron Curtain. It turned out to be rather more of a hoot than […]

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A typical Sunday morning (or afternoon depending on what time they crawl out of bed) for a New Yorker involves brunch. And what, perhaps, characterizes brunch in New York more than anything else is bagels, cream cheese and lox. However, few, if any, New Yorkers, I would guess, think about lox very much, probably because […]

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“A journey is a fragment of hell.” – Prophet Mohammed Regular readers will most likely know a handful of factoids about us WANF-ers and our proclivities, among them: one of us is English, the other Italian-American; we enjoy making a wide variety of dishes, many of which we’ve sampled on our travels; and we have […]

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In several of his well-known paeans to Provence, Peter Mayle describes, both lyrically and at great length, his love affair with the black truffles of that region. Sometimes couched as a cloak-and-dagger chase involving bizarre and nervy rendez-vous’ along dimly-lit back roads, or illicit dealings with “men with dirt under their fingernails and yesterday’s garlic […]

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I feel kinda cheesy. I admit it, I feel cool about using a butcher. I understand this is lame and that butchers have been around for ages, but, truthfully, in the recent year, we’ve really gotten to know our neighborhood butchers. Growing up in the ‘burbs, meat was only bought pre-cut and pre-packaged. Yes, every […]

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The Italian region of Liguria is famous for its dramatic landscape of mountains plunging into crystal clear waters, and narrow terraced fields leading down to tiny, colorful villages precipitously perched on the edges of cliffs of which the Cinque Terre (five lands) of Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore in La Spezia province […]

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As you know, we received a beautiful package from a fellow blogger in Spain and we have been slowly using all the contents in various meals. Another element of this package was a jar of Spanish Marcona almonds. These almonds are amazing on their own and taste incredibly different (sweeter and meatier) than the almonds […]

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Not long ago our good friend Nuria at Recipes Pic by Pic offered to do a food exchange with us, knowing both how obsessed we are with Spanish food and their comparative scarcity over here in the States. In return she asked that we send her some typical American products of our choice as well […]

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Remember way back yonder, when the weather was still cool, we were on the search for some rabbit to make? We ended up calling around to butchers around Brooklyn and found a place that had them and asked them to save two for us. When we arrived, the butcher handed us our babies and, with […]

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Usually if I’m trying to make an authentic dish, I always try to make it just that – authentic. That means that I want to use traditional ingredients and I attempt to research the many traditional ways to make that specific dish. I then decide how to combine the best bits from all those traditional […]

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Download WNF Podcast #2: Sandwich de Merguez A few summers ago we were very fortunate to spend a long vacation traveling through northern Spain and southwestern France. It was our first real vacation alone since Amy and I had met, and was especially well-deserved because we had spent the previous 12 months going through the […]

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I think the title of this post says it all about my feelings (and others) about this famous Roman dish of pasta, traditionally spaghetti, with pecorino cheese and a good amount of freshly ground pepper.  The name says is all – cacio, meaning cheese, and pepe meaning pepper.  We’re not breaking any new ground here […]

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If you are a regular reader of our blog, perhaps you remember this post on my husband’s near-death by gluttony as he ate his way through a giant Asturian meal – fabada. While I had to listen to his groans and watch the thick beads of sweat roll down the side of his head as […]

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We love pizza. We LOVE pizza. If we could eat one thing for the rest of our lives it would be pizza. During our seven weeks spent in Italy over the past two years, we collectively ate over sixty pizzas. This is not a lie, an exaggeration or a pipe dream. We were not force-fed, […]

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It was as if it was divine intervention. We finally found morcilla (see picture of sausages below – it’s the black one) in a specialty store up the block but we weren’t prepared to make a fabada or cocido – two other Spanish dishes which call for morcilla. I picked up one of my favorite […]

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“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” – William Blake Have you ever thought, as you sit red-faced, breathing shallowly, “just… one… more… bite”? Have you ever then taken that extra bite and thought to yourself — in your blood-starved brain — “maybe, after all, I could manage another one”? And, finally, […]

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I’m in need of a pick-me-up. Maybe it’s the winter blues? Maybe it’s because I’ve been packing on more than my normal winter-weather pounds and I’m feeling like a cow? I could possibly need a pick-me-up because my skin hasn’t seen sun in so long it’s beginning to turn blue. I NEED SPRING TO COME […]

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In the British calendar the final Tuesday before Lent is known as “Shrove Tuesday”, though it’s more often referred to as “pancake day” in modern times. The derivation of the word “shrove” is unclear but it is thought to be derived from “shriving” or asking forgiveness for sins, a typical Christian activity on this day. […]

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You may have heard that France, like much of the rest of western Europe and the United States, has recently banned indoor smoking in public places – restaurants and the like. Clearly, for the bon sante of the French this is a good thing, but for us, the occasional tourists, seeking the most exquisite and […]

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As my wife accurately put it in her post of the other day, we ate a lot of interesting tapas during our time in Madrid. Several of these are specialities of the city and cannot be found elsewhere. We felt it our duty then, to give at least some of them a try. Long-term readers […]

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In a later post, the husband will write about all the, shall we say, interesting tapas we ate while in Madrid. When I use the word interesting, I mean that many may find some of these tapas to be gross and/or bizarre. Personally, I am always willing to try something new. Only then can I […]

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As regular readers will know, we recently visited Madrid and gorged ourselves at its myriad restaurants, tascas, bars and any other hostelry we could find. Because of this excessive consumption, we’re currently going through what can only be described as a traumatic process of catharsis, in which we’re avoiding all meat and all booze for […]

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I’ve just died and gone to heaven. I just cooked with guanciale (cured pigs jowels/cheeks). I just ate guanciale while sitting back on my couch in my crowded, rent-is-just-too-damn-high apartment watching TV. If only every night could be like this. If you read our blog (or know us personally) you will know how important Italy […]

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Yesterday, leading companies in the EU (read: major corporate conglomerates) said that by the end of 2008, they would change their policy on advertising junk food and drink during TV shows that are geared towards children under 12. And they did this voluntarily! Well, maybe not completely voluntarily. They may have been trying to avoid […]

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So, as the beautifully illustrated post by my wife (see below) attests, we were recently in the UK, and spent a good portion of that trip inside pubs enjoying traditional pub food and cask-conditioned, hand-pulled ales. I describe the beers in this way for a reason. You see, the old joke that Americans never seem […]

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We’re back from our quick, 5-day trip to Northern England to visit Jonny’s family and I may just go to bed at 9PM like I did last night! The problem with these quick trips home (I feel like it’s kind of my home these days) is that by the time you’re over the jet lag, […]

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When we were in Florence this past July we had one of the most memorable meals of our life. The simplicity of the dishes, the gruff, “don’t ask too many questions cause everything is good here” service and the down-home ambiance (mama in the corner, the owner is the host, the server and one of […]

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