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Category Archive for 'tradition'

I often think that living in a small scruffy New York City apartment is akin to a pioneer life in a log cabin somewhere remote. Sure, the commute is easier, but the myriad quotidien affronts and man traps of a city existence certainly resemble the perils of life on the range.

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The largely unknown city of Compiegne, France, has the distinction of being the site of one of Louis XV’s most extravagant homes away from home. Under him, the Chateau de Compiegne became one of three distinctly opulent seats of government alongside Versailles and Fontainbleau. The latter French monarchs were hardly known for their desire to […]

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One of the great joys of parenting is being able to do stuff with your kids, you know, like playing with them and watching them laugh. One of the great responsibilities of parenting is doing things with them because you have no choice, as this morning when I reached a stalemate with our 11-month old: […]

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An oft-heard, anguished cry these days chez nous is “there’s nothing to bloody eat in this house except baby food!”. Never actually true and rarely even close to reality, this refrain was aired again earlier this week when, left to my own devices while Amy enjoys a well-deserved week at her family’s shore house, I […]

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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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It rarely gives me any satisfaction to work so close to Penn Station, especially in the summer when the areas less salubrious residents are at their most pungent, and, dare I say, because of the heat, most crazed. It is at this time of year that the legion of stupefied zombies, fiending smackheads and other […]

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I remember reading, though I forget where exactly, another food blogger had written words to the effect that any time you start getting a big head about how great your blog is, take a look back at your earliest posts and it will bring you back to earth with a bump. Great advice, though it […]

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Classic French cooking doesn’t get much more classic than chicken in tarragon cream sauce. This bistro menu stalwart has all the unctious elements you instinctively associate with Gallic gastronomy: butter, cream, wine and mild herbs. Likely originating in that blessed triangle just north of Lyon where the famous blue-footed chickens of Bresse neighbor the Cotes […]

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According to British and Irish tradition, black pudding has an esteemed place next to the bacon rashers, sausage links, fried eggs, mushrooms, fried tomato and fried slice in an old-fashioned greasy spoon breakfast, but its almost complete absence from the American breakfast table is confusing, especially given our known preference towards an injection of cholesterol […]

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Greeks, Romans, Moors, Normans, Spaniards, Garibaldi and his thousand, and finally hordes of tourists have visited Sicily over the milennia. Some stayed for centuries, some only for generations, but even those whose sojourn was comparatively brief played a role in the island’s blending of cultures and traditions. If this human concoction can be distilled into […]

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When you think of old-style Italian-American restaurants does red sauce spring to mind? Red check wax table cloths, family-style servings, a free salad with your entree, rotund red-faced guys with their sleeves rolled-up, going “ey!” and slapping each other on the back? Sure, it’s a cliché, but it’s also close to the truth in a […]

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Almost seven years ago I journeyed from Santillana del Mar to Santa Maria de Lebaña via San Vicente de la Barquera. So many saints, so much devotion, that it was little surprise to learn that beyond the monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana and through the Picos de Europe lies the hallowed ground of Covadonga. […]

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We understand from our Colombian friend Juan Camilo (who longtime readers may remember from this podcast) that the Bogota nightlife is on a par with any of the world’s party capitals, and that when it comes to late night boozing, the aguardiente-loving natives of Colombia’s capital are among the most experienced. It should come as […]

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During his show on Panama, Anthony Bourdain observed that Chinese food somehow gets shinier the further west one goes. He might also have mentioned that it changes in other ways throughout the western hemisphere too, on the whole, becoming less and less Chinese-like. In a similar way to Panama, to which Chinese laborers flocked to […]

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Towards the end of what is, in my opinion, his finest work, Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell tells of the bitter street fighting he witnessed in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil War when the delicate alliance between communist, socialist, and anarchist factions of the Republican army finally collapsed. While certainly not the bloodiest scene in […]

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Every now and then I’ll sit through one of those “secrets of the ancient world” shows on the History Channel. You know, the ones in which they have modern experts try to “decode” how the pyramids or the hanging gardens of Babylon were constructed using graphics that make you feel like you’re watching B-roll from […]

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“Griyo is madd good. If you have neva tasted it, you are missing a lot.” So much of what we think we know of Haiti is bad – from the massive human suffering and destruction caused by January’s earthquake, to decades of political and social unrest, to blood-curdling tales of voodoo curses and zombies – […]

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He’s certainly not the first to make such a remark, but when in a recent episode of his PBS show Mexico: One Plate at a Time, chef Rick Bayless commented that Mexican food may be the first “fusion cuisine” in the Americas, the concept resonated with me. The collision of cultures and culinary traditions that […]

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The destiny of nations depends upon the manner in which they are fed.” – Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin The basic premise of William Alexander’s recent book, 52 Loaves, like his first title The $64 Tomato, is that the author becomes so obsessed with a particular project, in this case creating (and growing wheat for) the perfect loaf […]

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There is so little information available about Burma (or Myanmar, depending on how you rock it) that after the inevitable Wikipedia entry, the CIA World Factbook is the second item that appears in Google’s search results. This anonymity is largely due to the military dictatorship that has kept the country under lock and key for […]

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Do you ever wish you had a secret power? I don’t mean like some stupid superhero who can fly, make it rain, or look great in a unitard. I mean like a gerbil’s ability to store tasty bits in its cheeks for later, or a tiger’s ability to eat 30lbs of wild boar at a […]

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It is no coincidence that, in the 30 years since Franco’s death, Spanish creativity in the arts, architecture, business, and gastronomy has blossomed. It is also no coincidence that it has been, predominantly, though not exclusively, Spain’s sub-national and regional groups — who were repressed most viciously by the Fascist dictator — that have led […]

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It might be generational, or, perhaps, philosophical, but there are, on the one hand, those who enjoy and appreciate handmade things, and the art and craft they require to make, and, on the other, those who prefer their things machine-made, reliable, and standard. The ‘things’ here could be quite literally anything. My father, who, to […]

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Ever have one of those days where the only thing that gets you through is knowing you are going to have a good meal later on?  I have no idea where I read about this dish, but one day, trying to unwind after a long, frustrating and tiring day of putting out the fires that […]

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Every stereotype, no matter how absurd the caricature, has, at its core, a grain of truth. Though I doubt anyone has ever seen him, the beret and black and white hooped sweater-sporting Frenchman with a cigarette hanging off his lower lip and a baguette under his arm, remains an abiding image of France; and in […]

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It’s fairly safe to say that no group, with the exception of the enigmatic gaucho, played as significant a role in defining Argentine national character as the Italians. Primarily (and principally, numerically-speaking) from Liguria (particularly Genoa), Piemonte and Tuscany, but latterly also from Naples and other areas of southern Italy, these Italian immigrants, literally by […]

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Even though mulled wine should remind me of being in the church choir as a cherub-faced youngster and singing Christmas carols with frosty breath overlooking a seasonally-decorated nave and a sea of pink-cheeked parishoners, it doesn’t. In spite of this being the way I was introduced to this most famous Yuletide beverage, my abiding memories […]

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‘Tis the season, so in that spirit, we’re joyously giving away two prizes to the winners of this month’s top five – your favorite holiday foods/drinks. This month’s entries were fascinating, perhaps more fascinating than usual because the unique choices allowed us a small but intimate window into your lives, especially those that came with […]

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Not your average Christmas meal… We couldn’t let this month go by without doing some sort of “holiday themed” post. We were scratching our head trying to come up with this months “Top 5” contest thinking of such winners as, “Top 5 Most Friggin’ Annoying Christmas Tunes” and “Top 5 Christmas Sweaters Your Mom Owns” […]

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And, while you’re at it, good fellow, I’ll have a warm bath with virtually anything you’ve got on the menu: pasta, potatoes, fish, chicken, soup, bread… Stop me if you’ve heard this one before… A man goes to the doctor complaining of neck ache. The doctor gives him some painkillers telling him to take two […]

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