Strozzapreti is a pasta that means, literally, “choke the priest”. There are conflicting stories as to the origin of why it is called that. One story is that they were pasta made specially for the priests and it was so delicious that they ate too fast and it made them choke.
Cynthia Dite Sirni
Connect with me
My recent posts
Halloween is celebrated on October 31st. It is the “Hallowed Evening” before the Feast of All Saints’ Day which celebrates all of the saints who have lived (and died) for the glory of God and didn’t end up with a feast day on the calendar of their own. In the United States, Halloween itself has become the major part of the holiday. It’s just another example of how the secular is trumping the sacred. (Think Santa Claus.)
As promised, I am exploring the “dolchi” sides of “Spoon Food.” Typically, I am a “savory” girl. When you ride the trains in Italy, the attendant will come through and ask you, “Sweet or Savory?” (…and yes, it will be in English because they know that we are Americans.) If you can pass yourself off for a native they will say, “dolce o salate?” It usually is a choice between cookies of some kind or a pretzel or cracker. I always choose the savory. My husband, the sweet. I wonder what that says about us.
As the weather turns colder and our schedules are more hectic, it seems that the urge for comfort food is stronger. While everyone may have their own particular favorite when it comes to comfort food, it seems that macaroni, or some other such carbohydrate, is high on the list. Not just any macaroni. Macaroni eaten with a spoon.
Benvenuto. It means “welcome” but the literal translation speaks to the art of hospitality. ”Bene” means “well or fine.” Venuto is derived from the verb “venire” which means “to come.” While it does, in fact, mean “well come” it’s message is “it is good that you have come.” How can we show this to the people that walk through our doors and sit at our tables? Well, there are lots of ways. Italians are, by nature, a sensuous people. By sensuous I mean “of the senses”. Seeing. Hearing. Touching. Smelling. Tasting. All of these are essential components in embracing visitors into our homes.
Merende….is the melodious, sophisticated name for the afternoon snacking in Italy. The Italians have carved out this time of day to refresh and recharge. Merende is much like “le gouter” in France, in that they are both daily cultural rituals, and let’s face it, they are both really fun to say. ”Spuntino” is another word that means snack, but while usually a spuntino is a cold meal, merende is anything.
What is it about small towns that instill such pride in their local recipes and traditions? It seems that each city has a specialty that the locals are proud of and the uprooted natives just have to have when they come home. Rome is the same way. However; when I say “Rome” I do not mean La Citta Eterna, but in fact, a small town right in the very center of New York State. Rome, NY boasts a high percentage of Italians. The legend is that everyone here can trace their roots back to 4th Street, which is nestled in East Rome, the Little Italy of this small city. I’m not sure that this is entirely true…but I know it is for me.
SR222 is the “Strada Chiantigiana” , the winding road that takes you through the bevy of wineries throughout the beautiful Chianti region. Between Florence and Siena, the white roads of Chianti beckon you to seek out her secrets. The roads are called Strada Blanca because of their color. The white sand that was infused into making them make the streets look like powder.
September 19th marks the official feast day of San Gennaro, the patron of Naples. A beloved saint, San Gennaro was a bishop from Benevento, Italy. Januarius, as he is also known, worked tirelessly against the persecution of Christians under Emperor Diocletian. Of course, he was captured, jailed and a grisly execution involving wild bears was planned. However; he was beheaded instead.
After a morning of sightseeing and hiking the Roman hills, or the Spanish Steps, maneuvering the cobble stones, and running to catch the Metro, you may be ready for a break. Rome is a city of fountains and aqueducts. Each piazza boasts its own fountain. If you listen carefully, you can hear the peaceful rush of the water when you approach the square. Each is more beautiful than the next and they are still in use today. Locals and tourists alike use them for drinking. While the aqueducts are all still in working order throughout the city, (a definite nod to the ingenuity of the ancient Romans,) you may want a drink, from a glass, seated in a chair.