Once upon a time in Palermo : Caponata

In his chapter on Sicily in The Food of Italy, Waverly Root quoted Sicilian writer and scholar Gaetano Falzone: “He who has not eaten a caponatina of eggplant has never reached the antechamber of the terrestrial paradise.” Last fall, I found myself in Palermo, Falzone’s hometown, tasting caponata for the first time. That feels like…… Continue reading Once upon a time in Palermo : Caponata

A Puglian Condiment : Trise di verdure in agrodolce

Maria Grazia picks sage leaves and strips thyme stems as she explains her kitchen philosophy to me. “You are born a cook; you do not become one. You have to have it in your blood.” We’re cooking together in her kitchen at Masseria Potenti, a sprawling, stark white farmhouse turned luxury resort, which she runs…… Continue reading A Puglian Condiment : Trise di verdure in agrodolce

The best eggplant : Melanzane al’mattone

I recently discovered a new technique for cooking eggplant courtesy of a Cal Peternell recipe from The New York Times Cooking Web site. Cal was one of the downstairs chefs when I staged at Chez Panisse several summers ago. Chez Panisse is such a special place, and Cal’s cool, even-handed energy seemed to suit the…… Continue reading The best eggplant : Melanzane al’mattone

To stand in witness : Eggplant spread

I was an emotional child. I felt things. When I was in middle school, my parents told me they wanted me to enroll in acting class to capitalize on my “emotional range”. I threw myself facedown on my bed and began to cry in protest. “See!” they said. “You were made for the stage!” As…… Continue reading To stand in witness : Eggplant spread

To Rome, With Love : Eggplant parm

I moved to Rome in the fall of 2015.  I had finished culinary school and was there to intern in a kitchen at an academy for American scholars. My first visit was three years earlier while I was living in Florence. I was there to meet a lover for the weekend. Together we trounced through…… Continue reading To Rome, With Love : Eggplant parm