Out of troubled times comes new ideas. Read more below.
We’ve started a magazine. Well, not a magazine but something bigger than a blog but smaller than a newspaper. Somewhere in between. What makes this stand out though is that all of this is focused on you and how to help you get the most out of Southern Italy when you visit.
At least once a year I take my favourite walk, from Trapani (one of Italy’s best cities) to Erice, both on the northwest corner on the island of Sicily. It takes about 5 hours and it’s all uphill but like all great walks in Sicily, seeing the land and sea below always seems to make everyone feel more noble. I’ve been doing the walk for 30 years now and while both cities have had ebbs and flows (Trapani is influenced by the opening and closing of minor airports and those that arrive by boat, and Erice is now considered a spiritual home of molecular gastronomy). That this part of the island is also home the world’s best pasta dish and many of my favourite white wines makes coming down each time almost painless.
To streamline my filmmaking skills (and there are a lot of skills to learn) I’ve been making a series of short films here during the quarantine. You might find these odd but keep in mind that I’ve been locked into the school by myself for a month already. If you have some time to kill it would mean a lot to us if you would subscribe to our YouTube channel and leave ‘likes’ and comments on as many videos as you care to watch (most are very short).
We’re going to be launching a free live weekly web-based wine lesson and tasting but we need to get 1,000 followers to be able to host it on YouTube Live. Your comments and subscriptions (free) will really help us arrive at those numbers. (Comments can be a single word and in general, short, simple comments have value much more than poetry never posted.
If you like what we do and you like these little films please leave a ‘like’ and a comment on our YouTube page. It affects Google and it really helps others see them.
As I’ll be spending Easter alone this year I decided to cook a Jewish version of it, just to post to our Facebook group dedicated to The Jewish Cooking of Southern Italy. We’ll be offering the Jewish course again in 2021 (the 2021 calendar is already posted). While most of the dishes satisfy the same way that most Mediterranean food does- lots of sun and olive oil- it’s the presence of so much vinegar that jumps out to modern tastes (a sort of quick pickling, so as not to have to cook on the Sabbath).
|Hybrids like us|
Every month we’ll hear from those that have lived large parts of their lives in two different countries, one of them, Italy. Some moved here long ago, others moved away long ago. What can we learn about life from those have lived two versions of it?
Do you think of yourself as an expat or an immigrant? What’s the difference for you?
Neither. I consider myself equally Italian and American.
In which ways do you feel foreign when in Italy?
I don’t really feel foreign in Italy. I’ve lived here for almost all of my life, and so feel very much Italian.
In which ways do you feel foreign in your other country?
At this point I feel like Italy is my home. I’ve lived here for most of my life, and when in America I feel American, but like a tourist.
What would we be surprised about in regards to your average work day?Mmm..I think I share so much on Instagram stories that it would be very hard to surprise anyone about anything I do. It’s all out there!
What does one country just not grasp about the other? What concepts are just too foreign to be embraced?I think the concept of time is quite different between Italy and the USA. But that has more to do with work culture, which I think Italians have a much healthier attitude about.
Which Italian wine do you drink the most? Which non-Italian wine do you drink most?
The kind that’s called gin and that is my martini every night.
What are you currently working on?I’m currently planning week long tours to Emilia Romagna and to Abruzzo, and hope to add other ‘off the beaten track’ regions soon. So doing lots of research. Which in my case means pretty much eating my way through Italy.
Elizabeth Minchilli is the author of 9 books on the joys of Italian life. Her latest book, The Italian Table, was published by Rizzoli in March 2019. Her other books include Eating My Way Through Italy, (St. Martins 2018( and Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City (St. Martins 2015). Minchilli’s passion for Italy led her from her native United States, where she studied architectural history, to Italy in 1987. She writes on food, travel and culture on her blog, Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome, as well as her best-selling app, Eat Italy. Elizabeth also leads delicious food tours in Rome and the rest of Italy. Elizabeth is active on all social media platforms including Instagram and YouTube where several of her videos have gone viral.
For every day during the quarantine (which many here in Italy have taken to writing ‘quarentena’ in italian like this:’40tena’, and working from home is now called ‘lo smart working’), I’ve had some version of this improvised soup. Soften an onion in a little olive oil, wilt some greens, a little piece of red chilli, a few pieces of leftover bread, simmer until soft, finish with raw oil. Here in the Salento the dish is often called ‘pancotto’, or ‘cooked bread’, but it’s my favourite kind of southern food. Simple and intense.
We’ve had to cancel all our classes until at least September. It has been the hardest thing I’ve ever been through, on just about every level. So without any classes we’re dedicating ourselves full-time to the television show about Southern Italian wine. By ‘we’, of course I mean me and Anna (who has agreed to be my cameraman for the shots in which I need to appear).
We’ve started a crowdfunding to cover production costs, her salary and my profoundly reduced living expenses until cooking classes start up again.
If you think you’d like to see the show when it’s finished you can pre-purchase it now, and that money will go to help us produce it. But we’re also seeking armchair travellers that want to be more interactive in the project.
Stop in to learn more. And leave comments and share it on your social media platforms if you can’t contribute. There are many ways to help, not all of them are financial.
To our new How to eat and drink to be 100
To our extra virgin course, Olive you!
To our classic Lecce course (the one that started in all, 17 years ago)
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The Awaiting Table Cookery School in Lecce, Italy, is Puglia’s oldest cooking school, offering 12 different culinary courses based on bicycling the /food /wine of Puglia, Southern Italian wine, The Jewish Cooking of Southern Italy, Mediterranean fish, The Mediterranean Diet, home canning and How To Eat and Drink to be 100. Choose from a day, evening and week-long courses in either of our two locations- in our owner’s home in the historic centre of Lecce, or at the baron’s castle, an hour south of Lecce. Learn to make the fresh pasta of Puglia, take a class on the wine from Sicily, Calabria, Basilicata and Puglia. Or learn how to add years to your life through a healthy mix of life-extending, sun drenched ingredients.
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