I am hoping that the title of “Conosci Gusta Prepara” means cooking, tasting, and discovering. I tried to find Italian words here and there, so hope it makes sense. If not, I’m sure my very sweet reader Barbara from Italy will correct me! I have been asked numerous times why I have not traveled to Italy, since it is a foodie paradise. I would love to go, but a couple things stop me – finances and my fear of being on an airplane so long. Needless to say, I am not a good flyer, although I’m better than I used to be. I am not one of those flyers who panics and cries, instead I sit and don’t move, which gets very uncomfortable over many hours! The farthest I have traveled is London, and I could only do that because I was with my friend Roxanne in business class, my seat had a foot rest, and I had Roxanne to talk with (she is an excellent flyer!), plus my seat had its own television. I loved London and I am sure I would love Italy. For now, I will just read my cookbooks about Italian cooking and view the photos of my daughters when they were in Italy.
According to this cookbook, the native ingredient of Italian cookery is “gusto.” Whether it is a matter of a snack or a feast, the Italian has brought to his eating habits “la gioia di vivere,” the joy of living. “Abbondanza” (plenty) is an idea that delights the Italian’s soul and is even part of his religious feeling. Thus the Italian saying, “Buon pasto loda Iddio” (Good food praises God). And thus the classic reply of the Italian host to the guest who protests that the former had put himself out too much in loading his table, “Non e troppo, e semplicemente abbondante,” (It is not too much; it is simply plentiful). How am I doing, Barbara?!
I love authentic Italian cookbooks written by those who grew up in true Italian home kitchens. This seems to be one of those books. All of the recipes are simple, easy to follow, and have all the classics like homemade pasta, sauces, antipasto, risotto, cannoli, and panettone. In the back of the book, the author gives complete menu ideas and holiday dinners. Dinner # 2 is my favorite: Antipasto, Minestrone, Ravioli, Veal Spinchoni, Garlic Bread, Romaine Salad, Zucchini, Cannoli, Coffee, and Wine.
My daughters still talk about the incredible Italian food they enjoyed while in Italy. They traveled throughout the country, and Kara even lived in Sicily for a study abroad program. She had an experience in Sicily that she will never forget. Before Kara left for Sicily, my Uncle Warren died. Warren was a bombardier with the 15th Air Force during World War II, who flew B-24 Liberator bombers from Southern Italy to war zones. Warren’s wife, my Aunt Joyce, thought that Warren would have liked some of his ashes spread in Italy. Kara lovingly carried his ashes and spread them on a beach in Sicily. She wrote the following note, buried it in the sand, and sent the ashes out into the waters.