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Robert Schonfeld

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Everything posted by Robert Schonfeld

  1. Looks like lots of fun. Where do you put in and come out?
  2. Our housekeeper and cook in Italy, Julieta, worked like three people. Her energy knew no bounds. Her good humor was inexhaustible. Her cooking was renowned. She was a Tuscan woman of simple beauty and high virtue. Once in a while, I would say, "Julieta, let's take a coffee break." She would look up from whatever she was doing with a look of slight surprise, and, seeing that it would please me, she would give an assertive nod and march to the kitchen, where she would produce two perfect ristretti from her own machine. I would sit at the kitchen table, watching. With one in each hand, she would come over to the table and hand me mine, already mixed with the amount of sugar she knew I liked. Inevitably, she would ignore the chair I had pulled out for her. As I took the first of the two or three sips in the cup, Julieta would raise hers and knock it back like a shot of whiskey. She would pause reflectively for a second or two, then she would smack her chest a couple of time with her palm. "Buono!", she would say. And then without another word, she would wheel on her heel and go back to work.
  3. In the greatest sense, yes. But there remain those rare individual practitioners whose only goal is the excellence they know, not the common denominator the customer will accept. One such establishment exists on the main street in Calistoga, CA, where a Venetian man has taught his daughter the right way to do it.
  4. Lucca is high on the list of places I fantasize about retiring to. Not yet mentioned: coffee at Cafe Cubana, a walk atop the beautiful city wall in the early morning or late afternoon, and a concert inside the wall.
  5. As I am not nearly as smart as you, perhaps you will be kind enough to explain this remark.
  6. I don't know, FG. Who was it? It sure as hell wasn't someone humble, that much is for certain. As I am not nearly as smart as you, perhaps you will be kind enough to explain this remark. How does lack of humility relate to the belief that it is unlikely that a four star experience can be delivered to every diner at a four star restaurant?
  7. I don't know, FG. Who was it?
  8. Why? Tell us what you think. I promise not to be swayed by your opinion. Why do you have fame in quotes?
  9. Bill's right. Always look for "Product of Italy" on your canned tomatoes. We make that preparation frequently, Bill. As with so many things Italian, it relies heavily on the quality of the ingredients. We use fusilli, and sometimes add some red wine vinegar.
  10. Pasta is typically dressed with a relatively small amount of sauce, very often by turning the pasta in the pan in which the sauce is made. Many people do not realize that the final stage of preparation of a pasta dish - turning in the sauce, adding butter, oil and/or cooking water, is a crucial consolidation phase of preparation upon which the success of the dish frequently depends. The sauce is never served alongside the pasta, any more than the pasta itself is served alongside an entree on the same plate. The variety of plum tomato called "roma" is an excellent sauce tomato.
  11. There's a 100% sure way to never be eaten by a shark: don't swim in the ocean. Likewise, there's a 100% sure way never to be disappointed by risotto in a restaurant: don't order it. In our house, the guests have to be sitting at the table, waiting for me to finish the risotto. The moment it's done, the cheese and butter are added, it's plated and consumed immediately. A similar immediacy applies to many pasta dishes. Has anyone mentioned that the traditional plating for risotto is to spread it evenly over the plate, rather than piled in a mound?
  12. A good sense of humor goes a long way, doesn't it, guys?
  13. I always use the best P-R I can find, even in pasta dishes. It makes a big difference. I don't think the analogy with evoo is quite parallel. To store, wring out a paper towel until it is barely damp. Wrap the cheese first in this, then in plastic. In Italy, I have seen it most often stored in a linen or cotton towel. If anyone can point to a source anywhere for P-R of the same quality as on-the-ground Italian, I would appreciate hearing about it.
  14. What's that all about, Claude? Robert -- The book documents for many different kinds of ingredients/food how the bureaucracy and/or economy either makes it difficult or impossible for the best of artisinal products to survive in Italy and discusses some brave artisans who continue to struggle against these problems, sometimes undercover because what they do is illegal. It was always my experience in Tuscany that ingredients were extremely local, sometimes illegal, and that the beaureaucracy was impenetrable. No doubt, things have not changed for the better recently. I will look for the book. Thanks.
  15. Sorry, guys. Been there, etc. Let's do something useful. You'll see, Steve will be productive if we devise a specific project, especially if it has to do with wine. Besides, you can all go over to the "3 things on a plate" thread, where a kind of surreal irrelevance still holds sway.
  16. Why don't you guys collaborate on something you can share with the rest of us? But before we become boring techno geeks. Perhaps there is some information in these databases to support your arguments. Craig, the hell with the argument. If you haven't gotten it by now, Steve will argue with you until the moon turns blue, all to no positive end. Instead, those of you with useful, hard information should collate it and put it up. Then we'd have something really worthwhile, both to talk about and to use.
  17. Why don't you guys collaborate on something you can share with the rest of us?
  18. One can argue anything. In this case, you are so far from a reasonable argument that you aren't even in the game, not even in class a ball, not even in the winter leagues, not even allowed on the field. I know you're smarter than that, so I can only conclude that you are doing this for then hell of it. Zai gesuhnt.
  19. This is, of course, a statement of such breathtaking ignorance that one can, only draw the conclusion that it was made for effect and to elicit a response, as no one with even a passing acquaintance with Italian cuisine would make such a remark in earnest. Not rising to the bait, Steve.
  20. I've said before, Bill, it's a tag-team event going up against Steve's views on Italian cuisine. Everyone needs a breather once in a while.
  21. If anyone reading this thread knows David Mamet, I am sure he would appreciate having it called to his attention, particularly the last couple of pages. Steve, it's been repeatedly pointed out to you that the word "interesting", as used in the culinary world or anywhere else, does not belong exclusively to contemporary cuisine or haute cuisine. I realize that you haven't said so. You have said that certain types of cuisine aren't very interesting when being compared to contemporary cuisine. Well, Donald Duck isn't very interesting when being compared to Audubon's "Birds of America", but no one is doing that, any more than I am comparing traditional Italian cooking with contemporary cuisine or haute cuisine. But to me, the former is equally interesting as the latter, albeit for very different reasons, which is as valid a statement as is yours to the contrary. Now that that's settled, let me ask you, what are you drinking with the seder?
  22. I am unaware that this is the context that Craig has laid out. My impression is the opposite. Please correct me, if you wish, with specific information demonstrating that Craig's intended context is exclusively fine dining as you have promulgated the use of that term on these boards. I agree that context is important. I'm sure your grandmother made nice pictures, and I agree, without having seen them, that it is highly likely she was no Berthe Morisot. I respect your grandmother and I respect Berthe Morisot. I'll bet a horse that the work of both had their respective interest, as do chefs of similarly varying approach (unless, of course, your grandmother was just a bad artist, in which case I'll have to choose another comparison). I am sorry to say that it is you, not I, who have wrestled a paucity of terms into contortionate conformation with your own culinary worldview. To say that the culinary world only uses the word "interesting", or "better", to mention another favorite of yours, to describe only the cuisine about which you care the most, is a position that is simply untenable by the standards of fundamental reason, let alone any standard more "complex" than that.
  23. That's what interesting means to you and to those who think as you do, Steve. Many people find rustic, traditional, homestyle cooking to be very interesting indeed. Some people find both to be interesting. It's that kind of word.
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