Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

eG Foodblog: Malawry - 34 hungry college girls


Recommended Posts

I'm really enjoying your blog! These girls are very lucky to have you. I lived in my sorority house for my junion year of college and this is reminding of things that I haven't thought about in 15 or so years.

We had a similar situation---39 people living in the house and a cook for lunch and dinner each day. Breakfast was cereal, etc. (Cracklin' Oat Bran was the rage at the time!)

The entire sorority (about 150 girls) was entitled to eat lunch each day at the house, although obviously not everyone showed up every day. Dinner was for people who lived in the house, or if you wanted to eat dinner there and you didn't live in, you could sign up and your parents were billed for it. The whole chapter ate there on Monday nights before the weekly meeting.

We had a surly cook named Alice. I don't remember the food being particularly good or bad, but we always had a salad bar and baked potatoes were very popular at lunch. In fact, a popular concoction was baked potatoes topped with cottage cheese, crunchy noodle-type things and ranch dressing. Sounds totally disgusting now!

We also had a couple of guys (students) who worked at the house during meals to wash dishes. Do you have any help from anyone else?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Holy cow, Rochelle, just reading about your day was exhausting! That's really a lot of work in one day, alone.

Here's an idea to spend your food budget - how about going organic, or moving toward that? It would give you lots of opportunities for education with the students, if they want any, and you'd get to work with cleaner products.

Link to post
Share on other sites
We also had a couple of guys (students) who worked at the house during meals to wash dishes.  Do you have any help from anyone else?

Not really. I put everything away when it comes in, I wash the dishes, I scrub my stove and my griddle and my grease trap and my vent hood filters. There is a housekeeping service for the girls, and they take out my trash and sweep and mop my floor daily. Which is a big help--they didn't back during my first semester, and it made it hard for me to leave on time.

Holy cow, Rochelle, just reading about your day was exhausting!  That's really a lot of work in one day, alone. 

Here's an idea to spend your food budget - how about going organic, or moving toward that?  It would give you lots of opportunities for education with the students, if they want any, and you'd get to work with cleaner products.

I've never run two events in a single day before, so yeah, it was a big deal for me too. One of my girls saw me about 4:45pm and asked if I was excited about tonight yet. I asked, "Does abject terror count as excitement?" But I wasn't terrified really--not even that anxious. I knew what I was doing and had laid my ducks out so they were simple to pick off.

Organics are wonderful, and I eat a lot of organic food at home. Sysco does not carry much organic food, so I'd run into the problem of self-sourcing, money and time if I made them a priority. However, when the farmer's markets start to get going here, I do try to buy some produce for them there. Most farmers cut me a deal for buying two flats of strawberries or couple cases of asparagus. I can do a lot more in the early fall--we had a lot of BLTs with organic heirloom tomatoes, organic pepper-and-onion fajitas, etc when I started back. Then I started getting a bunch of organic apples and pears when they came in.

One of my girls is the daughter of an apple farmer, actually. So she brings me his apples sometimes, after she goes home for the weekend. They're FABULOUS. He finally came down and had lunch with her a few weeks ago, and I went and cornered him and told him how much I appreciated the apples he sends. We talked a little shop about apples and cooking, and he told me a little about farming them. What a nice guy! That night, after he'd gone back home, his daughter came and told me he was really impressed with me and appreciative that I came over to talk to him. I told her to tell him he's welcome to come by anytime--though I imagine his days of leisure are pretty much over again for the season at this point.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Having sampled some of Malawry's girls' leftovers, I can say from experience that they are very lucky indeed.

She was nice enough to bring some over when we brought Peanut home from the hospital. Pecan encrusted chicken breast, corn bread, and beans and ham, if memory serves me right. :wub:

If someone writes a book about restaurants and nobody reads it, will it produce a 10 page thread?

Joe W

Link to post
Share on other sites
I knew what I was doing and had laid my ducks out so they were simple to pick off.

Mmmmmmm, duck. Ever serve the girls duck?

You could saute the breasts medium rare, slice diagonally and serve with salad. Confit the legs and a month later serve them with the same salad!

Yes, I'm kidding.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

Link to post
Share on other sites
I still haven't given up the idea of coming over and helping you prep one of these days, if you would have me.   :smile:

You know I would happily have you over anytime. :wub:

I just wanted to offer my services as well.

That is all.

Me too, Malawry!

Hey, since I graduated from Maryland does that mean I get special treatment? :wink:

Just kidding. :laugh:

Link to post
Share on other sites
Some of the guys seemed really interested in who I was, what my kitchen was like, and what I did there..... Another thanked me for the green beans and the salad bar: “Wow, like I never eat vegetables!” They were enthusiastic about the food, especially the cookies, and some asked if they could come eat with me again. (I told them to be nice to the sisters and we’d see.)

There was plenty of food—enough that the guys took some extra chicken parm back to their house with them.

Sounds like you have a couple of admirers.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

Link to post
Share on other sites
Mmmmmmm, duck.  Ever serve the girls duck?

You could saute the breasts medium rare, slice diagonally and serve with salad.  Confit the legs and a month later serve them with the same salad!

Yes, I'm kidding.

Rochelle's confit... :wub: Those would be some lucky girls.

Are the girls ordinarily allowed to bring guests to dinner? What are the rules?

And could you talk a little about your menu planning? Do you take requests, and how often? How far in advance do you plan? You said that you post the menu weekly but do you plan a month at a time?

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

Link to post
Share on other sites

Rochelle, this is a great blog. I belonged to sorority in college (back in the stone age) at a large state school that did not allow fraternity/sorority houses, and therefore NO CHEF. We lived on pizza and buffalo chicken wings. I wish we'd had a chef like you!

I've noticed you don't talk about alcohol, which I recall to be a primary food group on the Greek circuit. Do you double as a bartender?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Today has been even busier than yesterday was, if you can believe it. It’s now 3:15pm and I only just now had a few minutes to start blogging today.

I had one of those mornings where I barely manage to get it all done in time. Mornings are tough in general, because I only arrive 90 minutes before the beginning of lunch service—and I have a lot to accomplish in that time. It didn’t help that I set the menu I set today. The most labor-intensive soup I make is a broccoli-cheddar soup. It’s also one of the most popular. I only put it on the menu two or three times a semester because it takes so much work. And of course, I put it on the menu today. I started it off as soon as I arrived at work this morning, by making a pale brown roux. I then added whole milk to make a béchamel-type sauce. I ran and set up my cutting board, quickly hacked up a large onion and a cleaned bunch of celery, and sweated those veggies off. When the béchamel was complete, I turned it off. I added 2 quarts of water to the sweated veggies and added a bunch of broccoli florets and plenty of salt. Once the broccoli was tender, I pureed the veggie mixture, and then I added the béchamel. (The blender inner-cap—the clear thing you can remove to feed items into the blender while it runs without removing the lid—fell into the soup while the blender was running. Dammit! I had to strain and discard the batch in the blender at the time, because part of the inner cap shattered and the shards were too tiny to pick out on my own. I added a little bit of instant mashed potato to thicken the soup up a little since I lost some of the solids to this little accident. Cook’s secret.) Then I had to wait for the soup to cool enough to add the cheddar—I monitored its progress with a thermometer. (I pulled half the soup out and chilled it immediately. This soup does not reheat well after the cheese is added—it has a strong tendency to split.) At 11:30, when lunch started, it was still too hot to add the cheddar, so I added a little ice to speed up the progress. Finally I worked in some shredded cheddar, stirring constantly to incorporate it.

gallery_1160_894_37962.jpg

gallery_1160_894_164253.jpg

(It was still too hot to add the cheese when I took that last image. I thought ya'll would appreciate the "Action shot" though. :wacko: )

gallery_1160_894_11486.jpg

It's hard to tell (except for the excess cheese on the spatula handle, that is), but the cheese is in there now.

In between all this, I cranked my oven, threw in the chicken wings for today’s lunch special, and started working on the salad bar. Eventually the wings crisped up, and I added just enough of Sysco’s finest BBQ sauce to lightly glaze them. They went onto the steam table. And then I started lunch service. Today was very popular for grilled cheese on whole wheat for some reason. I think I made 8 of those, half or so with tomato inside. The wings were moderately popular—two boyfriends of sisters were here for lunch, and both of them made a significant dent in the wing supply. Everybody snarfed the celery sticks I cut up to go with the wings. I also set out some red grapes, which vanished in short order. They love their fruit here.

(8pm)

I had very little time for writing today, as you can undoubtedly see. I only got in the few paragraphs above because Jacqueline was cleaning my floor. Jacqueline works for Launchcoast, a contracting cleaning service that cleans several houses on Fraternity Row. We used Launchcoast when I started, but then we hired a dedicated housekeeper at the beginning of this academic year. She quit around mid-semester, and her replacement only lasted two weeks. So we went back to Launchcoast. Jacqueline is the third person Launchcoast has sent to clean our house so far. I’ve learned to be super-nice to any cleaning person, but not to get too attached to them since they may change quickly.

Jacqueline is super-nice, but she speaks only about four words of English. My Spanish is only marginally better than that, but we usually converse in Spanish so I can practice. I usually enjoy working out my Spanish muscles like this, but today I just didn’t have the mental capacity. When I was eating my lunch, she came by to talk to me and asked me a question I couldn’t understand. I normally would have worked around it (possibly referring to my Spanish-English dictionary), but I just didn’t have the energy today. I told her in my halting Spanish that “tengo mucho trabajo, y mi cabeza no trabaja normalmente ahora.” (I have a lot of work to do, and my head isn’t working normally today.) She seemed to understand and let me eat in peace. Later, when she wanted to clean my floor, she came prepared with two notes: one asked, “Are you happy?” And the other read, “Can I sweep your floor?” I don’t think I realized it until right then, but Jacqueline is awesome!

gallery_1160_894_121303.jpg

So lunch service was somewhat ordinary. During lunch, I made tomorrow night’s dessert: tiramisu. I’ve not made tiramisu since I finished culinary school, but I had bought some mascarpone and ladyfingers from Gourmeco that I needed to use up so this seemed appropriate. It was fun to assemble, and I tasted the components so I could verify their yumminess.

gallery_1160_894_122690.jpg

gallery_1160_894_77385.jpg

I ate some of the chicken wings and a mess of celery quickly for lunch, and then got back to work. I cut up some tofu, skewered it and put it in a marinade I’d made Sunday, and then I did the same thing with some chicken breasts. I’m very proud of my ability to handle tofu appealingly, and it makes me happy if the girls eat it. (Not many of them do!) I used to buy tofu from Sysco and freeze it as soon as it arrived, since freezing helps firm up the texture. This trick only works with the fresh, water-packed type of tofu. Then Sysco stopped carrying water-pack tofu and started stocking aseptically packaged tofu instead. The aseptic stuff doesn’t freeze well, so now I have to buy my tofu at the store and bring it in.

gallery_1160_894_42612.jpg

gallery_1160_894_79182.jpg

I started cutting and stir-frying vegetables for dinner—I’d have the next veggie prepped at the same moment the last vegetable finished cooking. When I make a vegetable stir-fry at work, I stir-fry each vegetable separately with oil and salt, and then I make a sauce and pour it over all the veggies at the end. Tonight’s stir-fry included Shanghai cabbage, snow peas, broccoli, shiitake mushrooms, and a gingery sauce with mirin and sesame oil.

gallery_1160_894_69992.jpg

gallery_1160_894_132339.jpg

gallery_1160_894_99393.jpg

gallery_1160_894_42650.jpg

Stewart called me around midday. He said, “Hi, it’s me. What are you doing?”

(long pause)

Me: “I want to say something witty, but I can’t come up with anything. I’m working. Why?”

S: “Nevermind.”

Me: “No, really. What’s up?”

S: “I have some extra hamburger buns and wondered if you wanted them for anything. Sometimes I use them for bread pudding or something, you know?”

Me: “I get 2doz fresh ones from Ottenberg’s every Monday so I’m good for now, and I only make bread pudding once a semester or so.”

S: “Me too. But if you want some…”

Me: “Thanks.”

An hour later, I had at least a dozen witty retorts for “What are you doing?” My favorite one is, “Wanking.” Since I work alone, my kitchen humor has dulled somewhat. When I was in school or working at a restaurant, I had my repartee honed razor-sharp. Oh well.

And then I started the MEP for tonight’s entrée. I lined every ingredient up in the order in which I added it to the pan, and I spent about an hour standing over the stove keeping two pans working. I fired up my griddle and cooked off the skewered tofu and then the chicken. And then I made the sauce for the tofu and chicken at the very last minute, because I just hadn’t had time until then.

gallery_1160_894_45884.jpg

gallery_1160_894_75889.jpg

So here was tonight’s menu:

Chicken or tofu satays with peanut sauce

Shrimp or vegetarian pad thai

Stir-fried vegetables

I had initially planned this Thai-style menu for last Thursday as a regular ethnic night. But then it snowed Thursday, and I ended up ordering the girls dinner and coming home early. So I rescheduled Thai Night for Monday, since I already had all the ingredients. But then it snowed again Monday, so I made the casseroles for them instead. I couldn’t do Thai Night last night with all the boys coming over. So I ended up doing it tonight. As it was, my bean sprouts turned, and I ended up just not using them rather than going to the supermarket YET AGAIN to buy more. I had planned jumbo-lump crab cakes for tonight’s dinner initially, and I had to push that menu off to next week. (There I go buying luxury foods and eating up the budget, sorta.)

It turned out that there was a new member meeting tonight, so all 15 of the new pledges came for dinner. Fortunately I had enough food for everybody. I served on foam plates because I hadn’t had time to clean up any of my dinner prep dishes before dinner service. On a good night, I finish making everything for dinner by 4:15 or so, and I have an hour to clean up and maybe prep for tomorrow before dinner service begins. This has been an unusual week on many levels, but I like to challenge myself every so often so it’s not a big deal. Nobody complained about not getting their dinner on a ceramic plate.

gallery_1160_894_49064.jpg

At least I was able to leave work right on time today, and hit the gym for a game of racquetball with my spouse before coming home. It feels good to sit down.

Edited to add photos.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Mmmmmmm, duck.  Ever serve the girls duck?

I have thought about it, actually. Sysco's duck legs are surprisingly cheap. I asked about them on a whim once and was so surprised at the low cost that I called Stewart and told him about it. He later bought and prepared a case for his girls. But I forgot about it. Maybe I'll see about doing it sometime right after Spring Break. I can afford IQF or cryopak breasts, I'm sure.

Hey, since I graduated from Maryland does that mean I get special treatment?  :wink:

Sure, you can put away my Sysco order when it comes. Special job for special grads! :rolleyes:

Are the girls ordinarily allowed to bring guests to dinner?  What are the rules?

And could you talk a little about your menu planning?  Do you take requests, and how often?  How far in advance do you plan?  You said that you post the menu weekly but do you plan a month at a time?

Girls are technically allowed to bring one guest to one meal one time a week. (This is only those who live in the house--if you live outside the house, presumably it's tough noogies.) In reality, some people bring their boyfriends by twice a week, while others never ever bring anybody over for food. It equals out. I can talk to my boss about it if somebody abuses the policy. The two girls who most often bring their boyfriends over go eat in their boyfriends' houses at least once a week, so it doesn't bother me. (Plus, they're nice guys, which helps. One of them usually sticks around to chat with me for a couple of minutes after he places his order.)

Menu planning: I plan to address this more in tomorrow's blog, because I do it every week and I usually start it around Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

I've noticed you don't talk about alcohol, which I recall to be a primary food group on the Greek circuit. Do you double as a bartender?

I wish I did--I bet some of my girls would be fun to drink with! But there's a strict no-alcohol policy in the house. I doubt it's followed, but it's definitely not flaunted. They mostly party at the fraternity houses or at the cheap bars near campus. I'm not supposed to have alcohol AT ALL at the house for cooking or anything. That doesn't mean I don't bring it (I did make tiramisu today, remember), but I keep it on the DL when I have it around and I don't submit for reimbursement when I use it.

The catering service that used to have my house's food service was interviewed by the campus newspaper once. When the article came out, it ran with a photo of the company president deglazing a pan with bourbon at ZTA's house. He knew they weren't supposed to have alcohol in the house, so why he let this photo be taken I'm not sure, but apparently it led to all kinds of drama with the ZTA advisors. It may have been why they didn't renew his contract. I don't know the whole story.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Very cool blog, Malawry---reading it's giving me a very serious case of deja vu.

No sororities in my past, but as an undergrad I lived in a "French House" for a year. We had to cook dinner (in teams of two) for our housemates. A head count of 20 per dinner, with a whopping budget of $1.50 per person (so $35 a meal), with which we were expected to produce meal that included (in addition to the entree and sides if appropriate) bread, green salad, dessert, and wine. And in a remarkably tiny kitchen, come to think of it.

Great home ec experience, that's for sure. :smile:

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to post
Share on other sites

This blog is probably the best advertisement I can think of for a fraternity/sorority. The care and effort you put into making food for the sorority members is admirable. Food like this could defintely make college more bearable - but then again in my freshman year of college I lived a block or two away from Babbo and Blue Hill, so it wasn't too bad.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am really enjoying everybody else's food-and-college memories, BTW. Keep them coming!

Fauxtarga: The restaurant selection by the sorority is somewhat lacking. There's Lupo's, which is all right and is where most peoples' parents take them out for a steak or a decent plate of Italian food. There's Marathon Deli, which has great gyros. Next door to Marathon is a new Kosher Israeli-type deli, with falafel and spit-grilled meats. The independent Bagel Place actually has some of the best bagels in the metropolitan area. And then there are chains: Potbelly, Applebee's, Chipotle, Noodes & Co, California Tortilla, Boston Market, the sandwich bar at Wawa. There's a few little independents and bars masquerading as restaurants, but that's about it. It's not hard to convince the girls to eat with me most of time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

No alcohol? What kind of education is this?

What do the girls do when they want to impress their friends with their cooking, or hold a dinner party? I seem to remember that was an important part of my student life, at least at grad student level.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was in a sorority and we had two cooks. I remember the food was very good. We also had two students that served us the meals. I caused a bit of a scandal when I started dating one of them. :shock: It was against the rules. It was a Jewish sorority, so we had Friday night dinner with the works and they served the appropriate food during Pesach. However, the kitchen was not Kosher and I don't remember that being an issue with any of the girls.

As for drinking, we were not allowed :wink: to drink in the house, but we definitely did our fair share of drinking at the fraternity houses and bars.

Jackal10, you have to remember that the States has different drinking laws than in England and certain families had taboos about drinking, at least in the Bible Belt were I grew up.

I drank wine with meals at home, but that was because my family is European. I started drinking coffee when I was about 11. Most families that I knew did not allow their children to drink at home until they were 21. Maybe that is why so many kids thought it was a big deal to have a fake ID and buy alcohol at the liquor stores.

Most American college kids are not concerned with planning dinner parties unless they live in an apartment and then again, the average student does not cook gourmet meals.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites
... Most families that I knew did not allow their children to drink at home until they were 21. Maybe that is why so many kids thought it was a big deal to have a fake ID and buy alcohol at the liquor stores.

...

Drinking age was raised nationally to 21 around 1987. Before that, each state had different ages ranging from 18 to 21.

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want to add more organic foods you could check out a natural foods purveyor like Tree of Life Northeast. I think another is Albert's. I'm not sure what their minimums are, but if you switched some of your staple ordering to order with them maybe you'd meet it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great Blog!! I am wondering how allergies are handled? Real ones, not the "i'm allergic to brussel sprouts" kind :wink:

Are the girls suppose to tell you at the beginning of the year and you work around it or do you just make multiple things available. I was thinking about that when I read your Thai dinner menu since quite a few people are (deathly) allergic to peanuts (my guy being one of them).

Link to post
Share on other sites
... Most families that I knew did not allow their children to drink at home until they were 21. Maybe that is why so many kids thought it was a big deal to have a fake ID and buy alcohol at the liquor stores.

...

Drinking age was raised nationally to 21 around 1987. Before that, each state had different ages ranging from 18 to 21.

It was 19 in my state and 21 in Georgia in 1982. I don't understand what your point is.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites
... Most families that I knew did not allow their children to drink at home until they were 21. Maybe that is why so many kids thought it was a big deal to have a fake ID and buy alcohol at the liquor stores.

...

Drinking age was raised nationally to 21 around 1987. Before that, each state had different ages ranging from 18 to 21.

It was 19 in my state and 21 in Georgia in 1982. I don't understand what your point is.

I just quoted your post for reference to the general topic. My post was just "FYI" for people outside the US, for instance jackal10 or others.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks.

Its very different here. The legal age is 16 for beer and 18 for everything else. My college has about 25,000 bottles laid down in its cellar (for 500 or so people). The college has a student run bar. I get an entertainment allowance for students that I am tutor to. I well remember my tutor, when I was a student, used to hold a blind wine tasting once a term, and the student who most correctly identified the wines won a case.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Malawry, thanks for such an entertaining blog. I was never in a sorority but hung out with some frat guys in college and late night kitchen raids were part of the fun. I won't venture into the topic of alcohol...

Part of the reason I'm enjoying this thread is because the logistics/organization element of your job is so interesting and instructive. My dinner parties are usually in the 8-12 person range and typically take a few hours to pull off. The one time some friends and I cooked a sit down dinner for 35, it took several days of planning, shopping, and prep. So I'm really impressed by what you pull off on a daily basis.


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is just a quick note to let ya'll know I added photos to my blog posts from Tuesday and Thursday (starting on page 3 of this thread). So go back and take a peek. Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for adding the pictures, but even without them, your commentary is fascinating. Could you blog forever, please?

Dear Food: I hate myself for loving you.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Similar Content

    • By Drew777
      I'm a Brit. I'm also a closet Frenchman.  To cap it all, I'm happily retired in Bangkok, the city of a street food culture that's second to none. The Thais are healthy and slim. I'm just this side of alive and far from slim. Lockdown has me fantasizing about my days working in London, Paris and New York, an existence, if one could call it that, revolving around gastronomy of one kind or another. They paid me, not so very much as it happens, to do what I enjoy doing most in life. We all get to do it, but I was one of a fortunate few who made it his metier. Well all that's in the past now, but I still dream of my time in Paris when lunch was a tad short of 2-hours, little-known local bistros remained affordable until the day they were discovered by La Bible (Michelin Guide) and the students were revolting - this was the summer of '68, for heaven's sake. Someone should open bistro here in Bangkok with a table d'hote of Soupe a l'Oignon gratinee, Blanquette de Veau, a stinky Epoisses and Tarte Tatin to finsih with creme fraiche. Ah, it's back to lockdown and pad Thai. 
    • By KennethT
      I was thinking of doing a food blog of my recent trip through parts of New Zealand's south island.  Most of the food we had was nothing spectacular, but the experiences and various scenery we had over the trip were amazing.  Is there any interest in this?
    • By Melania
      It's one o'clock on a warm summer's day in Florence, I'm on my way to get ingredients for lunch. The sun is high in the sky, the cobblestones are warm under my feet and the aroma of something delicious is in the air. My mind starts to drift to the onions, celery and tomatoes I need for my pasta sauce, oh and don't forget something sweet for dessert...this truly is la dolce vita.
       
      My thoughts are soon interrupted by an unwelcome "chiuso" sign on the door of my new favorite deli. The blinds are closed and the friendly owners are nowhere in sight. The reality of having my favorite pasta dish for lunch was slipping further and further away.
       
       
      What a nightmare! How can this be?
        A local passing by must have noticed my frustration.   "Signorina, è riposo. Tutto è chiuso!"
        Of course! How could I forget about the sacred Italian siesta?
        A siesta or riposo, as most Italians call it, is a time of rest. This time is usually around midday, or the hottest part of the day (very inconvenient if you're craving a bowl of pasta.) No one can really say where the tradition of the siesta originates, but many say it's all about food (no surprises there really).
        For many Italian families the main meal of the day is lunch. This heavy meal in the middle of the day is attributed to the standard Mediterranean diet: A minuscule breakfast of a coffee and pastry , a heavy lunch and an evening meal around 10 o'clock. The logic is that after such a heavy meal one would surely be drowsy and need to rest, no one can work efficiently on a full stomach!
        Post offices, car rentals, supermarkets and even coffee shops (in some smaller towns police stations too) all close their doors for a riposo. Everything comes to a standstill as every Italian goes home to kick of their shoes, enjoy a homemade lunch with family and bask in the Italian sunshine for three to four hours. This is serious business. One would not dare work for 8 hours straight. After their riposo most businesses open again around 4 o'clock and stay open till 7pm. Its the perfect balance between work and play and does wonders for your digestive system!
        "Grazie!" I thanked her for the reminder. The midday sun started to become unbearable. The streets had cleared with only a few tourists braving the midday heat still around. I thought about the strawberries I bought from the market earlier that week. Strawberries for lunch on my shaded balcony and maybe a nap afterwards sounded like my perfect riposo. The pasta will have to wait till 4.
               
           
    • By KennethT
      OK.... here we go again!!!  While this post is a bit premature (we don't take off until around 1:30AM tonight), I am extremely excited so I figured I'd just set up the topic now.  As in previous foodblogs, I may post a bit from time to time while we're there, depending on how good my internet connection is, and how much free time I have... but the bulk of posting will really get started around July 9th - the day after we get home (hopefully without too much jetlag!!!)
    • By KennethT
      Happy New Year!  I'm sitting at the gate waiting for my flight from Saigon to NYC connecting through Taipei so I figured this would be a good opportunity to get started... But this is just the intro- the rest will gave to wait until I land about 22 hours from now, sleep for about 12 hours, then get my photos in order! We had a great week enjoying beautiful weather, taking in the frenetic yet relaxed street life and eating some amazing local food...
      Our flight here was on EVA Airline and was very pleasant and uneventful. Our flight from Nyc to Taipei left around 12:20 AM on the 24th. I love those night flights since it makes it very easy to get a decent amount of sleep, even in coach. EVAs food is quite good eith both Chinese and western choices for dinner and breakfast, and they came through several times with snacks such as a fried chicken sandwich with some kind of mustard. I think I had 4 of them!
      Once I get home, I'll continue posting with pics from our feast in the Taipei airport.... Spoiler: those who have read my Singapore foodblog from July may see a slight trend...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...