Cacio e Uova, the anti-pasta.

Here are the words I never thought I’d utter: I think I will die if I eat another plate of pasta.

Shocking and sacrilegious? Sure is. Heretical, really, since I consider pasta a religious experience. All those old adages about too much of a good thing? Well, they’re true. Just how much pasta must one consume to pass the “good thing” threshold? My marker came midway through the second week of Morso Soggiorno’s Abruzzo Tours this fall. Perhaps you felt it, the moment the Earth briefly stopped spinning on its axis.

So many pastas

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I wish my laptop had scratch and sniff.

They say 90% of the satisfaction we attribute to something ‘tasting’ good is really all about how it smells. More accurately, what we call ‘flavor’ is a combination of taste, smell, texture, temperature and other factors that make us go, ‘Ahhhhhh.’

If you salivate, your flavor-sensing mechanisms are working just fine, my friend. At the end of the day, I want you to salivate when you read my blog. Even drool if you must. I want the written word and the images I post to work hard toward tricking your olfactory system. I want to evoke a tangible response in your brain that says “I know what I see is going to smell and taste incredible. So I’m going to make it.”

If my laptop had scratch and sniff, life would be easier. Technology makes everything else possible, so why not? I’d just link the photo of a luscious roasted chicken to the ‘smell’ equivalent of roasted chicken clip art. Let’s call it sniff art. How great would that be?

But nothing in life is easy. So until some genius somewhere creates a sniff art app, words and pictures are my tools. Words I have no problem with. I can turn a phrase that will turn on your senses.

The images, not so much. I just can’t seem to recreate visually what I see in my kitchen, at a restaurant, on a farm. At least not to my satisfaction. My images are okay, but they’re not magical. And often times, what I see in my travels is nothing short of magical. This creates a big divide in my two-dimensional communication with you which I just cannot seem to bridge. Continue reading

Grain Geeks of the World, Unite!

Hello, my name is Linda. And I’m a grain geek.

I’ve been a grain geek for as long as I can remember. I’m easily seduced by the pop, crunch, nuttiness and chewiness of corn, oat, barley, and rye grains. Show willpower in the face of a wheat berry? Not me. Couscous is my crack. I’m a fiend for farro and fregola. Accept me, accept my grain addiction. I’ve surrendered to a higher power, and so should you.

It’s no wonder, then, that when I heard Maria Speck, author of Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, was teaming up with Jason Bond, Chef and Owner of Bondir in Cambridge, Massachusetts for a dinner to honor her cookbook, I decided I had to be there. Ever the procrastinator, I thought, I’ll call tomorrow. Getting a ticket wouldn’t be too tough. I mean, how many people love grains as much as I do?

A lot of people, apparently. It was sold out. I was number 2 on a very long waiting list. That took the snap right out of my crackle and pop. Continue reading

Go Bold or Go Home.

Marcos Sanchez loves a little Menudo on a Sunday afternoon.

No, silly. Not the 70’s boy band starring Ricky Martin. Chef Sanchez wasn’t even born yet. We’re talking about the other menudo: a traditional Mexican soup made from beef stomach (tripe), onion, cilantro and chile paste.

But in this case, the only connection you might find between Marcos Sanchez, his restaurant Tres Gatos in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts and Ricky Martin’s Menudo is vinyl: Tres Gatos is a restaurant cum bookstore cum record shop. That’s right. As in LPs. As in vinyl. Continue reading