Archive for December, 2013

Sunday lunch: spelt and lentils


Bavicchi, Via dei Priori 15

Umbrians love their legumes and cereal grains. Since early autumn, soups made with ceci (chickpeas), lenticchie (lentils), and farro spelt) have been appearing on menus around Perugia. We have sampled several variations of these warm and hearty creations (such as the soups Pedar had two weeks ago at La Taverna) and I have been trying to recreate some of them at home. Yesterday (Sunday), I read in the Giornale dell’Umbria that this week Monteleone di Spoleto was celebrating its “farro d’oro” (spelt of gold), also known as “farro di San Nicola,” the patron saint of Monteleone (see more below). I was inspired to make a zuppa di farro for lunch. Fortunately, the Antica Spezieria e Drogheria Eredi Bavicchi (Bavicchi, for short) is open on Sundays and it is just up the Via dei Priori from our apartment…

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Majestic Modelmaking

imageWe went to the Church of Sant’ Antonio Abate today to look at presepi, which are nativity scenes for Christmas.

This one was the biggest in Perugia; they said it was 65 square meters of model.

It was cool, OK?


and here we see the majestic making of old fashioned pizzzzzzzzzzzza!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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Micah shares biscotti

Would you like one?

Would you like one?

Micah participated in a ‘piccoli amici‘ (‘little friends’) soccer tournament at Don Bosco this morning, but most of all he was looking forward to sharing the biscotti (cookies) we had bought before the match. It is common for parents to bring various snacks and drinks towards a communal post-match merenda (snack). On this occasion, Micah carried the tray around for at least 20 minutes trying to make sure that everyone had a chance at a treat. The biscotti come from the “Bar and Pasticceria dell’Accademia” down the street; it’s a classic establishment run by two elderly gentlemen. Sometimes we have returned home late around midnight and we can tell they’ve already started baking for the next day, since the lovely scents of baking dough, flour, yeast and sugar are wafting down the street. I think Micah was a little disappointed when he had no more biscotti to hand out.

All gone...

All gone…

There were two matches today; Micah scored a poacher’s goal on the last play of the game off a corner, with an assist from his friend Manuel. It took a second or two to realize what he’d done (see the delayed reaction).

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Elfo’s Pub

The magic door

The magic door

Just down the Via Sant’Agata, at no. 20, is a short flight of steps and a worn iron railing. Attached to the railing are three planters containing herbs. One is stuffed with cigarette butts, because you can no longer smoke inside bars in Italy (thank goodness). At the top of the steps is a dark oaken door with cast-iron fittings. Behind that door is another, with stained-glass cut in red and gold. The heavy limestone doorframe features garlands and ribbons centered on a broken shield. Above the lintel is a light. The light is bright green. The green light shows the way to Elfo’s.

This post is dedicated to Chris, Mac, and Shmed. Wish you were here.

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Seasonal foods and feasts

P1020345Winter/holiday foods are beginning to show up in the markets and groceries around Perugia. Oranges and clementines are in season, as are some winter vegetables, like gobbi (cardoons, see more below), and Romano broccoli. The alimentari downstairs from our apartment has been stocking up on smoked fish and other items for holiday feasts. As Americans Jews, we got a head start on the holiday feasting last week. As most of you probably know (because the American press was all over it), the first day of Hanukkah coincided with Thanksgiving for the first time in 125 years; an event that won’t happen again for another 70,000 years. I was not, however, inspired by the idea of menorahs shaped like turkeys or latkes with cranberry sauce. Besides, the first night of Hanukkah was Wednesday, and why combine holidays when you can get two meals instead of one?

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Broccoli comes as a fractal?


alien or vegetable?

My Mom brought this thing home from the market today and me, being a nerd, noticed that it was a fractal while Jakob, being the geek, thought that it was an alien from another planet.  It turns out that it is only what the Italians call Romano broccoli (they call what we think of as normal broccoli Calabrese broccoli) and it falls under the category of cultivars (cultivated variations) along with cabbage, brussel spouts, and cauliflower.  It is not ancient nor is it futuristic, in fact it was probably a result of selective breeding by Italian farmers in the 16th century.

An interesting fact that is applied to most fractals is that the number of pods on its head will always be one of the Fibonacci numbers.  Although it may look alien, it is supposed to taste very similar to cauliflower but with a slightly nuttier, earthier flavor (we haven’t dared to try it yet). We’ll let you know how it turns out.

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