Tag: table

Of salads and babà: when Sanremo goes to the table – Italian Cuisine

A few years ago, it was 2017 and the possibility of a global pandemic only existed in the head of Bill Gates, the French group Phoenix released a tribute album to Italy, I love you. The presence in the band of two brothers with an Italian father must have helped, so the singer Thomas Mars (and this is where you have to remember who he is married to Sofia Coppola), rattles off lines that contain languid little words pronounced in a slightly drawn-out Italian, This melted ice cream, Champagne or Prosecco?, references to Battiato And Lucio (Lucio par excellence is Baptists; the other is From the), and especially Well I'll show you how to win / My Sanremo festival. The video is just as full of good old clichés that concern us: the Trevi fountain, the beaches, a beautiful checked table set with plates of spaghetti and red wine. If we have to go all the way, then let's go all the way, the Phoenix must have thought; getting it right, including spaghetti and Sanremo, the appointment that blocks a nation in February, effectively kidnapping it.

And spaghetti, and the Festival, together? When did it happen, in the homeland of good cooking and bel canto, that the two things came together?
It happened, and that of food and drink in Sanremo is a story that starts from far away, from the dawn of the Festival, with a crackling start to say the least. Second edition, 1952; Nilla Pizzi repeats the triumph of the previous year with Fly dove, but it is in Poppies and ducks, who came second – at the time the same singers presented more songs in the competition, and Nilla also came third – who sings, in lysergic verses that hint at a markedly vegetarian predilection: Dad, eat the poppies, how do you do it? / Why do you want to eat poppies, Dad said / And then he added, pecking at the salad / What are you going to do with it, this is life, with a pedagogical synthesis destined to mark generations of children.

In this regard, years ago a newspaper even took the trouble to analyze all the songs presented at the festival to see how many contained references to food. Result, perhaps a bit disappointing: thirty, out of one thousand six hundred, because in Sanremo, you know, it is love that reigns supreme, or maybe why MasterChef all in all it is still a novelty when compared to the very long festival tradition. On the other hand, artists have passed nomen omen, as Piero Focaccia, Tullio Pane, the dear Mango, Sugar And Milk and honey, Genoese progressive band in the seventies. In any case, when the Sanremo song becomes edible, the diet is rigorously devoid of meat, as was already the case with Nilla Pizzi's poppies and salad; a rule that also applies if the tone changes to the brilliance of a Rino Gaetano, when participating in the 1978 edition with Gianna sang that the same, in addition to supporting theses and illusions, he had an exceptional flair for truffles.

Guest at the Black & White Festival of Sanremo, circa 1950. (Photo by Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche / Getty Images).

Staying on the subject of brilliance, food becomes metaphor and parody when in 1996 Elio and the tense stories they sing to the Ariston The land of persimmons (a fruit moreover beloved by Giuseppe Verdi, it seems), throwing down – with a very Italian and singular melody – the tower of national malpractice, from indifference to easy indignation, from bombs to pliers in the pits of medical malpractice up to the inevitable and self-absolving "Volemose bene" summarized in the refrain: Italy yes Italy no Italy gnamme, se famo du spaghi / Italy sob Italy prot, the land of persimmons / A pizza in company, a pizza alone / a total of two pizzas and this is Italy. And before getting to the cafe of Fiorella Mannoia (Hot black coffee) or those hypertrophic of Alex Britti (7000 coffees), in Sanremo there is time for a drink by Achille Lauro in Rolls Royce, which isn't actually a drink, but it is Paul Gascoigne, the alcoholic English footballer of Lazio in the nineties. Or, again, text in hand, to the real culinary song of Sanremo: Baba is serious business from Marisa Laurito, where the goodness of Italian cuisine is considered the only valid reason not to emigrate to America or to Mars (To me what consoles me / And the addore d’a pummarola / Because what cheers me up / Songo 'e zite with ragù / And yes to a bitter life if it does / It sweetens cu nu babà!).

Yet, as even the most die-hard antagonists of the great Sanremo bandwagon are forced to admit, many shades of Italy pass on the stage of the Festival, not only those of strapaese, as this brief musical-gastronomic review also explains. Including the beloved ones who was capable of intoning the other Lucio, Lucio Dalla, when it was 1972 and he was singing in Sanremo about a hungry homeless man in one of the many Italian squares, There are no saints who pay for my lunch / On the benches in Piazza Grande / But when I'm hungry for merchants like me, there aren't any / I sleep on the grass and have many friends around me / The lovers in Piazza Grande / I know everything about their troubles, their loves, wrong and not; thus recalling that Italy is not only that of the sweet babas.

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Shopping in February, love on the table – Italian Cuisine

Shopping in February, love on the table

Fruits, vegetables, fish, snacks to munch in front of the TV and aphrodisiac foods: the smart shopping cart of February

New tv series, Saint Valentine, Carnival, Sanremo and again twenty-eight days on the calendar. Welcome back February, a month of great "commitments" that have an excellent relationship with food. So what shouldn't be missing in the shopping cart for the next few weeks?

Fruit to buy in February

A Apple a day, you know, never hurts. Contains potassium, phosphorus, calcium and can be used with imagination in the kitchen. Cakes, tarts, strudel but also salads. Pears are no exception, but under the fruit item, for this month, there are also grapefruit, tangerine and i persimmon, essential for preparing a gluttonous jam, ideal accompaniment to aged cheeses. But you can also simply spread it on rusks for breakfast.

Seasonal vegetables

Cabbages, Brussels sprouts, Romanesco cabbage, cauliflower. And the broccoli, which is not to be missed on the shopping list. As well as its "cousins", very useful for a soup that for lunch, at least one day a week, also fits perfectly in February. The other vegetables and vegetables of the season not to be forgotten? Fennel, radicchio, spinach, artichoke, leek, turnips and pumpkin. Yeah, the pumpkin, a winning ingredient for delicious tortelli with orange filling. The recipe is typical of the area between Emilia and lower Lombardy; their flavor bitter-sweetinstead, it is perfect at any latitude. And for one dinner romantic, on Valentine's Day, can be a great idea.

Food, TV and love

Given the schedule for February, it is better to find a good compromise: in front of the TV, yes, but without the usual guilt-inducing diet. Dried fruit, crackers, strawberries, yogurt and even dark chocolate. Which then, returning again to the February 14, it can also become useful for a dessert to share. A Dark Chocolate Cake also requires butter, sugar and eggs: marked?

Not just fish

Sole, sea bass and sea bass, fish lovers are warned: here are the ones that should not be missing on the shopping list. To add to the shopping list also artichokes, rocket, lettuce and chicory. As well as the chili, ginger and oysters, aphrodisiac foods that for the feast of lovers are a must at the table. This completes an ideal shopping cart to face the second month of the year in the best possible way.

From the screen to the table: the recipe books of the films are very popular – Italian Cuisine


Cookbooks inspired by TV series, comics and movies: they are the hit of the moment. Also in Italy


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The Harry Potter Yorkshire Pudding and the Game of Thrones honey chicken, the Turkish delights of Narnia and i Nestlé Toulose of Friends, i Star Wars Yoda sandwiches and the Downton Abbey raspberry meringue: you could build a whole, fantastic and surprising menu with recipes inspired by the most beloved television series, film sagas and comics of all time. And without straining with the imagination. Simply by following the instructions indicated in the many (and increasingly numerous) cooking books dedicated to the most popular of these masterpieces of popular culture. A phenomenon born in the 60s and that has never stopped, but has actually been growing and has been experiencing a real boom in recent times, among long-selling titles (such as "In the kitchen with Harry Potter" published by Vallardi which from 2010 to today has sold over a million copies), books that have marked an era (such as “In Cucina con Disney”, published by Vallardi) and new arrivals already announced (such as the new Friends cookbook, due out in February for Panini).

A movie menu
Could this trend not also conquer food lovers like Italians? In the bookstore, there is something to make your mouth water. Fans of Hayao Miyazaki you can delight with the sizzling bacon de Howl's Moving Castle and the Siberia cake of Si alza il vento and with many other delights taken from the films of the Japanese master, collected in the book "The enchanted kitchen", written by Silvia Casini and Raffaella Fenoglio (Trenta Editore). Staying in the Land of the Rising Sun, I am 50 recipes inspired by the most popular manga series and souls created by the famous Chef Hiro and collected in the book “Hiro Cartoon Food” (Mondadori). You travel in the flavors of hyperspace with "Star Wars: Delights from a distant galaxy …." (published by Panini), while taking a sophisticated break in pure English style with the recipe books inspired by Downton Abbey, to feel in company of Lord Grantham and family. Among the upcoming releases announced is "Friends: The Official Central Perk Cookbook”(Panini publisher), which offers over fifty coffee-inspired recipes where many episodes of this popular sit-com have been set. A best seller announced after the success of the previous cooking book "Friends: The Official Recipe Book", published in Italy by Panini in 2020.

An endless saga
But what determines the birth of a recipe book inspired by a TV series or a cult comic? Often it is the passion of the fans that pushes them to imagine how they were prepared dishes seen in an episode or mentioned in a streepx. The most famous of these authors is American Chelsea Monroe-Cassel, who wrote the cookbooks inspired by the Game of Thornes and World of Warcraft series and is now working on the upcoming Star Trek one. In these books he put his passion for these television programs to good use, the hours spent watching and reliving the episodes, and his imagination in translating the menus seen on the small screen into real, feasible and… appreciable recipes!

High rate of creativity
It is precisely the goodness of the recipes combined with their rate of creativity (and the precision in describing them) that has made this editorial trend make the leap in quality. If the first books released in the 70s – starting from what (probably) is the most popular progenitor, namely "The Little house cookbook", Inspired by the popular TV series"That house on the prairie”- they were rather simple and not very pretentious, today these cookbooks compete with those signed by great chefs. They are born after careful research on the narrative universes they are inspired by, they are developed respecting the character of the characters and the emotional climax of the stories, they are precise and detailed; in short, they are so accurate that they do not disappoint any enthusiast and, on the contrary, they become an indispensable appendix to make these fantastic worlds come alive with real life. And the skills of cooks and food writers fit into this in-depth knowledge of the subject, so that even thegastronomic aspect both from ten and praise.

January 2022
Manuela Soressi
photo Trenta Editore

Sponge cake by Zeniba

Ingredients for 4 people
50 ml of vegetable oil
80 g of low gluten flour
80 ml of milk
5 eggs
80 g of sugar
a pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean

In a bowl, beat egg yolks, milk, vanilla seeds and sugar and a pinch of salt; add the sifted flour, the oil, and mix with the spatula. Add the beaten egg whites. Put the dough in a pan and bake in the oven in a bain-marie at 160 ° for 50 minutes. The more experienced can try their hand at covering the cake with a layer of ivory-colored sugar paste.

Posted on 01/28/2022


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