Thursday, December 9, 2010

let's talk a little bit more about julia della croce, shall we?

i don't feel like that one teeny tiny line in my last post was enough. she deserves much more.

honestly, i had never heard of julia until i saw the sign advertising that she was coming to the chopping block for a book signing with her latest book italian home cooking. she's written 13 books about italian cooking. honestly, you would think a girl who loves italy, food and italian food as much as i do would have already been enlightened. oh well, no time like the present. i plan on making up for lost time.

first off, before we get to the food, can i just say how wonderful julia is, as a person? she is genuine and not intimidating at all. she has one of those personalities where i feel like i already know her. i wish she was my neighbor so i could borrow a cup of sugar and invite her over for coffee. i love how she is so passionate about getting people back in the kitchen.

during the demo she talked about how italians are no longer cooking in the traditional manner. for one, more and more people are working and don't have time to cook or learn how to cook. and those in the professional culinary world are being classically trained in culinary schools instead of by the sides of short, little old ladies shuffling around the kitchen. the authentic italian way of cooking is being left behind. she talked a lot about the italian method of cooking vs. the french method. italian cooking is all about ingredients. french cooking is all about technique. one isn't necessarily better than the other; they're just different. most culinary schools are based off the french technique, hence the loss of tradition.

(yes, my mind automatically says "traditioooon!" sorry, back to the post.)

many italian dishes are simple but like julia said the make or break element is the ingredients. make sure you have the best tomatoes.* make sure your pasta is from italy. make sure you have some damn good olive oil. as the saying goes, good with good makes good.

for her cooking demo, julia made lentil soup with crumbled sausage and ditalini pasta (p. 80). we were also able to sample pissaladella (p. 22) and batter-fried sage leaves (p. 12). everything was, of course, delicious. it made me really excited to try these recipes, especially the lentil soup. julia made us promise we would try to make it at home, within the next two weeks.

so who wants to come over for some special, homemade, authentic italian lentil soup??!

but no, seriously, who wants to come over for some lentil soup..

*news flash: canned tomatoes and tomato paste are not the devil! use them! canned tomatoes have a more concentrated flavor and help give body to your tomato sauces. same goes for tomato paste. just make sure, again, that they are high quality tomatoes.

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