L’inglese non funziona così

crediti: Sky tg24

Cari italiani,

SÌ! Ce l’abbiamo fatta! Gli azzurri hanno preso quella bellissima coppa pregiata.

Come nuova cittadina italiana, sono contentissima di aver vinto. Come americana di nascita, sono anche più contenta di aver battuto gli inglesi. Dopo un periodo spesso paragonato a un tempo di guerra, è ancora più bello vedere le lacrime di felicità anziché di angoscia, e gli abbracci anziché gli scialbi tocchi con i gomiti.

Tuttavia come insegnante d’inglese sono piuttosto scoraggiata e devo ammettere che questa vittoria rende il mio lavoro ancora più difficile. …

It’s like eating a cup of mulled wine

Charoset is a dish served during the Jewish holiday of Pesach or Passover. Passover takes place on the 15th of the month of Nisan on the lunar calendar, which typically falls around March or April on the Gregorian calendar.

Photo courtesy of Lenses and Lentils

The celebration takes place in the form of a long dinner, during which we recounted the story of Exodus when Moses led the Jewish slaves out of Egypt and into the promised land of Israel. If you’re Christian and you’ve read the New Testament, you might remember that Jesus celebrated the “Festival of Unleavened Bread” with his twelve disciples, during which…

Celebrate the season with this strange pie from southern Italy

Photo courtesy of Journo.it

The Neapolitan pastiera is not your typical pie. Instead of jam or fruit, the pastiera contains a ricotta crème interior. This chewy, dense filling is so soft that it melts in your mouth and yet solid enough that it blends with the flaky crust to create one harmonious bite. It almost has the texture of raw cookie dough.

Somehow dense and rich while remaining light and delicate, the pastiera is guaranteed to make everyone at the table smile. In fact, according to Neapolitan legend, the first time King Ferdinand II saw his wife smile was when she tasted a pastiera

The short answer: yes.

To understand the fundamental differences between American and European flour, see this previous post.

As you already know from my previous post, European flour typically allows bakers to be more precise in exactly what kind of texture and density they aim to achieve in their final product. This is because the varieties of flour in Europe allow bakers to choose both the level of refinement and the protein content.

But precision aside, is European flour really higher quality? Is it better for your health?

These are the questions my American friends always ask. …

This is why the best bakers never use American flour

When I first moved to Italy, I knew there would be some challenging new hurdles. A language with gendered determiners. The Kafkaesque labyrinth of bureaucratic paperwork. The absurdity that every outfit pairs with your shoes (gave up on that one).

What I didn’t expect to be a new challenge — or different in any way — was choosing flour in the supermarket. Not gluten-free flour or nut flour or anything wacky. Just standard flour.* You know, “All-Purpose.” The most basic of all kitchen ingredients. The actual definition of run-of-the-mill.

Flour is flour, right? So I thought until I found myself…

A deliciously easy alternative from central Italy

Passatelli has 3 main ingredients: breadcrumbs, parmesan, and egg.

Living in the hometown of tagliatelle, lasagna, and tortellini, I love to make brightly hued, fresh pasta for dinner. That is, when I have the time.

Once I measure out the flour and eggs (5 minutes), knead them together until they form an elastic ball (15 minutes), leave the ball to sit (1–2 hours), roll out the dough until the pasta is as thin and translucent as a bed sheet (15 minutes), wait for the dough to dry enough for me to fold and cut it (30 minutes), it’s already long past dinner time. And that’s just to make a…

The dark history of bread

(Photo courtesy of Freepik)

In the peak of the coronavirus lockdowns, I noticed a wave of articles about baguette. NPR reported, “In France, Bakeries Remain Essential.” The Washington Post wrote, “French flock back to bakeries for comfort.” In a hard-hitting interview straight from the front lines of a Parisian boulangerie, the NYT quoted a man tucking a baguette under his arm: “We can’t live without bread here. You can’t take that away from the French.”

I’m not going to lie, I found these articles irresistibly charming and a much-needed respite from the real (i.e. nightmare) news of 2020. And I totally understand why Americans…

And most people throw it away

When we think of Italian food, we usually think of pizza and pasta. Which may be why we always underestimate the most beloved carbohydrate of all: bread.

While they don’t get as much love abroad, Italian bread is just as exceptional and expressive as pasta, with just as much diversity. There are the white-bread “turtles” and “spiders” of Emilia Romagna, the pita-like puccie of Puglia, the ciabatta of Veneto, the “insipid bread” of Tuscany, the focaccia of Genoa, the friable grassini of Piedmonte, the translucently thin pane carasau of Sardinia, and the crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside pinsa of Lazio . . …

And no, you can’t make it at home.

(Image via Piaceri della Vita )

Usually I return to America to see my family in August. But this year, for obvious virus-related motives, I decided to take the train down to Puglia instead. The stiletto of Italy’s boot, Puglia has endless coastline along both the Adriatic and the Ionic seas. It also happens to have one of the most remarkable cuisines in all of Italy, which is kind of like having a remarkable smile in a Miss America Pageant, or a remarkable car on Rodeo Drive. To be famous for your food in Italy doesn’t mean you…

(Image credit: The Prince of Egypt, DreamWorks, 1998)

We all know the story our Hebrew school teacher told us as kids. The Pharaoh decides to let the Israelite slaves go, but they better run fast before he changes his mind (which, of course, he then does, leading to the climactic chariot chase). The Israelites get the message loud and clear. They start panic packing, strapping whatever they can find onto their camels. In their haste, they can’t even wait for the bread to rise in the ovens. They pull out whatever they have and make a mad dash.

And that’s why today we don’t eat grains during Passover


If it involves words, count me in. Currently living in Bologna, Italy. www.elisezell.com

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