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Chicken.Kiev >> «Chicken.Kiev» internet-magazine >> World cuisine

Italian cuisine

I once visited Porto Rotondo (Sardinia). A magnificent island, its shores washed by the Mediterranean Sea from the one side, and by the Tiranean Sea from the other. Sunshine, beaches, girls... But I don't really care about these. I just love to eat well! Tasty and filling food!

And there it was - a wonderful restaurant around the corner, with splendid Italian cooking. The waiter, a temperamental Italian with a charming smile, hands me a seemingly-endless menu, saying "Prego! Prego, seigniora!"

"Oh yeah!", I nodded to him in reply and started ordering my first dish in sunny Italy. Pointing my finger at various dishes on the menu one after the other, I cried, "I'll have this! - and this. Oh, and this. ...and also that!" - getting quite carried away. He looked a bit perplexed, but his smiling face didn't change. He swallowed and went away.

Only half a year went by (three minutes in fact) before I was served splendid white wine and "pasta" (i.e. spaghetti). I nodded thankfully! The waiter nodded back at me and hurried away. He soon came back with something in his hands that looked like what I'd just eaten, but with a different name tagliatelli with tomato sauce.

"What, macaroni again?", I yelled, in Russian of course. The waiter leaned his head to one side and smiled even wider. I asked the same question again, but this time in English, "Is that spaghetti, again?" But he still didn't understand. I scratched the back of my neck with my fork still wrapped in macaroni... Then I composed a pantomime in my mind.

"Well, this", I said while trying to mime boiled macaroni, "and that", pointing to my other plate and repeating my mime, "Aren't they the same?"

In reply, the waiter nervously murmured something in Italian and rushed back to the kitchen. He returned in a moment or two with yet another plate of macaroni in his hands, and another young Italian guy following him.

"Do you speak English?", he asked me.

"Yes!", I beamed.

"You American girl?"

"No, Im Ukrainian girl!"

"h!" this time it was he who beamed. "You are from Ukraine?", he exclaimed in Russian.

"Yes! And you?"

"I'm from the Urals! I have been working as an 'Italian' chef here for over two years. It seems you have problems?"

"I think so", I said meditatively. "I think that young Italian has decided to fill me up with macaroni.

"No! You ordered it yourself. In essence, you asked for pasta, tagliatelli (a type of Italian pasta) and gnozzi (small pasta dumplings)."

But I didn't know that the menu consisted only of macaroni. By the way, what else did I order?

The waiter from the Urals asked the other waiter (who was standing behind us smiling for the whole time) for the bill:

"You also ordered 'zuppa' and 'minestra' that is two soups. But he for some reason thought that you wanted them after the main courses".

"Alright, but is there any meat or dessert anywhere on the horizon?"

"No! Only two fish dishes, but very good ones, especially 'fritto di pesze'!"

"So my guess was wrong! It's a pity, because I was told that Sardinian cuisine is famous for barbecued meat and game, and I hadn't pointed to any of those on the menu! Well, bring those soups and fish then... or fish and soups

"O, ma caroni!"

My stay in Italy didn't pass without leaving its traces. And the fact that I put on 5 kg, was not the most important. Although with my height being only 160 cm, it was really quite noticeable.

But on the other hand, I found out who gave the name 'macaroni' to macaroni. Or rather, I got completely confused. Some Italians stated that it was an Italian cardinal, who, when he first saw white "worms" made from flour on his plate, exclaimed: "h! Ma caroni!", which when translated means "Oh, how nice!" Others are sure that the fathers of the holy church had nothing to do with it, and that "maccherone" is how Greeks called everything special and amazing they met on their way through Italy.

In the literature, the word "macaroni" is first seen in Decameron. And seignior Boccaccio was completely surprised that as early as the XIV century in Italy they were cooking macaroni and ravioli brought from China by Marco Polo.

By the way, the word "soup", i.e. "zuppa" in their language, was also borrowed from the Italians: in their language, it meant something thick, and something which people drink.

In fact, in the XVI century, soup was made somewhat differently. They put into a jug a gammon, two pounds of beef, a pound of veal, a young chicken, and a young pigeon. When the water came to the boil, spices, vegetables and potherbs were added. And as a Roman chef once said: This soup was then eaten for the next six weeks!

Nowadays in Italy, soup is made in another way. For instance, paveza soup is made with 2-3 slices of white bread, fried after spreading butter on both sides. They are then put into a fireproof pot, covered with 2 glasses of meat bouillon, and a raw egg then mixed into it. The soup is then put in the oven until the egg-white becomes hard. Finally, grated cheese and finely-chopped potherbs are added to the soup.

So, it's simple and tasty!

4 chefs for 1 salad.

Four housewives can spoil the broth, but four cooks will never spoil the salad, as the Italian saying goes. And the first chef should be stingy and spice the salad up with vinegar, the second a philosopher adding salt, the third a spendthrift pouring oil, and the fourth an artist who mixes the whole thing together!

By the way, chefs can also be composers, like Rossini, who composed one of the favourite dishes of the Italian intellectuals the great tornedo.

As the saying goes, everything genial is simple:

Take some beef fillet, add salt and pepper, fry on both sides, and put onto white bread which has also been fried in butter. Garnish with a bit of pork liver pate, a slice of tomato, and parsley. And eat, eat, eat, of course, while listening to the opera buffo, The Barber of Seville!



 
 
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UKRAINIAN CUISINE

Budmo, hey! (Let's be!) The first thing which comes to my mind... No, that's not what I should say. The first picture which my imagination paints when I hear the words "the Ukrainian cuisine" is an episode from the movie of Hohol's "Evenings in the hamlet near Dykanka", where varenyky, having rolled around by themselves in sour cream, jump into Patsiuk(The Rat)'s mouth. What a great moment! What a great delicacy! And what a great way to eat it! It is certainly a pity that nobody has yet invented a "remote control for the mouth and the plate", and the above method of delivering food into the mouth is just the devil's trick or Hohol's project that is impossible to implement. But then, the amount of halushky (by the way, in a big, big bowl) is just right for our healthy and inspired Ukrainian appetite! Never mind how other people eat, but we, not so rich people, or one can even say people very far from being rich, are used to eating in grand style. It is not without reason that our phrase, "Love comes and goes, but you will always want to eat!", simply does not translate well into other languages - probably foreigners simply just do not have such words. So, what am I talking about? Oh yeah, about the unmatched Ukrainian cuisine! "There's no fish better than tench, and no meat better than pork." Among all the dishes of Ukrainian cuisine, for example, that of the very beginning of the XX century, one can single out several subcategories, which were the most popular among native Ukrainian people: those made from grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits. Note than in the old days, dishes made from meat were considered food for festive days only, and among all the existing kinds of meat, the undisputable preference was given to pork and certainly (could there be any doubting it?) salo - oh, our Ukrainian salo!


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