Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Ten Commandments of Italian cooking

I. Thou shalt use olive oil, preferably extra-virgin. Thou shalt not carry on about the expense thereof in an unseemly manner; it is good for your health and tastes better.

II. Thou shalt use durum wheat pasta, and not the cheap American pasta. Thou shalt not mind the increased expense, cognizant of the fact that pasta is cheap anyway.

III. Thou shalt eschew all onion salt and garlic salt. Thou shalt always have onions and garlic on hand- they are cheap, keep well, and do not require refrigeration. Thou shalt not use peeled garlic.

IV. Thou shalt grate thine own Parmesan at the table instead of buying the pre-grated. Thou shalt prefer real Parmigiano-Reggiano, whereof thou shalt not whine that it is expensive. Thou shalt avoid the American habit of putting Parmesan everywhere. There are other cheeses. They cost less.

V. Thou shalt eat less meat. Thou shalt come to see meat as an ingredient in other dishes and not as the main course. Less meat will mean less expense, offsetting the greater costs noted above.

VI. Thou shalt eat more fish. My Son did not multiply the loaves and the cows, did He?

VII. Speaking of loaves, thou shalt eat more grains. Purported nutritional experts have insisted that thou eatest almost all whole grains. This ain't gonna happen, is it? Just eat more whole grains. Whole grain pasta is not very nice. Real Italians rarely eat it.

VIII. Thou shalt cultivate a real fondness for fresh herbs. Especially parsley. Thou shalt use flat-leaf, Italian parsley and not the curly stuff you see in restaurants. Thou shalt avoid dried herbs when possible. Frozen is better.

IX. Thou shalt not use too much sugar in thine desserts. Thou shalt eventually get used to less sugar.

X. Thou shalt eat more vegetables, which shall be properly prepared. Thou shalt become acquainted with the great variety of vegetables, which shall be purchased fresh. Or if not fresh, frozen. Thou shalt avoid canned vegetables, and generally look askance at cans, including cans of soda. Wine does not come in cans, and thou shouldst drink wine with thine meals. Except breakfast.