Chowder is a Murder – and other great old recipes.

August 22, 2017

These recipes are all from the April, 1951 issue of Gourmet.  There’s something winning about each of them. For some it’s the casual way they’re written: I’m especially fond of the quahog cakes.  Some have seductive names: how can you resist a recipe called “lace pantycakes”? And some have adorable technique: simply insert a straw in the pomegranate and drink.

And isn’t it nice to be reminded, in this pomegranate-mad moment, that sixty-five years ago they were already on the menu?


Finally, an ad.  I actually have one of these: ten years ago Kitchen Aid brought them back.  If anyone knows how to use this machine so it doesn’t spit ground coffee all over the counter, I’d be grateful for advice.

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Creamed Tomatoes from the Seventies

August 20, 2017

From my first cookbook (published in 1972; cover art by Doug Hollis), the recipe for creamed tomatoes.  I used to make it all the time – but then again, I was  21 when I wrote that book!

This was the art on the page; it was done by the late, great Chris Frayne.

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Italy, Continued

August 10, 2017

Just outside Bologna, in the tiny town of Savigno, is a terrific little restaurant called Amerigo dal 1934.  The town itself is quaint and peaceful; wandering down the streets, peering into bakeries and butcher shops,  you know its citizens eat very well.

They certainly do. The trattoria has been serving its citizens since 1934, and it proudly lists the date each item went onto the menu. We, it turned out, are pure traditionalists; just about every dish we ordered has been on the menu since the very start.

We began our meal with a plate of traditional cured meats,

pickled vegetables (there’s a little shop attached to the restaurant, where they sell their own products),

and this fantastic tongue salad, the meat soft, the herbs fragrant.

This might have been my favorite dish of the evening, tortelli with prosciutto di Mora and parmesan cream

And even on a scalding hot night, these tiny tortellini in brodo were superb.

This was our dessert – although it’s actually intended as an antipasto – an Italian ice cream sandwich. Parmesan gelato is splashed with balsamic and served on the local tigelle bread.


Another night we were on lovely Lake Trasimeno, looking for seafood. It’s difficult to find salt water fish in this land-locked area of Italy, but we found it at Il Fischio del Merlo in Passignano sul Trasimeno.

Seafood salad.

Beautifully fried fish

One of the stranger dishes I’ve encountered (and one the restaurant is very proud of): risotto cooked in sweet wine, with raw shrimp cooked simply by the heat of the risotto.

And a very beautiful orata, served curled beneath its own bones.

If you’re looking for a different kind of menu in Umbria – one that departs from the usual meat-centric dishes along with a little pasta – this is a very good choice.  A lovely ambiance and extremely pleasant service.

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