April 24, 2008

Southern Hospitality- NAWLINS


I went to New Orleans for the IACP conference,
which is my chance to connect with food friends
from all over the world,
attend classes
visit somewhere I have never been.

I think it was a hard choice to pick New Orleans
as a conference spot ( over 4 years ago)
after Katerina and the flooding
but I am so glad they did.

Never have I seen such hospitality
and warmth from a community still in so much pain.

Florence had a huge flood in 1966, which brought the city to it's knees,
but the world came and helped dig it out of the mud.

I know that there are organizations that are still
bringing help to New Orleans,
on my flight back to the states
was a group of kids that spent their break helping to build houses with
Habitat for Humanity.

While walking down the streets of the French Quarter,
seeing all the tourists with their HUGE
drinks in hand, staggering down the roads
many in pirate costumes
( was that a Johnny Depp look-alike?)
It was hard to see any damage.
lovely Spanish style buildings in the "French Quarter"

Breakfast at Cafe du Monde was incredibly crowded,
powdered sugar dusting everything.
Cheap thrills for three bites of clouds, $1.82
and the chicory coffee was really perfect, although so packed with tourists,
it felt more like Disneyland.
There are somethings that should be enjoyed where they are produced,
but I am going to whip up some beignets for my husband soon
and serve them with a cafe latte
and put on my zydeco CD I brought home.

The Fleur du Lys adorn the city at every corner
on T-shirts

It wasn't until leaving the city that I saw
people still living in tents under the freeway.

But we had some excellent speakers who conveyed
the feelings of those who live and lived there.
What it was like to leave and not know when you would or could return.

Losing everything
both rich and poor.

But still having the passion and love for your city
to go on and rebuild.

Jessica Harris spoke on the Rythmn of New Orleans
that of the kitchen, of the street
The voices, the energy.

We saw the playful spirit that still brings smiles to daily life.
I felt that the people wanted to take care of me,
as one of the family.
Sharing their tales, opening their hearts.
That was the rythmn I heard,
heartbeats of people in love.
In love with a town.
Me too!
I don't think I could deal with the crowds of Mardi Gras
But I will be back for some great food and music.

For many Mardi Gras my come only once a year,
but I got the feeling that here is a place
to play dress-up everyday!

They don't need a reason to celebrate life.
EVERYDAY is reason enough.


Paul Prudhomme, master of hospitality!

Love our own chef pirate behind him!

For the first night I organized a dinner at Cochon

We had one of everything from the Boucherie part of the menu, fried pig ears were fabulous,
boudin balls, the charcuterie plate, Empanadas, the BEST largest soft shelled crab and more.

I couldn't resist some White Lightning to digest our meal.
It was very smooth and I enjoyed it a lot!

Doesn't this look like a happy group?
IACP is about making friends around the table for those of us that it touches
in someway or another.
Those that teach, write, cook and guide.

Food is life and what better place to celebrate that
than New Orleans.

The neon in town was really fabulous
Voodoo shops we quite facinating.
I did bring back a couple of pieces to protect me!
Covering all my bases!

As we flew out, Bush was flying in for a meeting.
I wonder if there were protests?
I would be screaming with rage!

I hope he saw this t-shirt!

April 8, 2008

Chi Vuol Essere Lieto Sia!

Living in Florence, I am constantly surrounded by those that walked these streets before me.
You can feel it as you pass,
the weight of the ages of creativity.

Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello and Raffaello.

We are not talking Ninja turtles here, but the real guys!

The foto above is from a Brunello producer ( hopefully one following the rules)
who chose the words of Lorenzo, known as "IL MAGNIFICO".

Who wants to be happy, shall be
tomorrow is not certain.

Sort of like a prelude to
Eat, Drink and Be Merry,
for Tomorrow We may Die.

I have been absent for awhile as I am preparing a new life for myself.

I believe in numbers.

I was born in 54.
This year I turn 54.
I have been teaching in Florence for 20 years.

Seems like nice round numbers to CHANGE things.

So I am leaving the Florence space,
and becoming more freelance!

My Monday's at the Market have begun,
touring in my "hood" the San Lorenzo Market area,
where I really feel like the Diva!

It is so relaxing to stroll the market without the pressure of timing
to run back home and teach a full hands-on cooking class.

My mother-in-law always said,
"spend more time shopping"
and now I can!

We finish up by sitting and having a leasurely Tuscan style lunch,
where I can sit and help plan perfect days for clients while here.
I get to see my friends with restaurants, trattoria's
pick up new idea's for recipes
and have a fabulous meal!

The cooking classes will be on their own now,
and I am going to tag team with chef friends in Florence and in Chianti
adding to the fun!

I am just on my way to Dallas to do a fun cooking class dinner for friends
then off to New Orleans for the IACP conference!

Che Vuole Essere Lieti Sia!

Make yourself happy!!!

I am!

My Sicily tour is almost full for October,
I have space in my Panzano Wine Festival week in September.
I can create a fun three day program for you in Florence or Chianti!
Stop by the site for details

Simply Divina!