Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Perennial Staple

I have noticed a trend in the questions I get asked here in Italy. 

1. Ti piace Milano? (Do you like Milan?)
2. Ti piace cucinare? (Do you like to cook?)
3. Che cucini? (What do you cook?)

The last question always gets me. Last week I made stuffed mushrooms. Not only do I not know how to say "stuffed" in Italian, but I don't know how to really explain that the things I enjoy cooking are things with an aesthetic dimension, complex, detailed, kind of plebeian gourmet, slow food, vegetable-based, healthy chic, a little pretentious. Cooking in Italy tends to be simple- minimal ingredients because the ingredients are fresh, flavorful, and speak for themselves. 

In considering this further, I began to think about the ingredients I used to have on hand at my apartment back home. Lots of vegetables. Herbs. Spices. Alcohol. lots of alcohol. 

So I opened up my fridge in Milan...things looked more or less the same, except for one unmissable difference:





The entire bottom shelf of our refrigerator is entirely dedicated to CHEESE. just CHEESE. only cheese. cheese alone. nothing but cheese. an arsenal of cheese.

I decided to take everything out and put it on the table, so you'd believe me. (an endeavor that warranted three round-trip journeys to the refrigerator and afterward, left me feeling fatigued and confused.)


  • 3 x Gruyere
  • 1 x Tomino (feculent and most often found wrapped in Prosciutto before being pan fried)
  • 1 x something unknown- unwrapped and stinky and salty and very delicious (which I devoured immediately after snapping this photo).
  • 1 x Granbu di Bufala (I have no idea)
  • 1 x Grana Soresina
  • 1 x Homemade provolone (from Giulio's patient)
  • 2 x homemade pecorino from Sardinia
  • 1 x package mozzarella balls
  • 1 x pack Capra (of the goat variety)
  • 1 x pack Linea (junction where mozzarella meets laughing cow meets tofu-extrafirm)
  • 1 x feta
  • 2 x serious wedges of Parmesan 

The list grows and recedes weekly, kind of like my waistline. but collectively, this group knows not mortality. Together, they are the perennial staple of my frigorifero italiano

1 comment:

Wyndham said...

Oh la la, or should I say Mama mia!