[Episode 100] The Meta of Food – All About Food Besides Eating It!

Jason is back on the podcast for one last, final episode! Yes, Thoughts on the Table ends today as it hits its 100th episode with the biggest topic we could think of: the meta of food, i.e. anything that has to do with food besides the physical sensations of actually eating it. Join us in our journey through this fascinating subject as we touch on the concept of authenticity and on how culture influences our appreciation of flavor.

Conversely, in the second part of the episode, Jason and I discuss some cooking trends that affect the flavor of food. These include the tendency to finish cooking pasta in its sauce and to alter traditional recipes to make them visually pleasing for sharing on social media, more so than with our guests!

Special Thanks

I’d like to thank all of you who have been listening and the 65 amazing guests that I had the pleasure of interviewing and collaborating with. I’d like to make a special mention to those who have bought into the project and really helped drive it, starting with Jason, and including Gino De Blasio, Manu, Frank Fariello, Diana Zahuranec, Raffaella De Amici, Rick Zullo, David Scott Allen, Nick Zingale, Mark Preston, Simon Pagotto, Melinda King, Tina Prestia, Sim Salis, Eva, Diana Pinto – who also contributed to this last episode with her precious research and insight.

Episode References

Carbonaragate

Cookbooks

  • Marcella Cucina, by Marcella Hazan, William Morrow Cookbooks, 1997
  • Millericette, by Erina Gavotti, A.Vallardi, 1995
  • Mangiare e Bere all’Italiana, by Luigi Carnacina and Luigi Veronelli, Garzanti, 1962
  • Recipes and Memories, by Sophia Loren, GT Publishing Corporation, 2000
  • Le Quattro Stagioni in Cucina, by Lisa Biondi, AMZ Editrice, 1981
   

Eleven years of blogging, eight of podcasting

Another year! The good news is that this blog is still active and luckily keeps being found by those searching for Italian specialties like pizzoccheri or canederli or Italian misconceptions like my 6 Italian myths. The bad news of course is that I haven’t posted any new articles or recipes this year. I know, it’s terrible – but it’s also okay, given that social media has taken the place of blogging in many ways.

But I did resume podcasting (yay!) and produced 16 new episodes with as many guests and collaborations this past year! This continues to be a lot of fun for me and I’ve already started to work on a new round of episodes to hopefully reach my dream milestone of 100 episodes very soon!

Here is a list of the episodes this year. Thanks again to all of my wonderful guests!

On a personal level, we keep well here in southern England, still working from home and enjoying plenty of homecooked food. We pretty much spend our time planning meals, cooking, cleaning the kitchen, and being grateful for having a dishwasher. As the government lifted all social distancing measures exactly two weeks ago, we are far from back to normal, unfortunately. Traveling is still not really possible, including to and from Italy which of course breaks our hearts. But we enjoy our area, which is wonderfully green after a very wet summer, and spending time with our cat Rascal, who just turned 19, overall doing great and still a great source of comfort and inspiration to us both.

I hope you’re all well, wherever you are, and please get in touch for collaborations, to be on the podcast, or just to say hi – I’d love that 🙂

[Thoughts on the Table – 92] The Quest for Authentic & Original Recipes, with Diana Pinto

Thoughts on the Table is back with a new guest, Diana Pinto, and a very special episode. As she describes it, Diana became interested in noting recipe variations across different cookbooks. Incidentally and unexpectedly, this brought her to challenge the concept of authenticity or at least the implication that there’s one true way to cook traditional Italian dishes, a claim that we see so frequently on social media and that risks having a deeply damaging effect.

Diana mentions several cookbooks and authors (though she doesn’t endorse them all necessarily!) Here is a written list for your reference, in order of “appearance”.

  • The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
  • Anna del Conte
  • La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene by Pellegrino Artusi
  • Il Talismano della Felicita` by Ada Boni
  • Il Cucchiaio d’Argento / The Silver Spoon
  • Sauces and Shapes by Oretta Zanini de Vita
  • Popes, Peasants, and Shepherds by Oretta Zanini de Vita
  • The Italian Baker by Carol Field
  • Le Ricette Regionali Italiane by Anna Gosetti della Salda

During the show, we also mention bloggers Frank Fariello (Memorie di Angelina) and Tina Prestia (Tina’s Table) who were previous podcast guests and also touched on the theme of authenticity:

You can follow Diana Pinto on Instagram @cremafrangipane and on YouTube.

The music in the episode is by www.purple-planet.com.

   

[Thoughts on the Table – 82] Dissecting Ragù alla Bolognese with Tina Prestia

In this episode, Bologna-based, food instructor and blogger Tina Prestia talks about Ragù alla Bolognese, arguably the most famous and misunderstood Italian sauce.

Join us to hear Tina Prestia break down Ragù alla Bolognese after she analyzed 50+ recipes and directly tested several of them. What ingredients are non-negotiables? What ingredients can be optional? What are most definitely a no-no?

The episode is largely based on Tina’s great post: Ragù Bolognese – An Analysis, with recipes, tips & resources, and it refers to a few cities and regions of Italy. See the map below for a visual reference!

ragu` regions
Based on blank map by TUBS (Wikimedia Commons). License: CC BY-SA

You can follow Tina on her blog and also on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. You can hear Tina’s interview on episode 76.

The music in the episode is by www.purple-planet.com.

   

[Thoughts on the Table – 76] Introducing Food Blogger Tina Prestia from Tina’s Table

Tina Prestia is a food blogger with a fascinating background. She grew up in upstate New York in an Italian-American community (her dad being from Calabria), moved to New York City to pursue musical theater, graduated and worked at the French Culinary Institute, moved to Nashville working as a personal chef, then (five years ago) moved to Bologna, Italy.

Join us to hear Tina tell her story, share her passion for Italy, describe her love for pasta-making, introduce the city of Bologna, and talk about her experience with writing a blog.

You can follow Tina on her blog and also on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest.