madonna del piatto

Italian family cooking


learning the basics

So, my cooking school was my family. As a teenager I went daily with my mother to Perugia’s central market  to help her shopping before work.  This way we had our fresh supply of bread, eggs, meat and vegetables. We bought our first freezer sometimes in the late ’70s. Pre-cooked food or frozen food was not available.

We were especially particular about the quality of the meat. To this day, I can hardly bring myself to buy meat from the supermarket because I do not know the butcher. I will chose a butcher based on the quality of the sausages. If you put them in the pan and they do not shrink to half their size loosing a lot of water and fat then I will go back to that shop.

The next parameter is the prosciutto. It has to be local  and aged at least 18 months but still not too salty. The fat should be soft and melt in the mouth. Stringy fat indicates low quality prosciutto. A shop selling a good prosciutto will generally provide high quality foods.

hand sliced prosciutto di Norcia

hand sliced prosciutto di Norcia


the beginning

I feel like I have been cooking forever and it is almost true. As I kid I lived in a central area of Perugia, my hometown. At that time it was perfectly safe not only to walk alone to school, but to return home before my parents went back from their office jobs.

As a 6 years old I already knew how to switch on the fire under the pasta pan. By the time my parents where back, the water would be boiling and we were able to eat quickly. We had pasta for lunch on working days. Roast chicken with potatoes on Sundays.

myself at primary school in the early '70s

myself at primary school in the early '70s


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