I ate an entire box of cookies today. To my credit, it wasn’t all in one sitting. It took me a good 7 hours to go through that box. That’s reasonable, right? Ok, so I also had three Ferrero Rocher chocolates and two glasses of wine during the same 7 hours. And dinner. I did make dinner. From scratch. Not that that’s saying a lot. (Or maybe it is.)
I’ve been thinking a lot about food these days. Probably most of us are. Once you got past the panic of whether you had enough toilet paper to last you through quarantine, you probably started wondering if you had enough food. I’ve seen some fun posts about clearing out your pantries and trying to figure out what you can make with an excess of beans. I laughed at a friend who binge-shopped frozen entrees (filling his entire freezer) just before I left the states. He was way ahead of the curve on this apocalypse and I’m definitely not laughing at him now. And then there’s another friend who has finally used his stove after living in his home for… two years. He’s making hard boiled eggs, which is always a good place to start after learning how to boil water. 😉 All jokes aside, I think we’re ALL in a completely new relationship with food these days.
Ah, but in Italy, food is practically a religion. Some of you know I was once married to an Italian. And my mother-in-law (or more accurately, mother-in-love) was a typical (meaning, great) Italian cook. Only, I couldn’t fully appreciate her cooking because I was a vegetarian then. Twelve years of being a vegetarian and family dinners were rough. I suffered through a LOT of ribbing. But there were two recipes that have always stayed with me and if anyone in the Nania family is reading this blog, I want to say thank you.
The first is spaghetti noodles tossed with ample (and equal) amounts of butter and olive oil. Then sautéed mushrooms, garlic, and broccolini. Season with black pepper and freshly grated parmesan. So simple. And so yummy.
Simpler still: pancake eggs. I was told all those years ago that this was a Depression-era recipe, but I’ve learned since being here that all Italians once ate much more simply. Pasta with ragu (what Americans now consider typical spaghetti) wasn’t common, it was too time consuming and called for too many ingredients. It was saved for special occasions. Noodles and butter and salt, now that was a staple. It was also pretty cheap. As are pancake eggs.
Crack an egg, add some water and whisk well. Then add some flour. Hard to say how much. About a tablespoon, maybe a bit more, but just a little at a time. Keep whisking to get out the clumps. Pour into a pan with melted butter. Cook until the sides curl and it resembles a pancake, then flip it over and sprinkle salt on top. Just like a pancake, you can pretty much tell when it’s done. Flip it again as you transfer it to your plate and add more salt. Prego! Pancake egg. So simple. Surprisingly tasty. And a good way to stretch valuable eggs.
I have a dozen brown eggs in my fridge right now. Gluten-free pasta on the counter with several bulbs of garlic. Plus oatmeal and honey in my cupboard. This all means I’m probably good for two weeks, or at least until this rain subsides, which is forecasted for the next 8 days. As for cookies, at the rate that I’m going, I’m out of luck in less than two. Then it’s back to sticking my finger in the Nutella jar.
So tell me, what are you eating?