In another life, about a century ago, I took the position of Cook for a Contessa in a Palazzo just outside Verona. A lady called Itsi Maraschino drove me around the neighbourhood pointing out where I must buy food; for vegetables I was to go to a massive barn where farmers dropped off crates of freshly picked produce - rows of aubergine and courgette varieties, vegetables that I'd never heard of, ten different sorts of artichokes - and all that was before I discovered the lettuce barn - or the cheeses.
Last week (while in Rome... ) we visited the Colosseum and then we were too hungry to read a map properly so we kept getting lost and all the while looking for THE place to eat - finally we fell into a cafe run by a Chinese family who served frozen pizza with a comedy sideshow.
Today we got in the car and drove to Frascati, a town apparently full of good restaurants but so full of cars and traffic jams that we drove on past, winding our way up a hill towards another town.
On the roadside we spotted a 'hostelerie' that looked probably-closed. We stopped and it seemed almost definitely closed-for-the-winter but we walked round to a side door that appeared to be the private house section, we were going to creep away but I was so hungry that I became brave and opened the door expecting to surprise a family eating fish fingers in front of their television.
Lo! the door opened to a proper restaurant dining room with a blazing fire and other diners and a kitchen where cooking was happening and a table for us where we were served artichokes and ham and polenta that was crisp outside and soft inside with orange zest, then torteloni with truffles and cheesy cream then an astonishing salad of white crunchy stems dressed with garlic and anchovy.
DANIEL DENNETT’S SCIENCE OF THE SOUL: A philosopher’s lifelong quest to understand the making of the mind - Joshua Rothman in The New Yorker: Four billion years ago, Earth was a lifeless place. Nothing struggled, thought, or wanted. Slowly, that changed. Seawater...
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