ancient walls and found objects *

Porta Maggiore was the eastern gateway to ancient walled Rome, the huge arched opening in the Aurelian walls where the Via Casalina and the Via Prenestina converge on the city.   Now the crumbling marble arches act more like a roundabout; circled by cars and the rattle of trams that roll in from Pigneto on one side and Testaccio on the other.  I’ve written about Porta Maggiore before … Continue reading ancient walls and found objects *

about my mother and the importance of beans

My mother Alison was born in 1938 in suburban Melbourne, into that generation known as war babies, the children that spent their early years albeit far from the horrors of Europe but nonetheless under the blanket of food rations, bomb shelters and the BBC war broadcast.  My Grandfather Jim was an engineer and my Grandmother Marjorie a seamstress, and their three girls grew up in a … Continue reading about my mother and the importance of beans

candied peel and walnuts

Originally posted on rustica RETRO:
? Mum always starts early on her Christmas baking; plum puddings, shortbread and rich fruit cakes might be made from about July onwards, so bags of candied orange peel, used also in her Genova cake and other regulars, can generally be found in her pantry year round.  Being a lover of such sweet sticky delights I know just which old… Continue reading candied peel and walnuts

mopping up the juices

My first job in Rome was in a restaurant owned by a Neapolitan man and his Roman wife.  The best food in the place was undoubtedly that cooked by his mother; who would shuffle in bearing great trays of Melezane alla Parmigiana; heavy with eggplant that had been first fried (Neapolitans love to fry) before being layered with rich tomato sauce and mozzarella.  Between being harangued by … Continue reading mopping up the juices

to shop or not to shop

If a city, especially one like Rome, is a great outdoor museum, then shopping is one of the (legitimate) ways of exploring it.  Lexically speaking to do the shopping or fare la spesa is a needs based activity, consisting mainly of a long list stuffed into your back pocket (or left at home on the kitchen bench) and a slightly unpleasant haul through the nearest supermarket.  Certainly it becomes … Continue reading to shop or not to shop

un bel pasticcio and other sticky situations

‘O mamma’ cries the child, ‘ho fatto un pasticcio’ is one of those lovable Italian expressions, translating roughly as ‘I’ve made a mess’ and most often heard in situations that involve play dough, cake mix and mud pies, and less frequently in those involving adult style misunderstandings. Pasticcio in the Italian kitchen can describe both a simple pie or cake, or a sticky – be it physical or metaphorical … Continue reading un bel pasticcio and other sticky situations