We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
While visiting northern Italy, I jotted down some menu items we saw, and many of which we tried. These are typical antipasti, primis, or secondis:
Beef carpaccio Duck and horse carpaccio Ossa Bucco Antipasto misto Tagliatelle with truffle Tagliatelle with butter and sage Seared Tuna with pepper sauce Braised turkey breast with onion sauce Horse stew on polenta Salmon with zucchini blossoms with Prosecca sauce Gnocchi with porcini and truffle Chicken liver with balsamic sauce Triple fish carpaccio Grilled octopus with pesto sauce Rabbit stew on polenta Truffle risotto with smoked goose breast
That's Italian! As I said before, none of these treats taste as good as they should without wine.
If I want a dessert, my preference is a plate of mixed local cheeses with a couple of figs. Cafes change their menus daily, depending on what they have, and post them outside. Here's one, in Verona. Macceroncini in this context refers to thin tagliatelle:
Cash registers were invented to prevent stealing by store clerks. James Ritty invented it in 1884. They were not mainly adding machines, but registers of sales so the owner could keep track of what was going on. In those days, any clerk could add quickly anyway. Paper receipts were a later improvement.
They were complex mechanical machines (still are, but not mechanical). The old National Cash Register Co. (NCR) is still in business. IBM's Tom Watson started out there.
Welcome, fellow and fellowess fans of NCIS. Tonight's the night we say goodbye to everybody's favorite ex-Mossad assassin and adorable NCIS agent, Ziva David. The goodbye story will continue into next week, and then this wonderful chapter will come to a close.
For those of you who missed the breaking story a few months ago, you can get caught up to date here. My full series of NCIS posts is here.
Every human has at least a touch of sadism in them. A touch of other unpleasant things too, such as sociopathy. When these normal traits (eg, have you even felt schadenfreud?) reach some threshold level, we label them.
Let those without sin or sinful thoughts cast the first stone.
Street scene, early morning, Verona a week or two ago. Everybody loves Verona.What Verona lacks is a 24-hr Dunkin Donuts.
- GPS is very handy in Europe, but 10% of the time she will direct you to the most direct route instead of the most sensible route. I got some grey hairs from her direct route up in the Alps. No guardrails, cliffs, etc. Then a narrow tunnel. Exciting. Wakes you up. The locals zoom their beemers and Harleys along the edge of the cliffs.
- In addition to la bella figura, you can tell Italians from tourists because in town they ride bikes, Vespas, or motorcycles, have dogs, and are constantly smoking and drinking. Their dogs are always arguing in the street. And they kiss each other when they meet friends on the passagiatta.
- For Alpine hiking, you need Medium Weight hiking boots and a backpack with water.
- Nobody takes an AmEx card in Europe anymore
- Your cash evaporates while traveling. Bring more than you think you'll need, and inform your credit cards about your trip or they might freeze them when you use an ATM. Generally speaking, they want cash. Especially the restaurants. Many of the good ones, for locals, will not take any credit cards.
- In northern Italy, they only provide balsamic vinegar. Fine with me.
- In the Milan airport, we saw at least three women with burkhas and all that. One had a Ferragamo bag, the other two had Prada. Mrs. BD was impressed that they had found a way to show off. Their husbands looked like terrorists, and their kids acted bratty and out of control. They rushed off when the Emirates Air flight was announced.
- A reader asked why we "always" go to Italy. We don't only go there (our trips this year have included Georgia and Cape Cod), but there is no one Italy. There are a bunch of provinces and old city states with their own traditions and cultures that have only been politically united for 100 years, and are still far from socially united. As you saw in my travelogue, we spent 4 days in a purely German-speaking part of Italy (well, German and Ladin) where they make German food. Think Scotland vs. England, or Vermont vs. Texas.
- Food: In northern Italy (ie north of Siena and Emilia-Romagna) they cook mostly with butter, not olive oil. Their pastas are tagliatelle egg noodles (real good) and tortellini (which I hate). For carbs, they are big on risotto, polenta, and gnocchi (all good). Their very fine Lasagnas are soft, and have nutmeg. They like to cook with truffle and truffle oil, and they love their Porcinis. They like meat (steak, roast beef, rabbit, and horse) and seafood. Most menus have octopus in some form. I like any seafood. Italian foods are designed to be consumed with wine and I can attest that they are not as tasty without it.
- Weather: Generally, I'd try to avoid southern Europe in July and August. Too hot, and too many tourists.