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.
The most recent dinner we had in Sicily was swordfish stuffed with herbs and pignoli nuts on a bed of couscous with a sweetened wine and raisin sauce. That was outside Agrigento on the southwest coast. To this day, western Sicily is "Arab" and eastern is "Greek." The local cuisines of Italy reflect the history.
The history of Sicilian cuisine is the history of beautiful, wonderful, and profoundly-corrupt Sicily - and also the history of the Western World. No problema - they only hassle eachother - and we must be multiculturally-tolerant. Put Sicily on your bucket list. They love Americans there and, like the Irish, they all have a cousin in NY or NJ. We are returning there soon.
For some dumb reason, I decided to codify the dominant carbs of Italy, which, like Sicily, still has large variations in regional cuisine, sometimes varying almost completely over 50 miles in terms of wines, cheeses, sausages, meats, carbs, etc. As readers know, in Italian tradition the Antipasto is tasty little treats, the Primi is generally a carb (a pasta, risotto, gnocchi, etc) or a soup, and the Secondi is meat or fish, with a veg on a side dish only if you ask for it.
What is suppertime in Italian culture? Late, like 8 or 9 pm, after the passagiata with lots of vino and friends and relatives and kids. As I have said before, the cuisine of all of Italy is designed to be accompanied by wine. Without sips of wine, it tastes less wonderful.
Bread? Everywhere. "North" and "South" roughly mean in relation to Rome. (Umbrian bread is terrible: they quit using salt after a salt tax argument with the Pope in 1540 and still don't use it. That's a long Italian grudge for ya.)
The North: Polenta, Rice and Risotto, Potato, Gnocchi, fresh-made egg noodles (eg Pappardelle) including ravioli and tortellini. Mainly butter for fats, but some olive oil too.
The South: Plain (no egg) dried pastas, beans. Pizza. Olive oil for fats.
Sicily: Couscous, rice, some plain pastas. Olive oil.
Now I expect some arguments and exceptions from readers, but I think this is generally accurate.
Image is a very fine Umbrian Primi that I had in Assisi - Gorgonzola and Porcini Risotto. Nothing better. Arborio Rice only. Italian women have strong arms from stirring Risotto and Polenta. You can't stop stirring them until done.
Put Sicily on your bucket list. They love Americans there and, like the Irish, they all have a cousin in NY or NJ. We are returning there soon.
A family friend, born in the US, but who spoke only Italian until she started attending school, visited Sicily in the 1980s with her aunt/stepmother. [Her widower father married his wife's younger sister.] Both spoke Italian, but in Sicily the locals called her "the American" and considered her aunt to be Italian. Perhaps because her aunt still spoke English with an accent.