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.
I can't help it if I am an Italian food snob. Very happy to never see baked ziti again in my life, or meatballs. They make me feel stuffed and just gross and tired. Soak the breadcrumbs in milk for the meatballs. Better that way.
Says the guy who just posted a piece on comfort foods that included spaghetti and meatballs. If you're familiar with hearty Tuscan peasant food, you know Italians weren't too dang snobby about what foods they ate - an honest day's labor and an empty stomach makes the simplest dish the finest dining. And if you've got any baked ziti you're tired of looking at, send it my way because I'll eat that stuff 5 days a week.
My mother learned to cook Italian when she was a young girl by helping her Italian-American neighbor. I learned by helping my mother. It may not be the same as what they serve in Italy but it is typically really good. I'm not so snobbish about what I eat, I just like good food that is easy to make. Like most things once you've done it after that it is easy to make it again. So I'm not going to walk away from really good food just because it isn't traditional Italian. Baked ziti=good eats.
Grew up in a small Canadian town just upstream from a larger town with a major Italian presence. Said larger town had a "restaurant" inside a small hotel (suspect it was mostly a residential hotel) which gained a lot of renown for its Italian food. The place was spartan: no menu, tables and chairs in rows like a mess hall, and a hole-in-the-wall cupboard to order drinks. But the food was great!! Started out with a salad with a vinegar-oil dressing, then progressed to spaghetti and meatballs (all you could eat spaghetti, meatballs rationed), and then went on to chicken and potatoes. It was great.
Remember one time we returned home for Christmas and Dad took us down there. We were peacefully eating when some newcomers - sitting at their table for some time - asked Dad about the menu. They were told was no menu but the food would flow out.
The hotel burned down; the ladies running the restaurant moved on, and the goodness continues:
If you're ever in the Trail area (north of Spokane), do try it.
I like American-Italian food. Maybe we are improving things. Hell, we improved the ideas of a hundred other countries by running them through the freedom cycle here. Why not food? I like American-Irish and American-English better than the originals. Swedish meatballs are way better than lutfisk. Do any Jews think they ate better in Poland than New York?
Assistant Village Idiot
Popped up to Bologna from Naples this weekend with Mrs. B. Had one of the best lasagnas we've ever had at Gessetto Ristorante ("nine stories!!"). Strongly recommended, and make sure you get a reservation... Ciao, Bull
Hard to beat a good meatball. My husband makes a lovely Mediterranean dish with lamb meatballs in a tomato sauce, which also includes a few poached eggs floating.
I have no problem with Italian-American food, with one exception: the use of not-very-good canned tomato sauce. It's amazing how much better a dish is when you take a very few minutes to make up a tomato sauce out of tomatoes, and control your own seasonings. I don't know what they put in the cans, but the convenience doesn't make up for it.
One of the nicer things to have happened in my lifetime is the great improvement in the quality of canned, bottled, and frozen foods. There are many good prepared Italian sauces in any large grocery store. And almost all canned vegetables are pretty good.
The problem is that many people have food superstitions and repeat the cant from 50 years ago. Just because Byrd's Eye didn't get the fish sticks right in 1950 doesn't mean that nobody gets it right today.
Over the last twenty years, a lot of Italian restaurants have gone out of business. America's tastes seem to be changing. But there are still a few big chains that serve Italian food. The Spaghetti Factory, The Olive Garden, and Domino's also sells pasta.
I think that a big issue is that Americans are getting older, and people just can't handle those carbs anymore. A plate of spaghetti puts me to sleep! Maybe those restaurants should start serving green kale spaghetti. Or squash spaghetti. Actually, they shouldn't serve squash spaghetti, because it's evil.