A few months ago the Italian Rana family opened a pasta-restaurant in Manhattan by the name of “LA MIA CASA” (my home).
140 wooden tables, marble shelves, a spectacular ceiling made by hundreds of pots, graters, sieves and ladles of copper.
This eatery opened in Chelsea Market is a mixture of vintage Italian architecture and industrial-urban.
From long the group Rana is a well known brand in Italy for the production of fresh pasta. Here, there is not a supermarket that does not have packs of “tortellini” marked “Rana” in its counter-fridge. Over the years the products produced by the Rana family have diversified, and today we can find different types of “fresh pasta filled”, with mushrooms, spinach, ricotta cheese, artichokes. In just four years the Italian company has opened 28 restaurants in Italy, 5 in Switzerland, one in Madrid, London and Luxemburg, through a franchising program.
The decision to open a restaurant in the heart of New York has the aim of promoting the fresh pasta to the Americans. And after investing € 2 million and having trained 100 employees, with the raw materials imported directly from Italy, in Manhattan the fresh pasta will be produced on-site, about 250 kilograms per day, to the delight of the Americans.
The eating disorders are on the rise (a sort of DSM), especially among women, and not only among adolescents, because today even forties chase a stereotypical model of beauty, with the illusion of stopping time and find a sexier body.
In Italy, this problem affects 5% of women and becomes a social problem.
Yet, the death of Isabelle Caro, the French fashion model who made scandal for her photos for a campaign against anorexia, should serve as a warning.
In Italy, about 0.8% of the population suffer from anorexia, but a much greater proportion suffer from eating disorders, of which 9 out of 10 are female.
The true Anorexia leads women to get excited for their thinness, to maintain at all costs and become fasting-dependent. The next step is bulimia, a worse condition because it is not about thinness that can lead to death, but thru the bad and constant habit to eat and vomit or purging, even with the use of drugs.
The reflection is not to be done on standards of beauty but rather on the media mechanisms that induce these canons, especially for women at an age close to menopause. Once, at that age women no longer had the duty to express sexual signals, becoming free.
Today, also this freedom is vanishing.
Speaking of Naples in my previous posts, I already said that Neapolitans are generous, sympathetic, able to adapt, make do and find solutions.
Once there was the custom of the “paid coffee”, to wit, rich persons who often left another paid coffee at the bar, and this for any eventual worse-off who had no money for a coffee, but now it is the turn of the pizza.
One of the oldest and most famous pizzeria in Naples, Sorbillo’s, recently launched a new initiative, those who have no money can eat a pizza today and pay the next week, a sort of IOU. An initiative against the crisis to help people.
This custom existed in the past, especially after the war, when the economic situation was not rosy.
Crisis and unemployment have led to an increase in the poverty, so in many neighborhoods some retailers of food are returned to the old custom of giving goods on credit, transcribing “purchased” products on a sheet in duplicate (a sort of credit or promissory note) and wait until the end of the month for the payment. This is a risk, we know, but a way to sell and not lose customers, and the retailers adapt and are confident.
Hunger increases crime and leads to steal, as happened a few months ago in a neighboring country where a man (a good person) stole some pizzas from the hands of a customer coming out of a pizzeria, then saying to the victim: “I’m doing it to feed my family, this is better than stealing money or anything else.”
Sorbillo’s pizzeriasays that his initiative is aimed at students, street urchins, older and pensioners whose he makes note of their personal information before delivering pizza on credit, hoping that they, by serious people, then keep the promise to pay. If someone does not pay, it goes well, doesn’t matter, considering about 800 pizzas sold per day, there is also the gain of the few pizzas no longer paid.
Probably this is also a way to get publicity, but economics trends is real and we all felt it.
It may seem superfluous if not useless to give a recipe for a simple “tomato salad”, but I cannot know if overseas we prepare them the same way we usually do here.
The tomato salad recipe that I am going to show you is simple, but if you do not know it I guarantee you that this recipe will make you appreciate this vegetable as never before.
This salad is a good side dish and an accompaniment to many meat or fish dishes, as well as a tasty starter.
You can choose any type of tomatoes, even if the larger and pulpy ones are better. Generally two or three tomatoes are sufficient for 2-3 people. About oil, do not be stingy in the amount!
Tomatoes (Better Boy, Heirloom, Beefsteak, Brandywine, Plum, etc.)
Olive oil to taste
Less than half white Onion
Salt to taste
A few pinches of Oregano (this is a necessary ingredient)
Wash the tomatoes and cut them into thin slices in a small container.
Add the onion in small slices
Add salt, oregano and then the oil.
Turn gently and serve.
A tip for you, soak a slice of bread in the juice and taste it …. yummy
A recipe from the past, that comes from poor families and that for its simplicity is still used nowadays. The main ingredient are eggs, which boiled together with onion and tomato acquire a different taste and give a second delicious dish, easy and quick to prepare. In Napoletano we call them “ove ‘a zuppa“, or “eggs in soup”, and gladly I come to suggest you the recipe.
This recipe is a variation of the famous Neapolitan recipè “ove’ mpriatorio“, it is to say “eggs in purgatory,” whose name is due to the cult, always heartfelt, of the memory of the (white) souls. So much that in some narrow streets, of the old part of the city, there are small shrines with sacred images representing these white souls surrounded by (red) flames, precisely as happens with the eggs.
Take into account that the amount of each ingredient is not rigidly predetermined, and so, depending on personal tastes and appetite, it is possible to vary the number of eggs, the amount of onions or tomatoes and water to be added. Usually, two eggs per person should be sufficient and, while varying the number of tomatoes makes the soup more or less red, varying the amount of water will make the dish more or less soupy. Thus, my ingredients are quite indicative.
Ingredients (for 2 people, considering 2 eggs per person):
A (white) onion (medium size)
150 – 200 gr cherry tomatoes (or different tomatoes or canned tomatoes sauce)
olive oil (to taste)
water (1 full glass)
salt (to taste)
a pinch of pepper (to taste, or you can use pepper chili)
grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1 – Chop the onion and fry in the oil (3 full tablespoons or to taste).
2 – When it is golden, add the chopped tomatoes and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.
3 – Add the water and, if you are preparing this dish in the afternoon but you have to eat it in the evening, you can also turn off the heat and then resume cooking in the evening. Open the eggs and put them (whole) in the hot broth (the eggs shouldn’t break), add salt, black pepper and cook for 15 minutes (the yolk should become similar to a hard-boiled egg). Add the cheese at the end of the cooking.
4 – Serve hot and eat with bread or croutons to dip in the soup.