Florentine-StyleWritten by Skip Lombardi
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One of foodstuffs she introduced to French Court, was spinach. At this point, though, historians become vague. It seems that French liked it well enough, but they weren't bowled over. Of course, this was also a period in culinary history when Royal Court was-literally-grappling with notion of using silverware at dinnertime, so they probably can't be faulted for being less than enthusiastic.
Also, as historian Brandon Case, of King's College in Pennsylvania, writes, "other than [King] Francis I, Caterina had not a friend." And elsewhere he writes that Royal Court and French people at-large, referred to her as "the Italian woman."
So when spinach began to appear on menus at Royal Chateau Fontainebleau, diners began to refer to it, with some contempt, as being "like that Florentine." Yet over time, "alla Fiorentina" seemed to change from depreciative to complimentary "Florentine-style." History remains weak about whether Florentines in general ever had a strong appetite for spinach.
Today, when we go to a restaurant and order something "alla Fiorentina," we expect that it will be served on a bed of spinach, or stuffed with spinach. And we're content to think that we're paying homage to good people of Florence. But I submit that, in fact, we're paying homage woman who also introduced high-heeled shoes for ladies.
The next time I go to brunch, I think instead of ordering Eggs Florentine, I'm going to order "Eggs alla Caterina de' Medici," and see what happens. Nah, it's probably too late in game for that.
Skip Lombardi is the author of two Italian cookbooks.
He has been a Broadway musician, high-school math teacher, software engineer. But he has never let any of those pursuits get in the way of his passion for cooking and eating. Visit his Web site to learn more about his cookbooks. http://www.skiplombardi.com For comments or questions, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Calling All Singles - Cooking for Busy Lives Written by Marybeth Gregg
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Invite guests when making a large meal – they can help you cook and then you can divide leftovers into smaller portions, enough for one meal and have 3-4 meals ready. Make it into a mini-party. Save leftovers and create new meals by adding rice, pasta, vegetables, or a different kind of cheese.
4.Your well-stocked pantry – this is key to cooking with ease. Use some wonderful ingredients in your cabinets so that you can come home and just throw them together. Roasted peppers, tapenade, fig balsamic vinegar, capers, a great extra-virgin olive oil, a variety of spices, walnuts, almonds or pecans, all ingredients that can help you make a piece of plain chicken or fish into a delicious and fast meal and in barely more time than making a sandwich, or waiting in line for take-out.
5.The Niceties of Life - To make your meal more of a treat, rather than a chore, remember table. The ambiance often make meal, even when eating alone. Vary color of your foods – a meal of foods that are all same color is dull. Choose multi-colored foods and use your nicest plates and place mats. Maybe even place some flowers on table. Make it fun to cook and eat for one. Make a recipe you’ve been wanting to try so that you can use it for entertaining. Why not?
And you know you can always invite a friend to dinner. No matter what your age, company is really important to making us feel good. Sometimes only socialization people get is at work or with family. Company during meal times can make a difference in what and how you feel about eating. It doesn’t have to be a fancy meal. A simple menu, using only fresh ingredients, will go a long way. So do something different and just enjoy a home-cooked meal for a change. You surely don’t need to cook every night, but when you do, you will get great satisfaction, and your body will love you for it! Have fun in kitchen- it can be done.
Visit her at www.cook-with-confidence.com and ontact her with any thoughts or questions at: Marybeth@cook-with-confidence.com
Marybeth Gregg has been cooking, entertaining and giving cooking advice for almost 20 years, is well-known for her wonderful cuisine, great parties and started her successful cooking school several years ago. She has been featured in several newspapers, is currently working on cookbook, a dvd'series of cooking lessons.