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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Making it Home

Guest Poster: Chris Manganaro

Do you think you could easily make a foreign country your home? The meaning of home differs for everyone. Some people have lived in one place their whole lives, while others have had many homes. Home depends largely on your point of view. If you are willing to work on it, anywhere can be home.
In Michael Tucker's book, Living in a Foreign Language: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Love in Italy, we learn about the authors own exploits in moving to Italy. His wife has one view of home while he holds another. This is but one way in which the book addresses the feeling of home. His wife, Jill, is against his idea of buying a house in Italy because she has raised a family in their house. To her, home is a permanent thing, while Tucker sees it more as a base of operations. To him, it changes along with where he needs to be. They both end up coming to an agreement on a house in Italy when they fall in love with a particular one that they more or less luckily stumble upon.
After buying the house, they end up renovating it. Due to the challenges of renovation, they end up questioning several times whether it is necessary. Eventually the house does get renovated, but whether or not it is necessary remains debatable. If they were so charmed by the original house, was a pool so important? Either way, it all comes down to being comfortable in your own home.
Aside from the physical house, there is also the outside world to contend with. In the case of Michael and Jill, this means dealing with a whole new culture and language. Throughout the book we see them trying to learn and slowly adjusting to their new space. By the end, they are not completely acclimated, but we see that it takes time and effort to make a new place into the right fit to be called home.
This book does not go too deeply into the idea of what home is, but it does present the ideas properly. If you take the time to think about these ideas more deeply, it makes the book a little bit more interesting.

For more recipes and foodie info get your copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning Book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition by Maria Liberati at

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wedding Cake Toppers

Even though you will be front and center all day, you will also be sitting atop that luscious wedding cake as wedding cake toppers. Imagine that all eyes will also be on this topper. And long after the day is over the porcelain creation will remain as a special memory of that eventful day.
Make your topper be part of the day in a special way. Choose a topper that will look great on the cake, will delight your guests and will make a welcome addition to your curio cabinet. It will stay with you long after the day is just a memory. So make sure it is something that will make you happy when you see it!

Wedding Decorations

Wedding decorations add the atmosphere to your special day and set the tone. Although they seem to remain in the background they are subliminally in the front of everyone's minds. Do the colors coordinate well with the wedding party's attire or do they deter from it?
The wedding favors should be coordinated with your decorations. And you can make the decor quiet and subdued but you may want to make them quite obvious. Just think of how bright colors brighten up and lighten up the jovial atmosphere. After all, even though all eyes will be on you they will also be viewing the surroundings and who doesn't want to remember beautiful place settings, flowers and décor.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Wedding Cake Toppers

Make it a day to remember, your wedding day. Everything should be special and out of the ordinary. So why should your wedding cake toppers be any different? Just think of how the day will be remembered. How can you make this day stand out in not only your memory but your guests' memory as well? By doing the unexpected.
So go ahead, don't follow  the usual trend, select wedding cake toppers that make attendees stand up and notice. They may be talking about this day for years to come thinking of that out of the ordinary wedding cake.and you will have that wonderful porcelain wedding cake topper for years to come as a keepsake

Wedding Decorations

Do you like bold beautiful colors? Use that idea to choose wedding decorations for your wedding day. So many choose subdued tones just because they are afraid of showing their real colors. But always be the real you. Besides ,your guests want to know the real you. For the day, you and yoru significant other are the stars and everyone attending your event wants to know more about both of you.

What better way to show them than to reflect that in your wedding decorations?
Don't forget to give everyone something to take with them that will create a memory of that event for years to come, a unique wedding favor.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wedding Cake Toppers

Of course the bride and groom are the center of attention for a wedding but after that ,the most attention   is  given to the wedding cake. And what takes center stage with that is wedding cake toppers! Of course there is the traditional bride and groom.

But why not really put your unique stamp on this day and make it your very own by having a unique wedding cake topper.  Just think of the possibilities!

From choosing statues that resemble the happy couple or bring out some other traits and interests that are unique to both of you. And most of all since they are produced in hogh quality porcelain it will be a keepsake to remember that specia lday!

Wedding Decorations

 When planning a wedding you can't begin to pick out the venue or attire without first having a notion of the wedding decorations. Today you can be so creative and unique and pick out yourown original  theme.
Colors  or attire can coordinate with decoration colors and themes. You now can really make the day your own, inspired by your life together and your event. There are so many choices that you will really want to sit down and spend some briansotmring time with your significant other.

Pick out decoration colors and theme and then plan your attire to coordinate with that. It will steamline planning  and give you a direction to follow whether or not you havea wedding planner.

The Tempest in a Teapot or Coffee Pot

 Guest Blogger: Chelsea Pullano
In Act 3 of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, some of the company’s weary travellers come upon a feast laid in the forest. It is the spirits of Prospero, fallen Duke of Milan, who laid this sumptuous meal to taunt his visitors, and while they are struck down by the sprit Ariel before consuming such speech, it can be imagined what delicacies would have been served at the table of the past Duke of Milan. The most important food items in Milan include milk, cream, butter, cheese. Unlike many other Italian cities, the cuisine of Milan features almost no tomato. Many of Milan’s dishes are based around cheeses, particularly mascarpone and ricotta. This can be seen not only in the city’s foods, but in the names of it’s towns, such as Crema and Cremona, which lend themselves to thoughts of cheeses and milks. Rice tends to be more popular than pasta in Milan, largely because rice absorbs cheeses and butters better than pasta does.
Another prominent character in The Tempest is the King of Naples. Naples draws its culinary trends from many different areas that have occupied it over the ages, including the Spanish, Greek, and French. The 18th century is when Neapolitan cuisine first emerged as a distinct identity. Naples is the original home of the pizza, and since 2004 Neapolitan pizza ingredients have been regulated by law, requiring particular types of yeast and flour, natural mineral water, peeled tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes, marine salt and extra virgin olive oil. Spaghetti is another popular dish associated with Naples. Sweet dishes are a favorite of the city, including gelato and pastries such as zeppole, babà, and sfogliatelle. Neapolitan coffee is likewise widely acclaimed, and the cuccuma, or the Neapolitan flip coffee pot, was the inspiration for the espresso machine. 

And if you are able to catch  this production  at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival  or one of  Shakespeare's other masterpieces with super talented directors, producers, actors...

And for more food info, recipes, travel info, join 100,000 worldwide subscribers at and The Basic Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Liberati tm

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Labor of Love

Guest Blogger: Chris Manganaro

Obsession is most often seen as something bad. Sometimes it is hard to completely understand someone else's obsession because we simply do not share it with them. It can be tough on everyone involved when obsession takes over.
In William Alexander's book 52 Loaves: One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust, the reader is witness to the obsession of one man and one bread. William wants to try and replicate the perfect bread that he once tasted by baking a loaf of bread a week for one year, hence the title of 52 Loaves. Bread quickly becomes his obsession as he dedicates as much time as possible to this new pursuit.
Due to the author's wit, the book is able to keep from getting stale like day old bread. Broken down into weekly increments for chapters, he doesn't dwell on anything for too long and does his best to inject humor even into the more informative sections of the book. Some moments are more funny than others, but overall it is a humorous year in the life. It is likely that the reader would not have wanted to live with William, though.
As the reader finds with baking bread, it is the little things that are important. Small details really add to the charm of this book. At certain points he puts a little notation of his current weight as well as the weight of his bookshelf. This gives the reader a look into the changes which occur over the course of a year. Another wonderful idea which adds humor and more insight into the authors thought process is the use of footnotes. These often lead to laughter. William also gives you a lot to think about in this book. It is split up into sections that won't make sense to some readers until later in the book. It really comes together as a labor of love.
William does include some recipes and tips at the end of the book in order to help the home baker. Something to keep in mind; however, is that this does not make it a cookbook. You may find what he has listed to be useful in some way, though. Perhaps that little bit is just enough. It was for him. There is also an index of books that he suggests for those interested in bread making listed after the recipes. It seems likely that he wanted to give aspiring bakers something to nibble on.
Trying to understand another person's obsession may not always be possible and William's book may or may not convince all of its readers either. While many people can understand the importance of bread, the meanings and lessons he learns may not appeal to everyone. His adventure is unique just like each individual loaf he baked to find the perfect one. This book is worth reading for anyone who has ever enjoyed any kind of bread. Maybe it tells you more than you want to know and maybe it won't make you enjoy bread any more than you already do, but you will enjoy learning something new about your daily bread. 

For great recipes ,go to    .where food meets art ,travel and life! 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Meat Pies..Around ethe World

Guest Blogger :Chelsea Pullano

Mrs. Lovett, the character in Stephen Sondheim's  famed musical, Sweeney Todd  (recently appearing at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival)  is a woman well known for her meat pies (despite her gruesome manner of preparation). A meat pie is a pie with a filling of meat and other savory ingredients. Meat pies are not common in the United States, but are a regular meal in Britain, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Greece, India, and Middle Eastern countries often make meat pies as well. It is important to note that there are many regional differences in the contents of meat pies. An Irish meat pie is the Steak and Guinness Pie, which consists of steak with Guinness Stout Beer, bacon, and onions. In both Australia and New Zealand, the meat pie is a common convenience food often found in gas stations and convenience stores. Greek meat pies are called kreatopita and contain ground beef, onions and feta cheese. Indian meat pies are called samosa and usually contain peas, spiced potatoes, coriander, lentils, or ground beef or chicken and are often served with chutney. Middle Eastern meat pies are called sfiha and contain ground beef, olive oil, plain yogurt, tahini, allspice, onion, tomatoes and pine nuts. Latin American countries often make a variation of the meat pie that is more portable, known as a meat empanada, and Nigerian meat pies are also closer to this design than the British meat pie represented in the play.
The earliest meat pies can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians in the Neolithic period. As early as 9500B.C. the Egyptians made pies from oat, wheat, rye, and barley, and filled with honey and baked over hot coals. With time, the Greeks adopted these pies, and it was in Greece that a pie pastry crust made from flour and water was first filled with meat. The Romans adopted the cuisine from the Greeks with very few changes. The crusaders brought these recipes back to Medieval Europe, where it became a dietary staple. Cooks used ingredients like lard and butter to mold the flour-water mixture into the upright pie we recognize today. From Europe, missionaries and explorers spread the meat pie worldwide, where it has developed the many varieties discussed above

Fleet Street, More Than a Barber Shop Locale

 Guest Blogger: Chelsea Pullano
 After Attending  a truly entertaining production of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival .....decided to do some research on its' famed locale

Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd is based in the city of London, particularly on Fleet Street. Fleet Street is named after the River Fleet, the largest underground river in London. It was the origin of the British newspaper, and continued to be home to it up until the late 20th century. Reuters, the last major British news office to occupy Fleet Street, departed in 2005. However, to this day the name of Fleet Street is representative of the British press.

Fleet Street has retained its name for many hundreds of years. It was known as Fleet Bridge Street as early as the 1200s, and was known as simply Fleet Street by the following century. While the spelling has altered with the changing of the English language, the pronunciation has remained constant these many, many years. When it was first built, Fleet Street ran between the commercial city of London and Westminster, the political hub of the city. The East end of the street was marked by the River Fleet (which ran against the walls of the city), and the West end were the city limits of London (today marked by the Temple Bar). The size of the city prior to its expansion in the 14th century is marked today by the start and end of Fleet Street.
Fleet Street became a publishing center around the year 1500, when William Caxton's (the first to introduce a printing press t0 England, and the first English retailer of printed books) apprentice, Wynkyn de Worde, set up a print shop and Richard Pynson (one of the earliest publishers of English books) there. In March of 1702, The Daily Currant, London’s first newspaper, opened and began publishing from above an Inn on Fleet Street.
Besides its publishing business, Fleet Street was also noted for its taverns and coffee houses. Many notable men, such as Ben Jonson, John Milton, Izaak Walton, John Dryden, Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, Oliver Goldsmith and Charles Lamb, either lived on Fleet Street or frequented to taverns there.
Today Fleet Street is known for the law and its Inns of Court and barristers’ chambers. Many former offices of newspapers are now the offices of important financial or law companies. As recently as 2006, a few newspaper companies (most notably the Press Gazett) returned to Fleet Street or streets nearby. Besides Sweeney Todd, Fleet Street is also portrayed in a number of other fictional pieces, most notably Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities and Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop.