Two Episodes in Italy!

Man, this summer went by SO FAST! I apologize for not updating much. First I was in Europe for a month, then Connecticut, New Jersey, Canada and San Diego!!

Let’s start catching up on blog posts with the first super exciting trip. ITALY.

The lovely woman I was staying with in Umbria said she knew of an up and coming chef who worked at a bed and breakfast down the road. She called him up, asked, “Parla Inglese?” (Do you speak English?), he said yes and she handed me the phone with no type of introduction. “Uhhh, hi, I’m an American and I make cooking videos for YouTube, ummm do you want to be on one?” “….YES!”

The next day, with no clue what this guy would be like, or if he would be good on camera, I was pleasantly surprised! Not only by his good looks, but by how much of a NATURAL he was!! He ate that camera up! Alessandro and I had an absolute blast filming, as you can tell by all the giggling I’m doing. And I learned something really cool. I didn’t know Italians do NOT bread their eggplant and chicken parmigiana! Us Americans, we like to make everything unhealthy and breaded. Ugh. Happy to be able to stay in touch with Alessandro through Facebook, (yay technology!) and hopefully, he will come visit the USA this fall!

A few nights later, we went to a friend’s home for a dinner party. I asked if I could come film an episode while they cooked! Once again, no idea what the plan was for dinner, who was cooking, etc. Walked in. Very small kitchen with green tiles. Small, adorable Italian home set up on a hill in a town of 20 people. The son, Alexander was making dinner! Allll my favorite things… not. I almost died when I saw fish with heads on and clams.

So, first Alexander showed us how to make pasta con vongole, an Italian classic. (pasta with clams) Funny story. This was my last night in Italy. Five years ago, also on my last night in Italy, I was served clams. I was grossed out, but wanted to be polite, so I sucked them down without chewing. I ended up puking my guts out. So naturally, I’ve been turned off by them ever since. I couldn’t believe history was repeating itself!

Little did I know, the vongole was just the first course. Second course was every person got an ENTIRE fish, with the head still on. He cooked it in sea salt and stuffed the fish with lemon and parsley. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. When we sat down, I was brave and did try another clam. One. Just one. But, I didn’t throw up! And I did actually somewhat enjoy it! Then, to my surprise, I ate the fish. The whole thing! I cleaned it myself, picked around the scales, the head, the tail, the bones. And it was REALLY GOOD. Who would have known? My family still cannot believe I actually did it. I shocked myself at how brave I was. When in Rome, right?

So, enjoy these videos! Get a look into authentic, Italian home cooking 🙂

Have a GREAT weekend.

Keep it classy!
Chef Stef




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