I haven’t really discussed it all that much, because it seems only polite to limit my crowing about going to Rome, but I have been on a several month long campaign of brainwashing my children into being completely jacked up to try roman and Italian food (they’re already excited about all the ruins, because nothing makes something fascinating to bloodthirsty grade schoolers like hearing who died gruesomely where. Kids love Roman emperors and the sometimes traitorous Praetorian guard). Anyway.
I’ve been talking up suppli and rosette and pizza bianca and spaghetti alla carbonara… but I’ve also been making the dishes, and if they like it, telling them it’s Roman (if they don’t, I keep my trap shut about the origins). Spaghetti alla carbonara was a massive hit, and saltimbocca alla romana has been a long-time staple in our house. I made them a nice, juicy pasta with peas and prosciutto (I use broth, not cream, with the sauce) the other night, which I meant to be my entry for the Festa Italiana (even though I don't know if I would say it's my favorite, ever... that's a hard call to make)... but then I forgot to take any pictures. A picture of a lone pea didn’t seem like it would cut it. Anyway. I’ve extolled the virtues of baccala, and they hardly need to be convinced about the delights to be found in an afternoon gelato. They’re passionate advocates of con crema, and have been practicing the flavors they like in Italian. And the other day, there I was in the grocery store (my stories are so exciting, I know), looking at fish, and I realized I’ve never introduced them to the delights of a good fritto misto. What was I thinking? If you want to persuade a kid that a cuisine is awesome, make a fried dish from it. Duh.
And so I embarked on making a fritto misto. Naturally, I turned to Marcella first (it continues to be embarrassing to admit that I call by her first name in my head, since if we met and I would probably call her "Mrs. Hazan" unless she gave me direct permission to do otherwise), and Marcella did not disappoint. The batter had a bit of yeast in it, and although I did give myself a small burn, I considered me + hot oil = one small burn an acceptably low level of injury. It didn't even hurt enough to make me start to swear, remember that the kids were there and choke on swearing. I am digression central today. As opposed to other days. Anyway, I stuck with cauliflower and fish, because although I thought I had more vegetables than cauliflower waiting in the refrigerator, I was incorrect. Still, two things still counts as misto. Right?
And my boy? Told me that it was one of the best meals he’s had in a long time. And asked me how to say it in Italian. Ha. If I had a master plan, I would move on to the next phase of attack in the Brainwashing The Kids Into Loving Rome Plan. But I, um, don't.