It’s a deed I’ve always done naturally, but I never thought about what was behind it…
The original post was written by professor and writer Enrico Galiano:
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BASED ON A TRUE STORY
I worked as a waiter for eleven years. Among the many things I’ve learned there is this, that the world is divided into two categories: those who pass the dish to the waiter, and those who don’t do.
Those who pass you the plate, are the ones who see you, they realize that you are there and busting your ass, so when they are finished and you show yourself in front of them to take away the dirty dish, they lift it, they hand it to you , so that you do not have to lean over each time, with the risk of perhaps dropping a cutlery from the dishes you already have in your hand. Usually they also say “thank you”, even if they were actually doing you a favor. The impulse every now and then, I remember, was to hug them. A deed of nothing costs no effort. But a deed that says it all. I have always loved those who pass you the plate, because they are almost always very humble people, they recognize your dignity, they don’t treat the waiter like a servant: they know how much is lucky in the fact that they are sitting there eating and you are there standing up to busting the ass out.
All this to say that in my life I happened to find myself at the table with many people: writers, politicians, sometimes even TV personalities, and most of them, however powerful and important, maybe even funny sometimes, they were people who didn’t pass the plate to the waiter. Some, indeed, often treated him very badly.
And yesterday, yet, I got the lunch with Clara Sànchez. I don’t know if you know her, but she’s a writer who sells millions of copies all over the world. She is someone that has some reason to feel arrived. To feel important. Here, all this to say that Clara Sanchez passes the plate to the waiter.
It’s not that you are arrived when you have oceanic crowds cheering you or pharaonic bank accounts. You arrived when wherever you arrived, you’re still one who passes the plate to the waiter.
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What distinguishes a Chef from a charlatan? Knowledge of the ingredients, intuition, humility, ability, willpower, courage to experiment. Luck has little to do with, a donkey can pretend to be a horse… but sooner or later he is braying!
Starting from the publication of the “Libro de arte coquinaria” of the Italian Chef and gastronomist Maestro Martino, who lived between the XIV and the XV century and considered the most important European Chef of the XV century, a cornerstone of Italian gastronomic literature that testified the passage from the medieval to the renaissance cuisine to get to the last Chefs on the web and television, it is interesting to see how much in over six centuries has changed, even if not always the change is synonymous of improvement.
I greedily browse books and web pages published by Italian Chefs (with some foreigner) looking for some, it is appropriate to say, “delicious morsels”, the perfect delicacy, point the focus on particular indiscreet, some yielding to the vanity anyway revealers of the human, anthropological characteristics of the cooks. To worthily celebrate my compulsive hunger for knowledge, it is necessary, first of all, to leave out nothing of the browsed pages, because the “gold nugget” could hide, for example, between the folds of a carbonara or in the corners of a meticulous report about cooking of a risotto.
And then it turns out that, for example, al dente pasta, the workhorse of Italian cuisine, explained precisely by Maestro Martino in his “Libro de arte coquinaria” had very long cooking times.
But going to more recent times it turns out that in 1844 the pasta was cooked an hour, dropped to 45 minutes (The learned Chef of 1871), 15-20 minutes suggested (The real Genoese cuisine of the late nineteenth century and the military Chef of the 1932), again one hour (How can I eat well? 1913), 45 minutes (The healthy kitchen 1846), although there are some voices outside the chorus like that of the Neapolitan Chef Ippolito Cavalcanti who advised in 1837 to drain pasta when it “showed still a certain tenacity“: with the passing of time, this gastronomic revolution has also contaminated northern of Italy, despite having established itself as a general rule only after World War II. The homologation of pasta cooking needed tests, time and tastings, one the goldl nugget was provided by Chef Elio Sironi who a couple of years ago discovered and sold pasta with “indirect cooking“, ie cook in boiling water for two minutes and fire off the remaining time so as not to disperse the starch in the water and enhance its flavor. The phenomena that take place during the cooking of the pasta are three: the diffusion of water inside the pasta which is at any temperature; gelatinization of starch above 60 degrees; the denaturation of gluten between 70 and 80 degrees.
The essay of Benjamin Thompson on 1799
Following this rule (recycled by Benjamin Thompson who on 1799 wrote an essay on thermodynamics applied to cooking food), any temperature above 80 degrees is a useless waste of energy but its assertion that the water turned off enhances the flavor of the pasta is groundless.
Among the folds of an interview with two Michelin Stars Chef Gianfranco Vissani, we discover a self proclaimed lover of traditional cuisine that does not boggle to point the finger at colleagues who accuse of having turned the kitchen upside down, with modern cooking forms that he says “are the greatest disgust in the world and kill flavors and consistency, everything tastes like boiled “. Vissani talks about the vituperated vacuum cooking at a low temperature, I honestly do not share his opinion while I admit that it does not work on everything and the results can be different by the beginners expectations. And continuing asserts that “many cooks are not even able to cook the pasta, use tap water and the chlorine affects breaking the spaghetti because the chlorine does not evaporate, indeed, when boiling it concentrates, a good restaurant should know it “. And more” I saw famous chefs in television programs salted the meat before cooking it, another told that the salt evaporates: it is the water that evaporates, its a disaster!” But also Chef Vissani does not come out well: the verbal confrontations with the gastronomist Luigi Veronelli who accuses him of using soy oil instead of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for frying, are well known, but the golden nugget of the traditionalist Chef resides in this transposition (should be better call it destruction) of bucatini alla Amatriciana composed by mixing the sauce and putting it on the bottom of a cup, adding a bucatini mousse on top and finally the sponge cake soaked with “Strega” cordial. It was a recipe so successful that on the web it is impossible to find any image… thankfully!
In this mine we can find also the amatriciana with the garlic of the Chef Cracco that has triggered many reactions, the most significant of which was the invitation of the Chef from the typical cuisine school of Amatrice to try the original recipe. But the echo had not yet been turned off than during the Mastechef contest, the USA Chef Joe Bastianich suggested a competitor to use the onion in the preparation of gricia, the ancestor of Amatriciana.
Bill pizza Cracco
Well, he’s American, will think the readers, and instead to give a strong hand we find the Italian Michelin Star Chef Cracco: pure delirium. But Chef Cracco offers us another of his pearls on a silver plate when at the beginning of the year in his new restaurant in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan he proposes his pizza.
Not even to say (just watch the photo) to understand what is the wasps’ nest that has raised between pizza’s purists and non. There is no scandal or worse outrage because it costs too much, everyone spends his money as he wants, but let me say it is ugly, it looks like a burned Apulian frisella, and there are several versions of pizza… that do not include the crap of Cracco that would do better continue to make the judge at Masterchef.
Starter Milena Galbanelli
Few months ago it was the time of Milena Gabanelli, a well-known and well-loved Italian investigative journalist who, at dinner to Marconi in the Michelin-star restaurant of Aurora and Massimo Mazzucchelli to Sasso Marconi (near Bologna), took a photo of her starter and published it on social media, commenting on it, a very common practice: “NOTHING HEAVY This is an appetizer I do not know what I ate because I could not taste it (cod was written there) But these chefs …?! Milena Gabanelli “.
Her very critical caption and the fact that the restaurant it is a Michelin Star, triggered immediately the controversy.
It is also true that it was not an appetizer but an “amuse bouche”, but it is still a miserable course for which a restaurant should be ashamed.
The six Chefs Moretti beer advisors
Chefs Antonino Cannavacciuolo, Davide del Duca, Christian Milone, Davide Oldani, Claudio Sadler and Viviana Varese lent themselves to advertising a beer allowing it to put on their label a caricature instead of the legendary “Baffo“. It turns out that all six Chefs of the labels, apparently have a close link with this brand of beer: Del Duca and Milone won the Birra Moretti Grand Cru Prize (respectively in 2014 and 2012), the competition promoted by Birra Moretti in collaboration with Identità Golose (The International Chef Congress), which tests the originality, skills and imagination of the best young Italian talents under 35 inviting them to challenge each other proposing dishes in which beer is used in combination and as an ingredient, Cannavacciuolo, Oldani, Sadler and Varese, instead, four stars of the Italian culinary firmament, have been part of the jury of the Prize and have been called to decree the most virtuous among the emerging Chefs.
Joe Bastianich mcdonalds advisor
That what reported is a striking case of conflict of interest is undoubted, the fact remains that the next time the Chefs will go to advertise McDonald’s? I‘m sorry, I forgot, Chef Joe Bastianich advertise McDonald’s, Chef Cracco, instead, advertise the San Carlo’s chips, Chef Bruno Barbieri advertise the industrial chicken Amadori brand and I could go on, this is a real mine, more than golden nuggets gives us some ideas for reflection about the opportunity to go and sit at their tables.
“Today we are invaded by chefs that if you go to dinner in their restaurants, they are not there because they are always on TV. Who fuck is cooking then? Obviously, their brigade, authentic hidden protagonists, who in addition to having much of the merit in achieving the coveted Michelin star by the restaurant (and, of course, by the Chef), are often also paid a little. So, the question arises spontaneously… but these mega star Chef, will they be able to cook? Or is it all a cackle, maybe seasoned with crystals of lamb meteorite in liquid and gaseous nitrogen crust with ionized particles to the lobster of Garda Lake? A bruschetta, thank you… better if it’s good! I love cuisine. I love haute cuisine. I love certain personages, who managed to make what was once a simple and noble work, an art form. However, in my opinion, the true phenomena of modern cuisine are those who, in addition to having the right honors, always profess humility. Because, being a cook or a Chef, it’s hard work. And if you do it with humility, respect and passion for quality, it is even more so. And the true aces, after appearing on TV or in a magazine, go back to the kitchen to cook, to discover, to experiment and invent a new dish, with the sole purpose of surprising their customers. Fortunately they are not all affected by “phenomenalism”, and I love these Chefs, even cooks. So, less Chefs and more cooks. We need it! And to the phenomena Chefs I ask “do you make me a spaghetto garlic oil and pepper?” Let’s see if it is good, at least at the height of your stars. Now I close, because talking about phenomena in the kitchen, start to spinning my balls… sorry, start to dynamize my balls. Because dynamizing means spinning”
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Whizz up the tastiest salad dressings, add a finishing flourish to soups or use as a dip for a bruschetta.
Made from the very first pressing of olives, extra virgin is the most flavoursome as it’s not been diluted and has had minimal processing.
In a similar way to wine, olive oil has a complex variety of flavours to look out for, expect a balance of fruit, spice and pepper; however, unlike wine, olive oil does not improve with age, so use liberally and look for a dark glass container to store in as light can rapidly diminish the oil quality.
Extra virgin olive oil has a low burn point which if reached can break down the nutritional benefits and produce harmful chemicals but used correctly has featuring heavily in the healthy Mediterranean diet.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Scientific studies indicate that olive oil, among all the oils, is the healthiest one.
Unlike other products for seasoning, extra virgin olive oil is the only one obtained solely through a mechanical extraction process such as centrifugation or dripping or squeezing in order to obtain a real fruit juice.
According to the European rules, is considered extra virgin oil when cold pressed mechanically and have some peculiar characteristics. Through the “panel test”, an organoleptic analysis also regulated by strict European standards, is evaluated the taste, color, smell and appearance of the oil.
In the extra virgin olive oil the beneficial components for health are the polyphenols, responsible for the characteristic taste of the oil: the more there are and the more it is spicy and fruity. Polyphenols are a family of strongly revalued chemical compounds because:
antioxidants, therefore they act as inhibitors of the “free radicals” of the organism able to activate tumor forms and other diseases;
reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) circulating in the blood, which thus remains smoother and with less risk of heart attack.
Among other things, with their antioxidant action, they lengthen the life of the oil, whose alteration is mainly due to the action of oxygen. The other beneficial components of the extra virgin olive oil are unsaturated fatty acids, in particular oleic acid, which is monounsaturated, present for about 75% and can be defined as the “guardian” of the arteries as it binds to cholesterol in the blood dragging it away. Given that its acidic composition is similar to mother’s milk, extra virgin olive oil is recommended as an aid for the weaning of children; it is also useful to take it in old age because it help the assimilation of calcium and its mineralization, helping to prevent osteoporosis.
Riviera Ligure DOP
As for wines, even among the various extra virgin olive oils there are those PDOs recognized by the European Community as high quality oils. Oil producers who come from a PDOs production area must scrupulously respect the production regulations, their olive groves must be registered in the olive-oil-producers register and must also submit the production report to the Chamber of Commerce, providing the guarantee that the entire spinneret of production (processing, storage and bottling) takes place in a certain designation of origin. The quality of extra virgin olive oil depends on the cultivation of the olives, the agronomic technique, the environment, the harvesting period, the processing technology and the conservation of the oil.
What does extra virgin mean?
The “virgin” attribute for the oil indicates that the extraction process is carried out exclusively with physical and mechanical methods, without the use of solvents that characterize, for example, the extraction of many seed oils and without mixing with oils of other nature. The olive oil is extra-virgin when, in addition to being mechanically extracted, it has an acidity lower than 0.8% (the good quality oils have a much lower acidity). Up to 2% acidity, the oil is considered “virgin”, over the oil can only be traded after its refining in which it is deacidified with chemical processes and sold as “refined olive oil”. Olive oil without specific attributes, is instead a mixture of refined oils and virgin oil in an indeterminate percentage with a total acidity of less than 1.5%.
Buying guide Extra virgin olive oil is not a product for which to save on; many of the oils sold in large-scale distribution are made up of mixtures of oils and have prices that are slightly higher than the cost of the bottle and the cap which, by themselves, make us realize that the quality of the product is poor.
Recognizing a good extra virgin olive oil from the perfume and taste may require a minimum of training, but the low cost of the oil can be a first exclusion criterion.
Find your oil with experience using these suggestions.
Smell: Firstly, in an extra virgin olive, is the smell of the olives to be able to say that it is “fruity” oil, an oil, i.e., in which the scent of the fruit (olives) is perceived in a well-defined way. The oil must be free from defects in the production chain such as rancid, mold, sludge, etc.
Color: The color of an extra virgin olive oil can vary from yellow to green, with infinte shades in between. Contrary to what many believe, a greener oil is not necessarily better or more genuine because its coloring is given by the degree of ripeness of the olives at the time of harvest and their variety; a greener oil has a greater presence of chlorophyll, usually due to less mature olives, more yellow has instead the prevalence of carotenes, if the color tends to orange-reddish, it is likely that the oil is oxidized. Whatever the color, the extra virgin olive oil must have one: if the oil appears colorless or transparent, it is better to desist from the purchase.
Why does the new oil pinch and is bitter? Those who are not experts in freshly pressed olive oil tend to exchange the pinching and bitterness of the new oil as defects. In reality it is not at all like this, they are invaluable characteristics that help us to distinguish a good extra virgin olive oil from one of dubious quality. The acidity of extra virgin olive oil can not be perceived through taste; in its chemical composition there are no perceptible acids, not even salts or sugars. Bitter and spicy are both dependent on the type of olive that will be used, the type of processing and the degree of ripeness. An extra virgin olive oil that does not pinch has probably lost these substances, proving more vulnerable to oxidation and aging, as well as less healthy for our body.
Val di Mazara DOP
The ideal season for buying the extra virgin olive oil is autumn, since it is at this time of year that olives are harvested and cold pressed, without any thermal alteration or chemistry: only this procedure, in fact, allows to obtain the term Extravergine to the olive oil, characterized by precise organoleptic qualities.
Conservation: Extra virgin olive oil must be kept in dark bottles to protect it from light; like all fats, extra virgin olive oil must be protected from oxidation and contact with polluting substances as well as odors as it absorbs them easily, a feature that makes it perfect for the production of perfumes, essences, balsams and aromatized oils. The ideal storage temperature of the oil is 15 ° C (the cold does not alter the structure of the oil and does not affect its preservability): if you do not have a dry and well-ventilated cellar, look for the coolest (and darkest) point of the house. Experts reccomend to consume the oil in the same production year, because the antioxidant content that preserves it from rancidation fades over time, but remains edible up to 20 months from the squeezing: it can therefore be said that the content of natural antioxidants of an extra virgin olive oil together with the way in which it is conserved, defines its duration.
Cost of extra virgin olive oil: How many olives do you need to make a liter of oil? The olive oil yield is a fairly variable parameter: different varieties of olives give different yields but in principle to make a liter of oil it takes about 6-7 kilos of olives. The cost of a single liter of extra virgin olive oil is estimated according to its type and type of processing, the costs of cultivation of the olive grove (plowing, pruning, harvesting), milling and packaging costs (labeling, cans, bottles packaging), advertising and transport as well as olive yield depending on the vintage and the variety. The cost in Italyfor 2018 is estimated between 5 to 10 euros per liter, with higher peaks due to particular oil excellences.
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