Ciao amici,
How are you?

In Rome, the weather has been idyllic, chill enough to make us wear a "felpa," sweatshirt for our morning walks in the park, warmer at lunchtime to make us dream of driving to the coast and having a sunbath and a spaghetti alle vongole splurge, and a sweet evening breeze reminding us of a Roman word: "friccicorio", a light tremor, those pleasant chills that revive the skin.

Words apart, another very familiar Fall presence in the streets of Rome is the Libri Usati vendors.
On sunny late Summer and early Fall days, some key spots in Rome fill up with trucks stocked with piles and piles of school books. These same vendors were there at the beginning of Summer, buying their inventory from ecstatic - and promoted - students. Now, they're back to sell their merchandise to desolate new students or someone Rimandato e Bocciato (failed). In Italian high schools, if you didn't reach sufficiency in a subject, and up to four, at least in my day, during the school year, you are "rimandato", deferred. This means you'll be reexamined after Summer, days before going back to school. If you studied all Summer and made up for your laziness, you pass. If not, you repeat the year.
To escape from the chaotic "rientro", comeback, Friday night, my husband Luca and I were in the car, driving towards Maremma for the weekend. We often kill the time listening to podcasts or audiobooks, too often pausing them to comment on the contents, to discuss our divergent opinions, or simply to share something that came to mind while listening.
Lately, we have been obsessed with a podcast by a comedian actor, Luca Bizzarri, who turned out to be one of the smartest, most honest, most entertaining voices of the Italian panorama. If you want to practice a bit of Italian and glimpse the country's current events, it is called Non Hanno Un Amico, and you can find it on Spotify.
I have no idea how, after an episode that informed us that a young "influencer" had tried to capture the attention of Venice's Biennale by announcing she wouldn't shave her legs before the red carpet and that the greatest Italian actor alive, Pierfrancesco Favino had pleaded that, abroad, roles for Italians are not given to Italian actors - but the issue is wider and embraces cultural fails and academic gaps - I ended sentencing that life is a Pizza. And that it should be a Quattro Stagioni pizza. With plenty of toppings, all different, all individually good, all unmissable.
A Quattro Stagioni (sorry, I don't have a picture), four seasons, pizza is topped differently in the four sections it is divided: mushrooms representing the Fall, prosciutto and olives representing the Winter, baby artichokes the Spring, and tomatoes and basil the Summer - sometimes inexplicably substituted by spicy salami or sausage.
My husband, who was beginning to get my point, stopped me and said: "wait, I'm stuck on one point: I think you are talking of a Capricciosa".
So, the Capricciosa is a pizza born in Rome; it has, but scattered all around, the same ingredients of the Quattro Stagioni, but the prosciutto is cotto, and it adds boiled egg quarters.
He was right, not only because of the egg that I repeatedly listed in my ravings but because of the scattering.

I'll share with you my, picturesque more than poetic, metaphor, which, lucky you, gained more detailing last night when I was wakened by a mosquito and couldn't go back to my torpor.
The pizza crust represents our bodies: muscles, blood, organs, etcetera. Some crusts are thicker, some are thinner, some are a little burned, some might be uncooked, some are perfectly regular discs, and some are as irregular as imaginable. Some miss a piece or a slice, eaten away by illnesses, accidents, life.

The tomato sauce is life, the life that happens to us: it permeates, it reaches most of our being, it's inevitable. It also comes in different flavors: Americans have the Marinara, Italians have the humble passata and basil, some have oregano added, some have it plain.
The mozzarella is white, so of course, it represents our souls. Some double the cheese, some have horrible, fake imitations of the real thing, others gave it up on some deal with the devil, in exchange for, I don't know, money, success, a painless existence.
Then come the toppings, and here's the critical question. Let's say that prosciutto is having fun, mushrooms represent philosophying, baby artichokes are books, spicy salami is listening to gossip, olives are spending time with your friends, tuna - my Capricciosa, fair to its name, is capricious and adds even more stuff - is time with your family, potatoes are challenges and hard times, peperoncini is suffering, garlic is delusions, Gorgonzola is sex and sensuality, anchovies are lazy moments of doing nothing, grilled eggplants are gardening, grilled zucchini are shopping around, grilled bell peppers are long walks, stracciatela is painting, and pineapple - my compatriots will shoot me - is traveling. You've got the point.
What I want to say is: why should we limit ourselves to one topping, or two, or three, and convince ourselves that it's enough? Why should we be so lazy to avoid the slicing, grilling, mixing, and sautéing that are propedeutic to adding that topping. Yes, life is hard, being happy is challenging, an investment, but life is also one, and that's no big news, but anyway, why should it be a Margherita and not a Capricciosa?
All this said, I'm famous for ordering the same old pizza since I was a kid: champignon mushrooms Margherita, that becomes Porcini in the Winter. But my imaginary life is different.

That's it, amici belli. Have a lovely pizza day (Sundays for most Italians!)



Italian pizza dough recipe and cast-iron skillet baking

Italian pizza dough recipe and cast-iron skillet baking
In this post, I'm sharing a proper Italian pizza dough recipe with fresh baker's yeast. And how to cook pizza in the home oven - there's a short stovetop step - with a cast-iron skillet.

Read more

Maremma's Simposio: a slow travel cookbook from Italy

Maremma's Simposio: a slow travel cookbook from Italy
This Simposio is a Maremma slow travel cookbook, a way to explore Tuscany's wild territory mindfully. Traditional dishes, stories, characters, and legends are my secret recipe for making you EXPERIENCE Maremma.

Read more

Italian gifts made in Italy

Italian gifts made in Italy
If you are planning to get your dear ones gifts from Italy, it is probably time to start ordering!

Read more
If you stumbled upon this newsletter for the first time...
My name is Claudia. I am a digital artisan, curator of the Simposio travel cookbook series, maker of Gourmet Project, an Italian food, travel, and culture website, and life-in-Italy narrator through this newsletter.
I live in glorious Rome. I love pasta, "melanzane alla parmigiana," hats, suitcases and airports, Christmas, and books.
Through this weekly correspondence, I aim to share what living in Italy truly feels like. Of course, this is my point of view: the neighborhood where I live, the places I go to, the food I eat, and the trips I take. I try to broaden it by recounting traditions, asking the people I meet, and time-traveling through my memories or those of the Italians around me. Hoping this will be entertaining, informative, and, most important of all, authentic!
Enjoy your read!

Was this entertaining, informative, or just a bit fun?

Become a Patron of the Modern Arts:

Click here and give your contribution through Paypal!

social land

pinterest instagram 
Email Marketing Powered by MailPoet