The Food Maven Diary
This and That
THE JEWISH DELI, DYING BREED
I try not to regret things in my life, but I do very much regret that I won't be in New York to participate, as I was asked to, in the Museum of the City of New York's panel on "Jewish Cuisine and the Evolution of the Jewish Deli," to be moderated by Matthew Goodman on July 31 at 6:30 p.m. (I will be in Calabria.) Unbeknownst to either of us, some years ago Matthew and I both decided to call ourselves Food Maven, me for my website, he for the Jewish Forward, for whom he wrote a food column. The coincidence got us together and made use friends, not to mention admirers of each other's work.
The rest of the panel is equally esteemed: Joel Denker is a food historian from George Washington University. Allan Dell is co-owner of Katz's Delicatessen. Jack Lebewhol is the brother of the much-missed Abe Lebewohl, founder of the Second Avenue Deli, and the operator of the deli after Abe was tragically murdered. Mark Federman is the third generation proprietor of Russ & Daughters. Brooklyn-born Mimi Sheraton is the former restaurant critic of the New York Times, among other credits.
The Museum of the City of New York is at 1220 Fifth Ave., at 103rd St. Reservations are required. There is a $5 fee for museum members, seniors, and students; $9 for non-members. For more information, call 212-534-1672, ext. 3395
AMALFI COAST CONNECTIONS
Through my friend Chiara Lima in Ravello, on the Amalfi Coast, I just met the most wonderful person, Laurie Howell. Chiara thought I should meet Laurie because Amalfi Life, Laurie's business, finds villas and hotels for people visiting the Amalfi Coast and planning weddings on the Amalfi Coast. She also packages and guides tours on the Coast and throughout southern Italy, where I find my soul is most sastisfied. One of these tours is a tour of Jewish southern Italy, and it looks like we are going to do one of these together, we hope in the fall of 2008. Stay posted.
Meanwhile, I have bonded with Laurie, who lives within walking distance of me here in Brooklyn – small world -- and I can't recommend her highly enough. Check out her website. Write to her if you need her help planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast, or a wedding in one of its gorgeous, storybook towns.
Another isn't-it-a-small-world connection is that Laurie's partner on the Italian side is Giocondo Cavaliere, who came to visit me at Seliano last year, and we bonded, too. I suppose people of like minds like each other. We had a wonderful dinner together, then I used Giocondo as our guide through the town of Amalfi for one of my Cook at Seliano groups. I have been to Amalfi dozens of times (I won't exaggerate and say hundreds of times, but I do feel that I know it very well), but I had never seen it quite like the way I saw it with Giocondo. He's a native, and his love and passion for the Amalfi Coast, and the town of Amalfi, is contagious. I believe you can book him as a private guide, too. Go through Laurie and Amalfi Life with your queries about Giocondo's services.
I HAVE TO LAUGH
Those of you who know me and listened to me on the radio know how irritated I get with everyone talking about Tuscany all the time, as if it was the only place worth visiting in Italy. I suppose I have gotten over being irritated. Americans obsession with Tuscany has become laughable. For instance, did you realize that the gorgeous landscapes in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun were actually the Amalfi Coast? I know they say that in the film, but I can't tell you how many people don't realize it and think that are looking at Tuscany.
And here's a new one: Pfaltzgraff, the pottery company in York, Pennsylvania, has a new pattern it calls "Napoli." That means Naples, in case you need to know. Still, at the top of the magazine ad that I have been seeing, it says "A Taste of Tuscany."
Even though it is called Napoli, the pattern doesn't have anything to do with Neapolitan ceramic designs, which would actually be the pottery produced in Vietri sul Mare, the first town on the Amalfi Coast. So you have to wonder, why they didn't they just call it "Florence," the main city of Tuscany.