Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Italian Express

I cook. I cook big. Don't put me in a kitchen and expect me to revel in frying up a hamburger. Set me in a kitchen with a recipe that calls for multi ingredients and mega time and I am in my glory. I will whip you up a feast that will make you weep with joy. I mean it. It is one of my God given talents. I came from a long line of Italian mamas who spent their lives creating culinary delights for their families.

My specialty is sauce. Any kind of sauce. I make a rose sauce that is a sensual experience to create. With a base of high quality cream, it really is a sensual experience to hold a fist full of crushed tomatoes and slowly squeeze them through my fingers into a simmering pot of the cream base. Add a lot of crushed basil and stir and not only does it delight the sense of touch, but also the senses of sight and smell. It is wonderful.

Besides the known Italian sauces, and trust me, a great one is near impossible to find in an American restaurant, I also make a fricasse sauce that is incredibly good. I always make my own broth for this with chicken, carrots, celery, whole cloves and an unpeeled onion whose skin adds the golden hue. This is strained and a smooth sauce is made with it. Add the chicken, add lemon juice and surround the platter with thin lemon slices. Top with trimmed fresh parsley pieces, and wow wow wow.

I know what good food is, and particularly good Italian food. And as I said, it's near impossible to find in a restaurant. But I have found one that comes close. We came upon this little, out of the way place, called Italian Express. From the outside, it doesn't look like much. Its doors are open only five days a week, and for only three hours, from 11am to 2pm. And it's not easy to find a seat in there.

Every now and then I will go and purchase a gallon of their sauce. Heaven. Absolutely heaven. I don't have the courage to ask what they put in it to make it so good. The place open a few decades ago as a mom and pop pizzeria and evolved into what it is now. If you ask the owner, Lisa, if she's Italian, she will answer honestly and somewhat sheepishly, "No."


Yesterday I went and bought sauce there. As usual, it was packed and hard to find an empty spot on the lawn in which to park my car. But when you do that and enter the place, you will not find much embellishments; there are no candles on checkered table cloths. No Pavarotti plays through well hidden speakers. There are no towel wrapped bottles of wine waiting to be brought to your table. It's bare in there. The only thing that attacks the senses is the smell of sauce. And it is enough.

After lunch time is over.

Last night I served this sauce over spaghetti and ate a huge plate of it. I was a happy camper. And a full one.


  1. Having eaten my dinner I thought I was full up.

    Having read your post I am now hungry again.

    It is entirely your fault I am getting fat.

    So there.


  2. Aww it IS my fault! First I write about candy. Then I write about pasta and fricasse and sauce and the like. I am a mean person and a fair weather friend! Four Dinners, you need to be try harder to become Three Dinners!


  3. Hum, I cook a lot also, prefer my own cooking, but I pretty much cook simple and don't eat much anymore anyway.

    Finished up the big pot of spaghetti I made today, going camping in the morning and things are even more simple out there.

    But it's okay, I eat to live, not live to eat.

  4. Argument is meant to reveal the truth, not to create it.

    There is a difference?

  5. Billy, hi! Enjoy your camping trip and take care of yourself.

    Yeah, some of those quotes (on the very bottom of the page) can be interesting.


Go ahead, you can do it! Just whistle if you want me. You know how to whistle, don't you? You just put your lips together and BLOW....

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