I began writing out of frustration. I have never had chicken on pasta when I was in Italy – and, yet, chicken pasta is a popular “Italian classic” in North America(*). It’s bad enough to have “Italian” dishes that don’t actually exist in Italy (try ordering Linguini Alfredo in an Italian restaurant!), but what is even more upsetting is when the basic pillars of Italian cuisine are completely ignored, when its simplicity and balance are lost in the attempt to cram in as many flavors as possible. Real Italian food celebrates quality ingredients, expertly paired so that they play off each other. I don’t see that in a tomato sauce made with 10 different spices, a ton of sugar and a head of garlic!
After my initial rant, however, I shifted my focus on researching why certain ingredients in North America are treated so differently from their Italian counterparts. Why are tomatoes nothing more than a garnish for hamburgers? Why when I lived in Italy hadn’t I heard of Canola? Why does fresh milk last 3 weeks instead of 3 days? The blog became more “scientific”, and started to require far more research.
Between the different articles, I continued publishing recipes, especially the simple and traditional ones. And, by doing that, I had an opportunity to work on my food photography.
This blog has been a great experience, and I learned a lot through it. I want to take this opportunity to thank the people that helped me a great deal throughout the years:
– Above all, my fabulous wife, Candace, for all her help, feedback and amazing editing. Honey, I would have given up if it wasn’t for your support.
– My friend foodbloggers who I met along the way for their encouragement, feedback, for inspiring me and for promoting my posts. A special thanks to Manu, Pola, Kathy, Fiona, Simona, Nami, Frank.
– My friends and coworkers for their kind support and for flattering me by cooking my recipes! A special thanks to Jason, who has been a great sounding board, and who has been involved as an editor and as a podcast partner.
Born and raised near Milan, Italy, Paolo has a degree in electronic engineering, specializing in biomedical technology. He works as a software engineer in Vancouver, Canada, where he has been living since 2001. If you wish to get in touch with him, please use the form.
(*)Although pasta with chicken exists in some regions of Italy, it isn’t the mainstream dish depicted in North America.
Posts About This
Another year has elapsed – this blog just turned six!! As usual, I’d like to stop for a moment and look back at the last twelve months of blogging and podcasting. Before I do that, I would like to thank all who have been supporting me by reading, by listening, and especially by sharing their … Continue reading “Disgraces on the Menu Turned Six – Time to Blow Out the Candles Again!”
I can hardly believe it has been 5 years since I started this project! Time flies when you’re having fun, and flies especially fast when you’re in good company – over this past year, I connected with many people and I like to believe that together we changed how Italian food is perceived around the … Continue reading “Year Five: Complete!”
A few days ago I had the pleasure to be invited by my friend, writer Rick Zullo to be part of his new podcast: “The Fatal Charm of Italy“. I had a fantastic time! Rick is such an amazing host, and his insatiable curiosity makes for a very insightful conversation. You can listen to the … Continue reading “I was featured on Rick Zullo’s “The Fatal Charm of Italy” podcast!”
Have you heard of “one second videos”? They are a bit of an old idea now – a creative named Cesar Kuriyama came up with it, went to TED in 2012*, and since then they have become quite popular. How do make a one-second video? It’s simple: record 1-second long video clips every day, then … Continue reading “One Year, One Second a Day”
Turin Epicurean Capital is coming up in just a few days in Turin, Italy! As I mentioned, I will take on the role of moderator of two international round tables where writers, bloggers, food bloggers, and food entrepreneurs will discuss the universal meaning of food and how it influenced their lives and careers. Of course I … Continue reading “Turin Epicurean Capital”
Another interesting year for Disgraces on the Menu – the year that has seen the beginning of the podcast Thoughts on the Table, along with several collaborations. I have always been fascinated with radio shows. When I was in my 20s, I hosted a radio host on a small Italian station. I didn’t expect to … Continue reading “Four Years of Blogging, One of Podcasting”
When I started conducting interviews, I never would have thought that someone was soon going to be asking me for one! And not just someone – the amazing Lora from Savoring Italy, as part of her “Due Parole” podcast. The chat turned out quite entertaining – if you want to find out what we talked … Continue reading ““Due Parole” with Yours Truly”
An unusual post for this blog, today. Three friends of mine have just competed in a pizza cook-off, and I had the honor to be the head judge 🙂 The contestants were responsible for bringing their own ingredients, including their pizza dough (which they made beforehand). To cook the pizzas, they all used the same … Continue reading “Home-style Pizza Competition”
After another year, it’s time for my usual retrospective. This year’s production hasn’t been as high as in the first two years. I don’t have a good excuse for the drop, but I can think of a few contributing factors in my personal life (I moved to a new place, and took on a different … Continue reading “Three Years of Blogging”
Another year has gone by, marking Quatro Fromaggio’s second birthday, and the time for me to look back at 12 more months of blogging! With about 30 articles published, I managed to keep my resolution of posting at least once every two weeks, having failed my real resolution to post every week. Out of the … Continue reading “Two Years of Blogging”
Thanks to all who played the Pasta Calendar Quiz. If you’re like me and like numbers, you may enjoy this quick update. Spoiler warning! This post will give the correct answers. Surprisingly only 43% of the people who played answered correctly to all questions. Another 25% did quite well, though, with just 1 error, 21% … Continue reading “Pasta Calendar Quiz – The Results!”
Pasta shapes are aesthetically pleasing. They are warm, they’re playful, even comforting. And they have interesting names, if you think about it. In the Pasta Names Explained article, I went through the most common pasta cuts and gave an explanation of the origin of their names in the form of a literal translation. As 2011 … Continue reading “Pasta Calendar 2012”
One of the most interesting aspects of keeping a blog is to look up the statistics on how people come across it. Aside from being referred by other websites, many visitors stumble upon the blog by using search engines. When they do, the exact sentence that they typed in into the search bar is collected … Continue reading “Search Queries”
A few days ago I had the honor of being nominated by Nami (@ Just One Cookbook) for the Seven Links Challenge. It consists of selecting seven of my existing posts based on as many given criteria, and explaining the reasons behind the choices. So, here I go! 1. The most beautiful post As my … Continue reading “Seven Links”
It has been one year already! I started this blog at the end of July 2010 out of sheer exasperation. I felt that Italian cuisine was too often completely misrepresented in North America. Not only was it not authentic (which is understandable this far away from Italy), it frequently tasted plain bad. With many of … Continue reading “Birthday Blog”
I was born in Italy and I have been living in Vancouver, Canada for the last 10 years. I love Vancouver and I love eating out in Vancouver, but I can’t help but notice the many distortions of Italian dishes on restaurants menus. For some reason that I don’t understand, in Vancouver Italian food is … Continue reading “Preface”