Christmas Tree at the Chateau de Chenonceau
It was a sweltering hot July afternoon in 1945 when famous jazz vocalist Mel Tormé showed up for a writing session at the Toluca Lake house of his lyric partner Bob Wells. Mel let himself in and walked over to the piano. There, on the music board, was a pad of paper with four lines of a verse:
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos
When Wells walked in the room, dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, Tormé asked him about the little poem.
“It’s so damn hot today, I thought I’d write something to cool myself off,” Wells replied. “All I could think of was Christmas and cold weather.”
And that is “the rest of the story” behind one of America’s most loved contemporary Christmas hits, A Christmas Song. With this intro, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and all of the best for 2018.
A misty Bellagio from the lake.
“One can’t describe the beauty of the Italian lakes, nor would one try if one could. – Henry James
Chef Massimo Bottura and a pleased diner.
“…in the kitchens of Osteria Francescana we pry, poke and question the authority of our culinary traditions. We take a step back, then come in closer, and make inquiries about texture, flavor, and form. We see ingredients and recipes at a distance and through a magnifying glass, we throw out the recipes and start from scratch. Most importantly of all, we never stop questioning.” – Massimo Bottura, Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef
“There are three taboos in Italy: don’t mess with the Pope; don’t mess with the national football team, and don’t mess with your grandmother’s recipes.” – Chef Massimo Bottura
“Prosciutto di Parma is a simple product. It’s nothing but pork, sea salt, air, and time!” – Giovanni Bianchi
Benton’s Country Ham*
“There’s no secret to anything I’m doing: a tiny bit of knowledge, and a lot of time and patience. People have been making bacon like this for centuries.” – Allan Benton
“And there was a mountain of grated Parmigiano cheese, on which people were making nothing but maccheroni and raviolis.” – Giovanni Boccaccio, Decamerone, 1351
“Passion, sensitivity, humility and seriousness might be considered the winning formula to get good results at least in the kitchen.” – Chef Luca Marchini
“Everything I have ever eaten here, from the simple gnocco fritto topped with the most fragrant of lardo, handmade tortelloni with sage and butter, green tagliatelle al porcini and perhaps the most decadent of all, crispy slices of Zampone with savory zabaglione.”- Chef Mario Batali