Susan's sketchbook log: Sicily & Malta


caffeAround town

Up and down and down and up and up. Even the Italian women seem to stay away from heels in Assisi. I have nothing but respect for the locals who can drive through the gates of Assisi and operate a stick shift on streets I was afraid of walking. And the parallel parking within millimeters of stone walls! Wow.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." A quote from daVinci. It's surely true of the food. I defy an Iron Chef to make anything better than homemade pasta (the local version is strangozzi, like fat spaghetti), cooked al dente, with extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkling of black truffles and wild mountain asparagus (like tiny little matchsticks).

In one restaurant I ordered a side of cooked greens. They were nice, spinach-like, but I couldn't place the flavor. So, I asked what they were called and the owner said, "Verdure alla campagnola." Country greens. A little old woman goes up on the mountain and picks whatever is edible and it's all thrown together. No wonder I didn't recognize it from my local grocery freezer at home.

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