Cooking Sicilian in Manhattan, March 6, 2010
A porter pushing a wheelchair loaded me on to the train in Pennsylvia and another porter-pushed wheelchair unloaded me at the taxi stand in front of Penn Station in New York a few hours later. Then on to Allison’s
Manhattan apartment to cook with her guests – and how good to see Allison: we had toured in Umbria together years ago and and this was to be my third cooking class for her in New York.
I arrived before the guests and discarded my crutches, sat up on a high chair with leg extended and helped Allison prep all the ingredients before her guests arrived. Husband Patrice had fled for this class: not a “couples” event this year but “just the girls”. And what a delightful group of Allison friends and co-workers – and all welcomed Kathryn who had read about my New York stop on the Net and had called Allison for a spot. Allison’s small New York apartment was quickly filled with animated chatter as nearly every woman set to work, after donning a new apron, a gift from hostess Allison.
Allison’s small New York kitchen quickly filled with activity: the chopping of the mint and basil for the stuffed tomatoes, tossing of the cauliflower with almonds and raisins for the pasta, the crushing the amaretti for the wine-soaked baked apples….
Every cooking class has its hilarious moments and this one was no exception: at a certain point, I knew I was missing half the cauliflower we needed for the pasta sauce. Trying to keep order and make room in her kitchen, Allison had pitched all the cauliflower stalks cut into pieces, leaving only the flowerets to cook. “Allison”, I reprimanded, “you are obviously not one of my rural farm neighbors who uses absolutely everyting and discards nothing!” The stalks were retrieved and washed and our “pasta al cavolfiore” would have pleased even Signora Vincenza, my dear Sicilian mother-in-law who had first taught me to make it. Allison, she would even have loved our substitution of the pinenuts with slivered almonds!
Comments from guests:
“Delish!…I had such a wonderful time, meeting you, cooking with you and learning from you….look forward to the next time!” Ann
“Annie, thank you for sharing your passion and knowledge of all things Italian! What a wonderful evening!” Andrea P