It only took six years of food blogging for me to figure out that the images on a food blog are as important as the writing. And so it was, last week, that I went with my cookbook photographer, Lizzie Leitzell (see her website here) to B&H so she could help me pick out my first SLR (or single-lens reflex camera).
My parents and I often get into a quibbling match over the Italian food that they like and the Italian food that I like. The Italian food that they like is the food found at what’s typically called “a red sauce joint” with dishes every American who’s been to EPCOT or an Olive Garden can rattle off: Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Scarpiello, Shrimp Scampi (a tautological phrase since scampi means shrimp), and so on. I’m not against this food–sometimes, I really enjoy it–but my parents LOVE this food and put it on a higher pedestal than the food you find at the Italian restaurants I love, restaurants like Babbo or A Voce. When I try to explain that the latter food is more authentic, my parents are incredulous: after all, their favorite Italian restaurants are owned and managed by Italians who moved here direct from Italy. So what is the difference? Maybe it’s not a question of authenticity, just a question of quality. Either way: the subject was ripe as we sat down this weekend for dinner at Andrew Carmellini’s brand new restaurant in TriBeCa, Locanda Verde.
Certainly any celebration of “The Amateur Gourmet” has to include an acknowledgment of my parents. Many of you, in your kind congratulatory e-mails to me, said the posts with my parents were your favorite posts of them all; and, in many ways, my love of dining out and my eagerness to try new places comes directly from them. In fact, a day doesn’t pass when my mom doesn’t e-mail something about a new restaurant with the question, “Have you heard of this?”
More importantly, the fact that you’re reading this at all right now is partially due to my mom. When I got into NYU’s Dramatic Writing program, after finishing law school and just a few months into starting this blog, I told my mom I was going to stop blogging. “I want to concentrate fully on playwriting,” I told her. “I wouldn’t stop blogging,” my mom advised. “You never know, it might get even bigger than it is now.” And, most definitely, that was some pretty good advice.
I’m going to call my parents right now to conduct a little Q&A with them about their history with “The Amateur Gourmet,” where it’s been and where it’s going.