A short clip of the Jazz Vipers, a group we heard in New Orleans at the "Spotted Cat" on Frenchman Street. It's everything you've ever envisioned of an old time jazz club -- located in a ramshackle wooden house, musicians playing old jazz standards while clutching a cigarette, beer bottle on the side. Later in the evening, a young couple walked in the door, cast off their jackets, and immediately moved to the postage-stamp size dance floor, where they provided even more wonderful entertainment for the crowd as they glided to the music with their well-coordinated dance moves.
The device you see in the slides above is a "torchio," a hollow brass tube attached to a bench or a wall. Different metal "dies" can be inserted in the torchio for different shapes of pasta. The torchio belonged to my mother's family in Italy. After decades of collecting dust in my basement, the torchio was recently resurrected when my father offered to make a bench for it. The torchio is screwed to the bench, semolina pasta dough is fed into the tube, the crank is turned, (in this case by my son Michael) and with a lot of elbow grease, pasta is extruded through the die. What comes out below is a tubular pasta - anything from thin spaghetti to bucatini, similar to a hollow straw.
In my last life, I was a journalist in NYC, but left the rat race to live in Italy for a year. I created this blog upon my return to combine my interests of writing and photography with my love of food and travel. My mother was from the region of Emilia-Romagna, my father's family was from Calabria and my late husband's family is Abruzzese. Is it any wonder then, that Italian art, music, food and the country's beautiful landscape are among my passions? I hope you will try some of the recipes and post comments. Buon Appetito. Linda