I am the author of RED SAUCE: HOW ITALIAN FOOD BECAME AMERICAN (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022).
A Modern Noir in Big Tech in “Please Report Your Bug Here”
The threat posed by technocratic fascism has played out in real time on the timelines of social media users in recent months. Whether we’re sharing words or videos or memes or embarrassing grade school yearbook photos, we’ve ceded enormous power to too few gatekeepers. The rapid changes in technology has meant our cultural critique has been slow to catch up.
How the Beloved Jersey Tomato Came to Be
A timeline of the fruit we couldn't live without.
Greed and Other Monsters in “Cursed Bunny”
Grotesque monsters often serve as villains in children’s fairy tales. The monsters in Bora Chung’s story collection, Cursed Bunny, translated by Anton Hur, are sometimes less obvious, but not less terrifying. The stories defy conventional categorization. They range from horror to fantasy to slightly supernatural, with the individual stories varying in how they integrate a mix of those elements into modern fables and parables.
The collection moralizes greed and other carnal sins. The underlyin...
A Window Into Both Past and Present in “Hawa Hawa”
Satire often depends on specific moments in time and place. The challenge of writing great satire is in transcending those limits. For instance, Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal spoke to a time and place, anchored to a historic period, but rendered irrelevant by Ireland’s economic rise and the period of the Celtic Tiger. Or consider the ongoing series from the Onion: “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.” If gun-giddy America ever passed meaningful firear...
The Failed Promise of the American Dream in “Cheap Land Colorado”
One version of the American dream is based on the idea of owning a piece of the land. That dream seems harder to achieve every year for most Americans priced out of home ownership. Colorado’s San Luis Valley promises an exception. Cheap land can be yours in five acre plots at an affordable price. It seems like an offer that is too good to be true. In his latest book, Cheap Land Colorado: Off-Gridders at America’s Edge, Ted Conover explores the opportunity first hand when he purchases a plot a...
A Chef’s Hunger For More in “Savor”
Fatima Ali was a rising star. A celebrity chef featured on the reality contests Chopped and Top Chef, Ali aspired to open the eyes and mouths of American diners to Pakistani flavors. But in 2017, at the age of twenty-nine, she was diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, and soon after passed away in 2019. She wanted a legacy connecting cultures through her food. Facing death, she chose to spend her time working with Tarajia Morrell on a final memoir, Savor: A Chef’s Hunger For More.
Why is Everyone Suddenly Drinking Negroni Sbagliato
To promote the Game Of Thrones spinoff television series House of the Dragon, lead actresses Olivia Cooke and Emma D’Arcy sat down to interview each other. After some light banter, Cooke asks a more serious question: what’s your drink of choice? D’Arcy answers: “a negroni.” Cooke agrees, but D’Arcy immediately adds, “Sbagliato,” pauses, and says, “With prosecco in it.”
The clip soon made its way to TikTok where it became a viral sensation. Suddenly everyone was talking about Negroni Sbagliato...
Sweet Ending For Third Annual Zeppole Eating Contest
A sweet treat has a perfect ending at this third annual event.
New York City’s 96th San Gennaro festival was in full swing at 1 pm on Wednesday when the Third Annual Zeppole Eating Contest was set to begin. The crowd was standing room only at the stage on the corner of Mott and Grand Street, just off the main festival route on Mulberry Street.
From the event stage, festival producer Mort Berkowitz shouted to the crowd: “Where is everyone from?”
“Brooklyn!” the crowd responded, then shouts of ...
Marcella Hazan, author of The Classic Italian Cook Book, Focus of New Documentary By Filmmaker Peter Miller
When it comes to legendary cookbooks, Marcella Hazan's The Classic Italian Cook Book is one worthy of talking about.
Not many people can claim to have changed the course of culinary history, but Marcella Hazan is one of them. She wrote the 1973 volume, The Classic Italian Cook Book, introducing American home cooks to authentic, northern-style Italian cooking. Now the filmmaker Peter Miller is embarking on a project to document Marcella’s life collecting stories and memories from her family, f...
Authentically Italian American: Where Do Our Favorite Sauces Originate?
Learn about the origins and popularity of these popular Italian pasta sauces
Italian immigrants arrived in America with bountiful, high-quality ingredients suddenly available to them. With these ingredients, they created many new dishes unheard of in Italy. Today, Americans want authentic Italian cuisine. So which sauces originate in Italy, and which were invented in America?
Here’s a primer for your favorite sauces:
Italian Americans often say gravy, a translation of the word ragù, for...
The Surprising History of Lasagna Noodles
Learn about how the popular Lasagna got its shape and the birth of its many variations.
Ordering a lasagna Bolognese in Italy might leave some Americans a bit surprised by the dish placed before them. The traditional recipe layers lasagna noodles with a meaty ragú and creamy, white besciamella sauce, a very different recipe than the lasagna Bolognese served in America where the layers of noodles alternate with tomato sauce, meat, mozzarella, and ricotta cheese.
Lasagna in America has become s...
All the Lonely People in “Reward System”
The six stories in Jem Calder’s debut collection, Reward System, paint our contemporary world in the hues of a dystopia. The tales play out across greater London—although without knowing that at the onset, it would be easy to confuse the setting as any major Western city. The same dilemmas facing Calder’s young characters could be found in New York or Toronto or Paris: the aimlessness of youth, technology-induced loneliness, isolation, housing, career, love. Modernity is the antagonist here, ...
Escaping Patriarchal Exploitation in “Avalon”
Nell Zink’s debut, The Wallcreeper, splashed onto the literary scene eight years ago, a slim volume about a woman trying to find her place in the world despite the patriarchy. Since then, Zink has published four more novels. In her newest, Avalon, she returns to themes found in her debut.
The protagonist and narrator, Brandy—she goes by Bran—has had a tough life. Her mother skipped town to work at a Buddhist temple, only to die of cancer soon after. Bran’s biological grandparents live in an a...
Review: A Short History of Spaghetti With Tomato Sauce
Massimo Montanari, Translated by Gregory Conti. Europa Editions, 2021. iv, 116 pp.
“Most dishes lack a discrete origin because recipes exist as a complex array of many things rather than a singular identity, or so posits Massimo Montanari at the beginning of A Short History of Spaghetti With Tomato Sauce, a slim volume recently translated by Gregory Conti. The marriage of spaghetti and tomato sauce rivals such renowned culinary pairings as peanut butter and jelly or fish and chip...
Conscious Sexuality in “Ghost Lover”
Lisa Taddeo has fostered a reputation for understanding women’s sexual prowess. In Taddeo’s breakout nonfiction book Three Women, she embedded herself in the lives of three disparate people to explore how their sexual experiences impacted them and their ongoing relationship with sex. The protagonist of her debut novel Animal has endured sexual trauma. Her latest story collection, Ghost Lover, looks at similar themes and examines sexual desire through the perspective of multiple women across n...