In the 1980s, I spent a lot of time in Italy. I love the food, the people and the music. I was young and stupid and having a gas in Europe. It doesn't get much better. I had friends in on the Italian Riviera (when I see this obnoxious photo I wonder why they stayed my friends!), Florence, Rome and I lived in Milano.
Through my friend Julie, I met Judy Witts. She's a gregarious ex-pat in Florence who knows more about Italian food than any mere mortal should. She was amused by my love of the Italian singer Mina and I was under the spell of her wooden spoon and the sensations that came from her kitchen. I hadn't seen her since the 1980s but thanks to the Internet, we've become fast friends again and frankly, she's rekindled a lot of my love for Italia.
This Spring we're working on a presentation for the IACP (International ASsociation of Culinary Professionals) in Denver, along with my beloved Ruth Alegria, on beans. Judy just wrote a fabulous piece, with recipes, for The American in Italia and I hope you read it sooner than later.
And yes, I did have a waist and just one chin at one point.