Italian Food Rule – Don’t Dip Bread in Olive Oil

It was at least twenty years ago when I first broke the Italian Food Rule: Don’t Dip Bread in Olive Oil.

Or, to clarify: Don’t serve bread with a bowl of olive oil with a swirl of balsamic vinegar as an appetizer (or any other part of the meal).

Back to my first experience: I was so enchanted by the new food presentation, I never forgot the moment.

It was my first dinner at Farallon, that fantasmagorical Paul Kuleto restaurant in San Francisco. Sitting under the jellyfish chandelier, I watched with curiosity as our waiter presented with a flourish a … Read More

Italian Food Rules – Bread Is Not Better With Butter

“Where’s the butter for the bread?” asks a tourist from Chicago. “Can we get some butter out here?” asks a lady from Atlanta. “Perché?” queries the waiter.

Perché? indeed. In Italy, bread is not better with butter.

Butter never meets bread in Italy. except for a breakfast of a slice of toast with butter and marmellata or an after-school snack of bread and butter and Nutella.

At lunch or dinner, Italians wouldn’t think of slathering butter on the bread from the basket on the table. (They don’t dunk it in oil either, but that is the subject of … Read More