Boot Scootin'

Why is Italian food so popular?

We intended to add to that list during our experience at Arcodoro & Pomodoro, but after the crew consumed several large grappas, Farris inexplicably lost the ability to speak clearly and apparently nudged us from our chairs several times during the conversation.

In general, Italian cooking uses fruits and vegetables, grains, cheese and meat, fish and game, olive oil and herbs--pretty much like any other regional cuisine. It's popularity stems from familiarity and simplicity. "If you go into a four-star Italian restaurant, the food's not intimidating," Penn points out. Even someone whose tastes tend toward Chef Boyardee or Olive Garden will recognize dishes prepared at Arcodoro & Pomodoro or Mi Piaci. "You're not hit with a mind-numbing list of ingredients," Penn continues. "The dishes generally have three or four ingredients."

"It's for everybody," Farris says of Italy's cuisine. "You can take a baby and serve tomato sauce and spaghetti" (unless you don't care for long, stringy projectile vomiting). "From pizza to upscale, it's very accessible."

And what could be better than a plate of prosciutto and polenta?

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