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Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy

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I was momentarily distracted, but did the Japanese chef say that mainly tourists came to his restaurant, and not the locals?  I was intrigued by the simplicity of the dish of pasta, cheese and pepper--and his secret ingredient.   

I love the looks on Stanley's face when he tastes the food.  I think I can tell when he really likes a dish.  Something about the look in his eyes, lol.

 

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4 minutes ago, Crashcourse said:

chef say that mainly tourists came to his restaurant, and not the locals?

Yes. He stated that in the beginning Romans came but than they stopped but that tourists and Italians from outside Rome come. Which sort of echos one of the themes of the episode that Romans don’t like change.

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53 minutes ago, Crashcourse said:

I was momentarily distracted, but did the Japanese chef say that mainly tourists came to his restaurant, and not the locals?  I was intrigued by the simplicity of the dish of pasta, cheese and pepper--and his secret ingredient.   

I love the looks on Stanley's face when he tastes the food.  I think I can tell when he really likes a dish.  Something about the look in his eyes, lol.

Pasta and cheese are two of my all time favorite foods, so I would have loved to have a bite of that dish!

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55 minutes ago, Crashcourse said:

I was momentarily distracted, but did the Japanese chef say that mainly tourists came to his restaurant, and not the locals?  I was intrigued by the simplicity of the dish of pasta, cheese and pepper--and his secret ingredient.   

I love the looks on Stanley's face when he tastes the food.  I think I can tell when he really likes a dish.  Something about the look in his eyes, lol.

 

Bistrot 64 gets okay reviews (not rave reviews) but the prices are high.

Maybe Italians don't see the point in paying for higher-priced interpretations of traditional Italian dishes, though I thought he said other Italians patronize his restaurant but not the people who live in Rome.

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I knew Italians eat rabbits and offal, but I am reminded as to what I ate as far as Puerto Rican food is concerned. My mom and my grandmother use to cook the whole pig and we use to feast on the head, but this is more late 80s and early 90s. Good memories of eating that hard skin. My mother would never tell me the recipe and I believe it was much better than most Hispanic food in the Bronx. Sure, all the sofritos and spices they put is the stuff to make a whole pig, but they had a different way of doing traditional PR cooking. I know, hard skin to eat is pretty strange, but it is still popular in Hispanic communities. My mom would tell me the stories of her aunts and her mother doing the food. I think in Filipino culture they eat raw fish and dog, but that's what I remember hearing a long time ago. I remember Filipino culture being a mixture of Asian and Spanish influence, some taking the pork theme as well. Garlic rice, Mongolian beef, chicken teriyaki, etc. So many dishes. It's one of those things that make me interested in cultures such as these.

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Offal used to be common in Germany, too. Nowadays, it's mostly stomach, heart and liver though.

Rabbit is also a very common dish in Germany but I have never eaten it because my mom had a traumatic childhood experience with a sort of pet rabbit she had her grandma's which one day "disappeared" (while they coincidentally had rabbit for lunch). My paternal grandma used to make it often, just not when we visited.

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25 minutes ago, MerBearStare said:

The show has been picked up for a second season: https://deadline.com/2021/02/stanley-tucci-cnn-1234699770/

Well I've been visiting Italy for years so I want to see more.

Not sure how much legs a show about one single country has -- as wonderful as Italy is.

Especially if Americans still can't visit this year, though obviously Stanley gets to film there again this year.

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7 hours ago, aghst said:

Not sure how much legs a show about one single country has -- as wonderful as Italy is.

I mean the intro states he is  going to cover each of the 20 regions of Italy and so far they have been doing one an episode so I imagine the producers envision it as a 20 episode project and CNN was just waiting for the ratings before committing to more. 

I for one can’t wait for him to cover some of the lesser highlighted regions particularly in the northern mountains that don’t get a lot of coverage. 

Edited by biakbiak
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20 regions of Italy 

I've only been in 8 over several trips, can't wait. Looking forward to Bologna. I left visiting Emilia-Romagna until next time, so there better be one!

 

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I'd be for more of the show.

Just not sure the general audience would be.

But Italy is one of the most popular international destinations so maybe this show will have comparable staying power to Bourdain.

I think Tucci will only do the show in between any other roles he gets.  For instance, he's promoting a movie that's coming out.

His passion for the food and culture is genuine but he's going to make a lot more money in films and scripted shows than he is with CNN.

At least with Bourdain, his travel show was the main thing, at least as far as a source of income.  He probably could have written some more best-selling books too.

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I visited Italy (and the Mediterranean area) when I was 6 in 1969 and I remember almost none of it except for watching some of the '69 moon landing (at a USO in Italy apparently). I have an Italian friend who was an exchange student when I was in high school. I know she wants me to come and visit but I'm not sure I'm up to it at my age, though my parents managed to visit a few times over the years before they both passed last year, and they were older than I currently am. So this series is a real treat to watch

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CNN Picks Up ‘Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy’ For Second Season

The show, which runs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET, beat out other cable news networks in its debut on Feb. 14, with 1.52 million viewers, according to Nielsen fast nationals. Last Sunday, its episode drew 1.64 million, according to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data. The show also topped in the key demo of adults 25-54.

https://deadline.com/2021/02/stanley-tucci-cnn-1234699770/amp/?fbclid=IwAR0rA2tBBE5_qV5cPfJqJ5rQt0quy38D1roh6uH0VtwEQMAsALqfnTGIhL0.

Edited by WonderWuman73
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S1.E3: Bologna

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The third episode of "Searching for Italy" is all about the riches of the Emilia-Romagna region, which is home to 44 protected food products -- more than any other region in the country. While Bologna is known as the food capital of Italy, Tucci discovered culinary wonders throughout the area.

Original air date: 2/28/21

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo

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Interesting to know that masks were optional during the early days of Italy's lockdown. It's no wonder it was hit hard in the following months.

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Throughout tonight's episode, I wanted a plate of pasta so badly. The scenery of the countryside was so serene. The protest by the Sardines (?) was very interesting. I love this show!

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21 minutes ago, annzeepark914 said:

Throughout tonight's episode, I wanted a plate of pasta so badly. The scenery of the countryside was so serene. The protest by the Sardines (?) was very interesting. I love this show!

That was interesting about the protest. We need more of that in the US.

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1 hour ago, Robert Lynch said:

Interesting to know that masks were optional during the early days of Italy's lockdown. It's no wonder it was hit hard in the following months.

Tucci says this episode was filmed after the initial lockdown was lifted and masks were then made optional. This looks like it was filmed in the summer.

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2 hours ago, annzeepark914 said:

Throughout tonight's episode, I wanted a plate of pasta so badly. 

I blame this show for all the pasta I've eaten lately. Not exactly on my keto diet! But the show makes all the food look so heavenly. 

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OK, this Bologna episode is by far, my favorite to date; and I doubt it will be topped for me. The Parmigiana, the mortadella, the prosciutto di Parma, the Bolognese sauce, the tagliatelle, that capelletti en brodo, OH MY! But I think I'd like to try that freshly made, baked ricotta most of all. I'm positively drooling here! 

What an episode. I love this show!

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Restaurants and links for Bologna:

Caseificio Rosola: Celebrated chef Massimo Bottura led Tucci to this creamery in Zocca, a town about 30 miles outside of Bologna. Bottura swears by Rosola's parmigiano, which is made from the milk of local Bianca Modenese cows.

Casa Maria Luigia: Bottura and Tucci brought some of Rosola's ricotta back to Bottura's hotel-restaurant, where they enjoyed the cheese with local honey, elderflower vinegar and a bit of traditional balsamic vinegar. (It was so delicious, Tucci nearly forgot he was making a TV show!)

Salumeria Simoni: In Bologna, Tucci lunched and learned with Mattia Santori, one of the leaders of Italy's Sardines political movement. They stopped to buy mortadella, the silky pork sausage made with pistachios and peppercorns and dotted with sweet fat.

Gran Deposito Aceto Balsamico Giuseppe Giusti: Tucci tasted a spoonful of history in the form of traditional balsamic vinegar. The Giusti family has crafted its signature vinegar from grapes near Modena for more than 400 years.

Casa Artusi: Pellegrino Artusi is known as Italy's culinary godfather, and Tucci turned to Artusi disciple Barbara Asioli to learn how to make his version of Bolognese ragu. Asioli assists in the cookery classes at this museum dedicated to Artusi.

Osteria Io e Simone: Tucci ended his adventure in the coastal town of Rimini, the birthplace of famed director Federico Fellini. Accompanied by Fellini's niece Francesca, Tucci feasted on freshly made bowls of cappelletti and strozzapreti.

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4 hours ago, annzeepark914 said:

Throughout tonight's episode, I wanted a plate of pasta so badly. The scenery of the countryside was so serene. The protest by the Sardines (?) was very interesting. I love this show!

Yeah in addition to the usual food porn, lot of landscape porn in this one.  They really went with the drone shots.  The interesting one was at the beginning, as it showed Tucci walking under a portico -- Bologna's porticoes are a UNESCO world heritage site -- and then rising between the tall buildings to sweep over the rooftops of the city.

Makes me want to visit ER again, because I mostly visited the cities and the architectural sites.

I never thought of mortadella as that appealing, compared to the marbled, translucent color of prosciutto.  What did they do, get the mortadella, some bread and either cheese or butter, with some wine?

I liked the segment on the kitchens which prepared takeout food during the pandemic because they couldn't host them in their usual dining space.  Volunteers making tortellini and cooking while refugees, many without legal status to work, depended on these kitchens for sustenance.

Probably not spectacular food and looks like Tucci didn't sample any, though the point was about the good work they were doing.  

Contrast that to that chef's hotel and restaurant place, no doubt with very upscale clientele, using cheese from those white cows.  Or that balsamico estate, where they have vinegar going back decades or more.  I've seen like 1/4 liters of vinegar going for over 100 Euros and this place probably has more pricey bottles.

 

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I have nothing to add to the comments, other than I'm still drooling. 😋

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It's sad when the treatment of race plays such a big way in Italy. That poor Italian black mother and son....it just further shows how much racism is prevalent in that country. And that Jewish Italian old woman's story about Mussolini sending the Jews from Rome to the gas chamber. So much bigotry.....I am glad Tucci showed a light on these issues.

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26 minutes ago, Robert Lynch said:

It's sad when the treatment of race plays such a big way in Italy. That poor Italian black mother and son....it just further shows how much racism is prevalent in that country. And that Jewish Italian old woman's story about Mussolini sending the Jews from Rome to the gas chamber. So much bigotry.....I am glad Tucci showed a light on these issues.

I think they were African refugees.  Africans cross the Mediterranean to get into Italy, either to continue on to go to relatives in other European countries or try to find a better life there.  Predictably, there are Italians who oppose taking them in.  The Sardines group protested against Matteo Salvini, who opposes among other things taking in these refugees or giving them any kind of status.  The man said he has no papers so he can't work or get housing.

Some Italians are better, as we see with the Sardines.

I remember I was waiting in line at an Italian airport and there was a family which had two young children with them one of them a black boy who was presumably adopted.  The adopted boy and the daughter seemed close, laughing with each other.

 

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14 hours ago, Rickster said:

Tucci says this episode was filmed after the initial lockdown was lifted and masks were then made optional. This looks like it was filmed in the summer.

He also specified they were optional outside which is the same way it is many places.

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8 hours ago, aghst said:

I think they were African refugees.  Africans cross the Mediterranean to get into Italy, either to continue on to go to relatives in other European countries or try to find a better life there.  Predictably, there are Italians who oppose taking them in.

The European Union operates under the Dublin Regulations which stipulate that refugees have to seek asylum in the country they first set foot in. Since Italy is so close to Africa, there are a lot of refugees in Italy. Italy also has a very high unemployment rate, so there are a lot of poor(er) Italians there in general.

I'm glad that Tucci isn't avoiding those areas; the first episode featured gypsies and this time, they had the refugees. I also love how he recognizes what they contribute food-wise and that he shows us how they have adopted the Italian cuisine.

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Italy is not the only country having to deal with a huge influx of refugees. Look at the Syrian refugee issue in Greece as well.

I think I liked this episode and the Naples episode more than Rome due to their focus more on the manufacture of agricultural products and how they're used in traditional dishes. Despite Tucci mentioning the agricultural heritage of the Lazio region, we didn't see much of it and the focus was more on restaurant dishes. I also found the coverage of the Roma in the Naples suburb and the Bologna food kitchen more meaningful than, for example, highlighting a cafe mysteriously burnt down. It almost seemed like a producer trying to find a story to shoehorn into the show in the Rome segment. I also found the story of the Japanese chef who can't get locals to come to his restaurant a little odd and sad. 

Anyway, really enjoyed the Emilia Romagna episode.

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58 minutes ago, Rickster said:

I also found the coverage of the Roma in the Naples suburb and the Bologna food kitchen more meaningful than, for example, highlighting a cafe mysteriously burnt down. It almost seemed like a producer trying to find a story to shoehorn into the show in the Rome segment. I also found the story of the Japanese chef who can't get locals to come to his restaurant a little odd and sad. 

Anyway, really enjoyed the Emilia Romagna episode.

I also found the Roma story very interesting.  Usually they're treated horribly in whichever country in Europe they end up. So it was nice to see people flocking to their food kitchen.  

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I love this show, no host acting like a clown or pontificating.   I get hungry every time I watch.  We toured Northern Italy in October 2019 after a curling bonspiel and I still have fond memories of the plate of polenta with wild mushrooms I had in Verona so simple, so delicious 

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On 2/22/2021 at 5:15 PM, Rickster said:

Judging by the clothing and state of the leaves on trees, I would guess this was filmed in the fall/early winter 2019.

Preferred the Naples segment. Too much offal in Rome😝

However, looking forward to the Bologna segment. I think I saw Stanley with one of my favorite Italian chefs, Massimo Bottura, in the preview.

 

I hadn't seen episode 2 until last night but yeah, the offal was a hard pass. Blech!  However, my husband is a HUGE fan of tripe (tripa).  There are a few Italian-American restaurants here which have it on the menu and hubby always urges me to try it but I never will. We've been married for 38 years but I don't care how often he sings its praises, I will never ever taste even a bite. It does infuriate him that I won't. Plus, it smells really awful!

I'm Italian-American and have never eaten a stuffed artichoke. Something about the thistle and it always looked like too much work.  But those fried ones looked interesting.  

The spaghetti in all its incarnations... I was drooling, especially for the carbonara. Yum!  And having a huge sweet tooth, those morning pastries looked delicious. I was very surprised that would be eaten for breakfast. 

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I don't really watch food shows, but I do like to cook, and I'm Italian so I figured why not? I like the history and geography woven into the show and how the food is inherent in that. 

I do like good food that has simple ingredients. I don't watch a ton of TV and it's a fun show. 

I liked when they were on the island and there was the big storm so they had the place to themselves. Everyone was like, well we were going to cook anyway! 

My grandmother apparently made tripe for my mother and uncle. I just can't. 

We always had prosciutto at holidays growing up. Can't really get it right here. You need it paper thin sliced. 

Edited by DoctorAtomic
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2 minutes ago, DoctorAtomic said:

liked when they were on the island

It wasn’t an island, it was in the town of Massa Lubrense on the Amalfi Coast. It’s a very cute town, we stayed there a few years ago.

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I know they showed an island at one point so I thought it was there. 

I think what I like is that Tucci isn't any more of a chef than I am. I like when he says, 'oh, I didn't try making like that. Oh, you add nutmeg?' 

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11 minutes ago, DoctorAtomic said:

I know they showed an island at one point so I thought it was there. 

The island was Ischia and the restaurant Il Focolare where they had the rabbit. The place with the storm was Lo Scoglio where he was joined by his wife and did the zucchini pasta.

 

Edited by biakbiak
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31 minutes ago, biakbiak said:

The place with the storm was Lo Scoglio where he was joined by his wife and did the zucchini pasta.

 

That was one of *the* best segments, if not the best of all so far, IMO.  I was so into learning from the chef, as was Tucci & his wife. Then, the storm...getting closer & closer. Food & weather drama, Italians,...good stuff!

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On 2/22/2021 at 8:04 AM, Melina22 said:

I'm loving this show. Who knew Italians ate giant cream-filled buns for breakfast? 

I hope that this show is making it clearer that there really isn't such a thing as what "Italians" eat or do.  The regional differences are enormous. No cream-filled breakfast buns in my homeland of Trentino!

On 2/22/2021 at 4:15 PM, Rickster said:

Preferred the Naples segment. Too much offal in Rome😝

 

I commented to my husband that I hoped that restaurant had a vomitorium.  Sorry, offal with herbs and great olive oil just tastes like gussied up garbage to me.

On 2/24/2021 at 12:00 PM, aghst said:

Not sure how much legs a show about one single country has -- as wonderful as Italy is.

I guess it depends on one's tastes and tolerances, but the diversity of the Italian peninsula is quite staggering.  And the only place I've been so far where I'd say the food was generally sub-par was Venice.  

On 2/24/2021 at 4:55 PM, biakbiak said:

I for one can’t wait for him to cover some of the lesser highlighted regions particularly in the northern mountains that don’t get a lot of coverage. 

If he makes it to my homeland of Trentino, I will be truly impressed!  Our staple dishes of polenta and dumplings aren't as exotic, perhaps, but they are delicious when done right.  And the scenery is luscious.

Edited by Inquisitionist · Reason: Clarification
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12 hours ago, biakbiak said:

The place with the storm was Lo Scoglio where he was joined by his wife and did the zucchini pasta.

This is the aspect of the show I enjoyed. I make my own marinara, but that's about it. I don't get too much more fancy than maybe adding some sausage to it now and then. When they were making the zucchini pasta, I was like, 'huh, I never thought to do that,' when Tucci was basically saying the same thing about how he made it. That's something I'm looking forward to trying.

I do simple meals because I don't have a ton of time, but I'll spend a Sunday morning in the kitchen to make some prepared meals that I'll have over the course of a month or so. 

I guess the fundamental point is that the cooking is accessible. 

Edited by DoctorAtomic
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1 hour ago, Inquisitionist said:

Our staple dishes of polenta and dumplings aren't as exotic, perhaps, but they are delicious when done right.  

I can't think of anything better than polenta and dumplings. Recently, at a local Italian restaurant, I had osso bucco with polenta that I still dream about.

I'm almost afraid he'll feature them, because I won't be able to resist the urge to rush to the store for the ingredients. 

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11 minutes ago, Melina22 said:

I can't think of anything better than polenta and dumplings. Recently, at a local Italian restaurant, I had osso bucco with polenta that I still dream about.

I'm almost afraid he'll feature them, because I won't be able to resist the urge to rush to the store for the ingredients. 

My 88-year-old mamma would be thrilled to know this!  ❤️

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Eyeing air fryer and zucchini. And whole milk ricotta. Maybe Aleppo pepper. Not Stanley’s dish, but I’m suddenly excited about dinner.

Part of the charm, I think, is Tucci’s approach to the food and people. There’s a real joy there, mixed with curiosity. Here’s the food, here’s how it fits into the culture, here are some lovely people happy to share.

 

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22 minutes ago, buttersister said:

Part of the charm, I think, is Tucci’s approach to the food and people. There’s a real joy there, mixed with curiosity. Here’s the food, here’s how it fits into the culture, here are some lovely people happy to share.

Yes, I think Tucci is a delightful host.

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On 2/16/2021 at 7:26 PM, buttersister said:

Make season two, go to Liguria and along the Adriatic.

Ooohhh...Santa Marguerite Liguria, and Portofino! We stayed at the Continental Hotel in SM, overlooking the misty, dreamy Mediterranean. I used to say it was as tho' I'd stepped into a picture book, but recently heard someone say these towns make you feel as if you'd walked onto a movie set. So true!  One night we ate at a little restaurant on an alley. I had fritto misto & my husband had pesto spaghetti with potatoes & green beans (so much better than my prior attempts at home). Now I'm going to have to make these dishes!!

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S1.E4: Milan

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In Milan, Stanley enjoys an aperitivo and makes pizzoccheri; classic Milanese veal chops and risotto.

Original air date: 3/7/21

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This is such a fun show and as others have said, the diversity among the regions is quite interesting to see. With the pandemic, I’ve been learning to cook and bake more, including learning to cook different kinds of pasta other than just spaghetti. I did cook a dish with prosciutto wrapped around chicken but didn’t really like it

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5 hours ago, DanaK said:

This is such a fun show and as others have said, the diversity among the regions is quite interesting to see. With the pandemic, I’ve been learning to cook and bake more, including learning to cook different kinds of pasta other than just spaghetti. I did cook a dish with prosciutto wrapped around chicken but didn’t really like it

If you don't get it sliced right it just doesn't work. 

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Oh boy--tonight's episode didn't start off well for me. Being up on the Duomo's roof...even though it was via a TV screen...was making me molto  nervous. Can't take heights. But, once again the food looked so good. Milan is gorgeous. Tucci is such a natural at this type of program. I can't wait for Tuscany!!

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