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Stanley Tucci: Searching For Italy

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20 minutes ago, DoctorAtomic said:

I just never was a fan.

Of mortadella at all? 

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None of it. I don't know if it's the sickly color or texture. If it happens to be in a deli sandwich with other meats, I'm not going to whine about it, but I'm going for the salamis. 

 

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4 hours ago, annzeepark914 said:

Let us know how Maria Rosa's sauce turns out. Is it like a Bolognese sauce?

No meat. A base of celery, onion, garlic, and carrot, with canned San Marzano tomatoes  as the star of the show.

Just checked. An addendum says one can add ground beef. But Tucci's in Italy had none.    

Edited by LennieBriscoe
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11 minutes ago, LennieBriscoe said:

No meat. A base of celery, onion, garlic, and carrot, with canned San Marzano tomatoes  as the star of the show.

Just checked. An addendum says one can add ground beef. But Tucci's in Italy had none.    

Arrivederci! Season 1 is finito! Season 2 will be in 2022!

But a new "Top Chef" starts.....right now!

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51 minutes ago, LennieBriscoe said:

No meat. A base of celery, onion, garlic, and carrot, with canned San Marzano tomatoes  as the star of the show.

Just checked. An addendum says one can add ground beef. But Tucci's in Italy had none.    

I received my Tucci cookbook two days ago and love it.  Not sure I'll make a lot of the recipes - some are quite involved.  But I read the recipe for the Maria Rosa sauce and it looks good.  I guess that's the one Stanley's mom was making in that episode when they had supper together.

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On 3/22/2021 at 5:43 PM, aghst said:

Maybe if he's not getting as many good roles or the ratings are good enough that CNN could pay him pretty well, he'd transition to this and go beyond Italy.  Like he said in the Florence/Tuscany episode, if the show went well he might be able to splurge more.

 

The advantage he has with Italy is that he's liked over there because they recognize him from the movies, which often involve Italian-American characters -- he doesn't really speak the language that well, it seems.

If he went to another country, he might be seen more as just another obnoxious American.

 

Though in these episodes, they often had him filming scenes with people who are suppose to be his friends.  That's believable, since he probably went to Italy a lot over the course of his life.

Does he have friends in France or Spain?  He would definitely have a lot of friends in the UK.

 

Bourdain also had a lot of "friends" on his shows over the years.  But I wonder how many of them became friends through the show.

The Tucci family lived in Italy for a year (at least) when Stanley was a child. He seems to me to be pretty fluent in Italian; he clearly understands everything. But he's not going to continually  speak it because.....us. 

It was also evident, as Tucci claimed, that the Italians he said were friends or long-time acquaintances, were. Did he have bosom buddies in every region? No. 

Of course, he is a recognized actor. But I don't  think Tucci has concentrated on "Italian-American characters," as a Google of his roles (including Eichmann and a Middle Eastern assassin) would indicate.

As for PBS, I will bet big money that Stanley begins and ends with Italy. THIS is where his heart, soul, tastebuds, heritage, and priceless family memories reside. Why venture elsewhere?

The love---il suo amore---would simply not be there. 

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1 hour ago, LennieBriscoe said:

The Tucci family lived in Italy for a year (at least) when Stanley was a child. He seems to me to be pretty fluent in Italian; he clearly understands everything. But he's not going to continually  speak it because.....us.

I learned French in school and when I was in France, I understood the language pretty easily and quickly but I wasn't able to speak it well enough until I made friends and spoke French regularly. So, it might be that he understands better than he speaks/that he can speak it but it takes him longer which would not be convenient for cameras.

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5 hours ago, LennieBriscoe said:

 

As for PBS, I will bet big money that Stanley begins and ends with Italy. THIS is where his heart, soul, tastebuds, heritage, and priceless family memories reside. Why venture elsewhere?

For the money?

Actually, I agree his heart and soul are with Italy, and given the pandemic, they might get another 2 seasons before they are done, and that might be enough for him.

But he has been an excellent host, and I could see him hosting a show traveling around regions of France, where food is similarly a big part of the culture and heritage. It would be a mistake though to try to make him into another Bourdain.

 

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6 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

I learned French in school and when I was in France, I understood the language pretty easily and quickly but I wasn't able to speak it well enough until I made friends and spoke French regularly. So, it might be that he understands better than he speaks/that he can speak it but it takes him longer which would not be convenient for cameras.

People learning a new language typically understand better than they can speak.  Recognition is easier than recall.  But Tucci seemed (IMO) to struggle at times with fairly simple communication.  I thought Samin Nosrat was much more fluent in Italian in Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, but then she spent considerable time working in Italy, in a culinary capacity, as an adult.

I grew a little tired of Tucci's political interjections.  Italy is not the US.  Perhaps he should listen more and talk less on such subjects. 

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1 hour ago, Inquisitionist said:

People learning a new language typically understand better than they can speak.  Recognition is easier than recall.  But Tucci seemed (IMO) to struggle at times with fairly simple communication.  I thought Samin Nosrat was much more fluent in Italian in Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, but then she spent considerable time working in Italy, in a culinary capacity, as an adult.

I grew a little tired of Tucci's political interjections.  Italy is not the US.  Perhaps he should listen more and talk less on such subjects. 

I agree.  Some of those scenes made me cringe.  The fact is that until fairly recently, Italy did not have large amounts of immigrants. I imagine that the influx of immigrants from different cultures, combined with a very low birth rate, has given rise to the fear that the Italy will change beyond recognition. Add the fact for many years the economy has been stagnant and many Italians are struggling, it's not difficult to see how the nationalist movement has taken off.  Not saying I agree with it, just that I can see how it originated.

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5 hours ago, Rickster said:

For the money?

Actually, I agree his heart and soul are with Italy, and given the pandemic, they might get another 2 seasons before they are done, and that might be enough for him.

But he has been an excellent host, and I could see him hosting a show traveling around regions of France, where food is similarly a big part of the culture and heritage. It would be a mistake though to try to make him into another Bourdain.

 

Why not?

Not another Bourdain but someone who approaches travel from a culinary perspective.  Even if Bourdain was still around, why couldn't someone else  bring his take to it?

Stanley may not have been a professional chef but he's obviously passionate about food, though he may not be able to express that passion better than "OMG" or "melts in your mouth!"   (take a drink!)

He's over 60 so who knows what kind of other roles he's going to get, whether they'd be as lucrative as a show that gets good ratings.

There was a lot of discussion of this show in the media, so you got the sense that more people watched than normally would these travel shows.  If CNN or someone else was willing to keep bankrolling more travel shows with Tucci, it might be worth it for him to continue with it or even transition into it.

If he's still getting a lot of offers for films, he may only do it if it doesn't take up a lot of his time.

Seems like he values time to travel so maybe he doesn't want to do something that takes up too much of his time.

Bourdain did 104 episodes of Parts Unknown over 12 seasons, doing 8-10 episodes a season.  Before that he did 142 episodes of No Reservations over 9 seasons, so as many as 16 a season.

Stanley may only want to commit to 6 a season, which would give him free time and the time to do feature film roles.  If he really wanted to grind it out, he could do have been doing a couple of TV shows along the way.  But even 6 requires travel, pre-production, etc.

In any event the show got a lot of buzz so he may sign on for awhile.  But after the pandemic is over, maybe the show doesn't get the same ratings or buzz.

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3 hours ago, 3 is enough said:

 The fact is that until fairly recently, Italy did not have large amounts of immigrants.

I think it's more that it was a different kind of migration. Tucci/the show mentioned that eggplants were brought to Sicily from the Arab world (I think that's what he said), for example. They also said that noddles are said to have come from the Arab world and mentioned that Spanish Jews came to Italy in the Middle Ages, though I don't remember which episode that was. But the dish that they cooked in that episode was very close to the Spanish Paella (I think it was the dish that they said only people who were born in that region were "allowed" to cook). One of my takeaways from the show is that migration has shaped/influenced the Italian cuisine in some regions of Italy even if that happened decades or even centuries ago.

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12 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

I learned French in school and when I was in France, I understood the language pretty easily and quickly but I wasn't able to speak it well enough until I made friends and spoke French regularly. So, it might be that he understands better than he speaks/that he can speak it but it takes him longer which would not be convenient for cameras.

I had a similar experience. I took Italian in college but I was one of the few people in my program who did not spend a year in Italy. It was always really obvious when people came back from their time in Italy because they could speak much more fluently. I, on the other hand, understood everything they were saying, but I took much longer to formulate a verbal response because I was still translating in my head. By the time I came up with what I wanted to say, the conversation had already moved on.

The other thing that I think makes a difference is that when you learn a language in school, they teach a very limited vocabulary and although some of it is useful (like the chapter we had on family members - mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, etc) there are a lot of words/verbs that are used in everyday conversation but aren't covered in textbooks. That was definitely something I struggled with conversationally because it's one thing to say, "I went to the beach yesterday," but it's another thing to say, "The undertow was really strong and I saw someone almost get sucked into a riptide despite all the posted warning signs and the lifeguards constantly telling people to swim parallel to the shore."

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2 hours ago, CheshireCat said:

I think it's more that it was a different kind of migration. Tucci/the show mentioned that eggplants were brought to Sicily from the Arab world (I think that's what he said), for example. They also said that noddles are said to have come from the Arab world and mentioned that Spanish Jews came to Italy in the Middle Ages, though I don't remember which episode that was. But the dish that they cooked in that episode was very close to the Spanish Paella (I think it was the dish that they said only people who were born in that region were "allowed" to cook). One of my takeaways from the show is that migration has shaped/influenced the Italian cuisine in some regions of Italy even if that happened decades or even centuries ago.

I believe they mentioned Salvini of the Lega Nord on the Bologna episode.

The Lega Nord has been around for a long time.  Their main thing was about separating the northern provinces from the poorer southern provinces, because the north is much wealthier and don't want their taxes going to subsidize the south.

So anti immigration stance is much more recent.

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I wondered from the beginning whether the political/topical aspects of the show were encouraged by CNN to keep it aligned with the CNN “brand” and what it thinks its viewers want to see. My vague recollection is that in later years Bourdain went in the same direction.

When I said I didn’t want Tucci to become another Bourdain, I was thinking of Bourdain as the global adventurer. I don’t see eating live cobra hearts in Vietnam as Stanley’s sort of thing.

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4 hours ago, Rickster said:

I don’t see eating live cobra hearts in Vietnam as Stanley’s sort of thing.

I don't either.  He looked like he wanted to vomit when he was eating that donkey meat.

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On 4/2/2021 at 5:11 AM, CheshireCat said:

I learned French in school and when I was in France, I understood the language pretty easily and quickly but I wasn't able to speak it well enough until I made friends and spoke French regularly. So, it might be that he understands better than he speaks/that he can speak it but it takes him longer which would not be convenient for cameras.

I read an article somewhere where he said he basically still speaks Italian like a 12 yr old. Which I think is how old he was when he lived there. But I’ve noticed there are several translators listed at the end, so clearly even if he doesn’t get everything that’s said to him, he knows what they’re saying and vice versa.

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I have been married to an Italian for 40 years. It's much easier for me to understand than to speak.  My mother-in-law speaks Italian to me, I answer in English, and we understand each other pretty well.  If we had continued with our weekly Sunday dinners I'm sure I would have a greater grasp of the language, but we moved away 30 years ago and only had a few visits a year.

I do speak French, and the two languages are fairly close, so that has helped.

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5 hours ago, 3 is enough said:

I have been married to an Italian for 40 years. It's much easier for me to understand than to speak.  My mother-in-law speaks Italian to me, I answer in English, and we understand each other pretty well.  If we had continued with our weekly Sunday dinners I'm sure I would have a greater grasp of the language, but we moved away 30 years ago and only had a few visits a year.

I do speak French, and the two languages are fairly close, so that has helped.

I took Italian in college, which meant that everyone in my class had already taken a different foreign language in high school. Most of us had taken French or Spanish which are close to Italian. Our professor was Italian but she also spoke French, Spanish, German, and English. Often when we had our class conversations, people would accidentally slip in the correct word but in the wrong language, especially when the words were similar in the two languages. Sometimes it was subtle (like mardi instead of martedi) and other times it was just straight up another language because our brains were more accustomed to translating into the first foreign language we had learned. The example that I still remember years later was a student saying a whole sentence in Italian and then ending with "un feuille de papier." Because our professor spoke so many languages, she understood exactly what he was saying so her response was "Si...no no no!"

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27 minutes ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I took Italian in college, which meant that everyone in my class had already taken a different foreign language in high school. Most of us had taken French or Spanish which are close to Italian. Our professor was Italian but she also spoke French, Spanish, German, and English. Often when we had our class conversations, people would accidentally slip in the correct word but in the wrong language, especially when the words were similar in the two languages. Sometimes it was subtle (like mardi instead of martedi) and other times it was just straight up another language because our brains were more accustomed to translating into the first foreign language we had learned. The example that I still remember years later was a student saying a whole sentence in Italian and then ending with "un feuille de papier." Because our professor spoke so many languages, she understood exactly what he was saying so her response was "Si...no no no!"

When we were traveling in southern France & the Ligurian section of Italy, I found myself speaking English/Spanish/Latin (yeah...when I was desperate, I was dredging up Latin words and it helped!). But I remember a waitress in Portofino responding to my mxed language bag with, "No capito!". I've used that phrase ever since.

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22 hours ago, 3 is enough said:

I do speak French, and the two languages are fairly close, so that has helped.

Except in pronunciation and spelling, no?  One thing that makes Italian a little simpler, IMO, is that every word is pronounced the way it is spelled and there are almost no silent letters.  

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Came across another Italy series on Youtube, called Alex Polizzi's Secret Italy.

There are 4 full episodes posted on the Hotel Inspector channel, which is her Youtube channel.

She is Italian but sounds like a Brit, probably spent some time in the UK because she has a posh accent, sounds completely like a native Brit.

I searched and apparently she did a number of shows 5-7 years ago on UK TV with the same title.  But the episodes listed on IMDB do not map out with the titles in the Youtube channel.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4146102/episodes?season=2&ref_=ttep_ep_sn_nx

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYDQPBIsUpNtlnVWPNRN1Gw/playlists

 

So maybe they mashed up scenes from the show and uploaded them as episodes on the Youtube channel.  They were posted only a couple of months ago.  But obvious from the first episode that it's well before the pandemic.

The production values aren't as good as the Stanley Tucci show.  The photography doesn't show the bright beautiful colors, with beautiful overhead shots of Italian architecture and landscapes that Search for Italy does.

But she is in many ways more personable.  Her reactions to the foods, though this isn't a food-centric show or advertise itself as such, are more varied and seems genuine.

For instance, in Sardinia, she goes to a big market and she's offered among other things hooves of pigs and sea slugs.  She doesn't pretend she enjoyed them, says she can't get past the "slugs" part of the later delicacy.

Then she goes into the Sardinian mountains where she's offered a suckling pig roast right on the fields where it was raised.  She is aghast as someone takes a bolt cutter to break up the meat after it's been roasted.

The segment in Sardinia focuses on an interesting bit of history, that is banditry on this impoverished part of the island where not too long ago, as recently as 1997, they were kidnapping rich people for ransom and hiding them in caves in the mountains or in the hollowed out trunks of felled oak trees.

A local guide explains that they only went after millionaires, not regular tourists.  Well they're not too far away from the Costa Smeralda.

 

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Alex Polizzi is more personable, dropping some remarks here and there about her own life, family.  She talks a bit about living in Rome in her late 20s when she was in love with a guy named Luka, talking about what a great time in her life it was.

She and Luka went to Le Marche, in particular Ascoli.  But then she visits a coastal town where she visits with a fisherman who takes her on his boat to show how they fish for mussels which grow there naturally as opposed to a mussels farm.

Alex remarks on how tanned the guy is, who's not wearing a shirt.

Then the guy shows her how to eat mussels holding one up and then kissing it to express how delicious it is.

Alex says something to the camera about him being a real man and something about how she'd never put those things near her own tongue. Later on shore she's eating the mussels with drinks with the fishermen and one of them says something about it tastes like making love and Alex says "Ho sentito"  -- I heard that.

They go to a bakery famously run by a pair of older sisters who are grumpy to customers but make great pastries and cakes.  One of them tells the cameraman to take a shot of the whole tray, not just a part of it.  Then complains that they're photographing her with her glasses on.

 

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Sorry, I guess Youtube content isn't really discussed on PT.

Though this is supposedly a UK TV show aired a few years ago.  Just comparing and contrasting to Tucci.

 

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5 hours ago, aghst said:

Sorry, I guess Youtube content isn't really discussed on PT.

Though this is supposedly a UK TV show aired a few years ago.  Just comparing and contrasting to Tucci.

 

FYI - it isn't just a YouTube show. It aired on Channel 5 back in 2014. All shows, even web based series on YouTube can have their own discussion thread on the forum (Cobra Kai had a discussion thread back when it was only airing on YouTube). Feel free to start one for Secret Italy if you want to discuss it! I watched it several years ago and liked it. She also had a show about Spain but I don't think I watched the entire series.

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I suppose people may have different tolerances for the hosts, but the Food Network is showing a somewhat similar series, “Bobby and Giada in Italy”, where Bobby Flay and Giada de Laurentis travel around Italy eating. The second of two episodes in Rome is tonight. Next week is Tuscany. I actually thought their first episode in Rome was more enjoyable than Stanley’s in some ways.

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I hope they took advantage of the liberalization of travel restrictions this spring and summer to do some filming for season 2 already.

 

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I just binged all the episodes today…loved seeing them stroll through Navigli in Milan (where they had the aperitivo), and the Roman slaughterhouse.  There’s a Michelin starred restaurant in that area where I had one of the best meals of my life.  I think they did a great job with the show.

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16 hours ago, MartyQui said:

There’s a Michelin starred restaurant in that area where I had one of the best meals of my life.  I think they did a great job with the show.

Man, I envy you!  😋

I'm really looking forward to next season.  

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