Friday, December 05, 2003


Since our old kitchen is mostly unusable, and the new kitchen is still awaiting electricity, paint touch-ups and a good cleaning, we are eating dinner at Ternana’s every night. Not that we mind. The selection is so varied...they have pizza by the slice, or Marco will make you whatever you want in the wood-fired oven. Most nights I try to stay low carb and have roasted chicken and a mixed salad. One night we had a mixed grill plate, with sausage, pork and chicken that was delicious.

When we walked in last night, Art was in the mood for pasta. No sooner had we walked up to the counter, than Marco announced the special for the day was penne pasta with sausage and mushrooms. And he told us in English! His English puts my Italian to shame, but that’s another story. Since we wanted pasta anyway, we both quickly agreed to the special. I had my usual mixed salad with tomatoes and Art had a side order of mushrooms.

When the past arrived, it was unbelievably delicious! It had no sauce, just the sausage and mushrooms, and it was so flavorful we both kept commenting over and over on how good it was. I had planned to get the lasagna that was in the case before Marco told us about the special, and when we were almost finished with our dinner, Rita brought us a plate of the lasagna to try. It was a generous sized serving, enough for one person, and certainly enough for the two of us to sample.

I took the first bite, and I felt like that dog in the old Huckleberry Hound cartoons…do you know the one I mean? The dog that went “OOOOOH! AAAHHHH!” And hugged himself because he was in such ecstasy? Once Art put the first bite in his mouth, he knew what I was carrying on about! This was the most delicious pasta either one of us had ever tasted! The pasta was thin, light and delicate. The tomato sauce was perfectly seasoned. And what was the other ingredient? We thought that it might be eggplant. Neither one of us likes eggplant very much, but if this WAS eggplant, we would both eat it for breakfast lunch AND dinner if it was prepared like this!

Pino came to the table to ask how we were enjoying our dinner. We both used every superlative we knew in Italian to tell him how wonderful it was! Pino told us that it was indeed eggplant…melanzana in Italian. And what made it so delicious what that the eggplant was first fried! No wonder we liked it so much! Our southern roots were showing! Pino went back to the counter and told Rita how much we enjoyed the lasagna. She came to the table and told us how simple the ingredients are, and as usual, this is what makes Italian food so wonder…just the simplest ingredients, put together in the most wonderful way! And she told us what to expect tomorrow…spaghetti with tomatoes, and bistecca…steak.

Can you guess what we had for dinner tonight? Would you be surprised if I said how amazing just a simple plate of spaghetti can taste? Or how wonderful a steak is when cooked in a wood-fired oven? I’m starting to wonder if we shouldn’t have saved the money we spent on our new kitchen so that we could eat at Ternana’s every night! And I guess I should mention that our dinner last night cost sixteen euro….that included a large bottle of water and a half liter of red wine!


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