Michael thinks I'm a terrible cook. Gotta be honest; he's right. Our dinner table is woeful if left up to Bev, who thinks one should leave the intricacies of food prep to the professionals at Taco Bell. Our anniversary is this month, so in a gesture that can only be described as one part adoration and one part guilt, I vowed to do better in the days leading up to the Big Night. A month of dinner on the table sans hostility is my gift to hubby.
But Bev is not creative. If it doesn't come in a box, Bev panics. You know. You've been reading.
Enter publisher George Hirsch's La Cucina Italiana magazine. The Whartons once told me that if I followed every word published by iconic marathon runner and publisher George Hirsch, I would be a great runner. Okay, George was publishing Runner's World at the time and has since moved on in his illustrious career to publish the American edition of the top Italian cooking magazine in the world, but what the hey. Italian is pasta. Pasta is carb. Carb is for Kenyans. George is George.
This magazine is gorgeous and full of recipes! For my first meal, I've zeroed in on Risotto with Clams. I got a little stuck on ingredients not found in Gainesville ... uh ... Florida ... uh ... on Planet Earth. If anybody knows where a girl can score Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice, do call.
But unrecognizable ingredients notwithstanding, the CLAMS are the sacred part of this dish. In Florida the clam harvest is in high gear, gathering and salvaging before damage from the BP oil gush takes out the leases in the Gulf just west of here. Who knows how long we'll be able to get them? Everyone is eating them as often as possible now in a collective, tearful, "Good bye." A chowderless world is going to be a bleak one. We want to remember the good times, so we're trying to cram the clams.
Buon appetito! (Translation: Italian-Kenyan for "Enjoy the clams, even if Bev is preparing them").
In George Hirsch's honor, I'll also be running a few extra miles tomorrow morning to burn off the 13,029 calories per serving.
For those of you who think that diving into a plate of Risotto with Clams is an un-Kenyan thing to do, remember that the Kenyan marathon runners train six months out of every year in ITALY. Oh, yes, they do. I know. I've been with them. Well, not WITH them ...
By the way, George Hirsch will be here on July 28 to keynote our Anhinga Writers' Studio Summer Workshops. Don't tell him about the crack I made about Carnaroli or Vialone Nano rice, okay? I don't want him to think I'm a Philistine. I want him to think I'm a Kenyan who can cook.