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Post Prosciutto, Panettone, Frappuccino
Created by John Eipper on 12/06/17 4:01 AM

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Prosciutto, Panettone, Frappuccino (Enrique Torner, USA, 12/06/17 4:01 am)

As a Spaniard who has lived in the US for 30 years, I have tasted prosciutto and jamón ibérico in the US, and, as my Spanish professor buddy and editor stated, there is no comparison, especially in the case of jamón ibérico. For years, I had been buying Spanish food from latienda.com, which is in Virginia, but about a year ago, our Hy-Vee grocery store started carrying it, along with chorizo and lomo ibérico.  These are from Fermín brand, very high quality. You can get a few "lonchas" (slices) for a reasonable price. Of course, a whole leg will cost you about $1000, but who would get that in the US?

All this talk is making me hungry and crave Spanish jamón ibérico, which I haven't eaten for a long time. However, I have been enjoying one of my favorite Christmas foods: Italian "panettone," which they have at my neighborhood Walgreens. I absolutely love "panettone"! Sometimes I have ordered an even better quality from Williams-Sonoma. I would like to ask our Italian WAISers what brands of panettone they consider the best.

Thank you, Italy, for creating panettone, cappuccino, and frappuccino! (Did you really create frappuccino, or is this an American invention?)

JE comments: Frappuccino is a Starbucks brand, although it was created by a Boston coffee chain acquired by the coffee behemoth in the 1990s. Here's Wikipedia:

"The original Frappuccino drink was developed, named, trademarked and sold by George Howell's Eastern Massachusetts coffee shop chain, The Coffee Connection. When Starbucks purchased The Coffee Connection in 1994, they also gained the rights to use, make, market, and sell the Frappuccino drink. The drink, with a different recipe, was introduced under the Starbucks name in 1995 and as of 2012, Starbucks had annual Frappuccino sales of over $2 billion."

The Boston roots are not surprising:  "frappe" is New Englandese for a milkshake.

Enrique Torner is a Walgreen's man.  Yours Truly leans towards CVS.  All Americans are one or the other, except for the rara avis who prefers Rite Aid.  They say the world divides up evenly between John and Paul, except for that rara avis, the Georgeophile.  (Only an inveterate non-conformist can like Ringo best.)

This John is a Pauline.


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  • Paulines, Georgeophiles, and Ringoists (John Heelan, UK 12/07/17 3:49 AM)
    John E's comment reminded me of a spiteful joke aimed at the Beatles and Ringo. Q: What do you call somebody who arrives with musicians? A: The drummer.

    This talk of Spanish food reminds me that our supply of chorizo has run low--an essential ingredient of excellent Fabada Asturiana my wife makes to comfort us in winter.


    JE comments:  My rocker friends say the drummer is the heartbeat--cornerstone, foundation, what have you--of any band.  If the "musicians" screw up you still have a song, but when the drumming falls apart, everything is lost.  Stepson Martin is a drummer, and I've played around with his kit.  It's not nearly as easy as it looks.


    So here's to the world's drummers.  They arrive first and leave last.  I'm still partial to Paul, however.


    (We just booked a Havana hotel not far from "Parque John Lennon" in the Vedado district.  Castro must have been influenced by Lennonism.)


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    • Drumming Up Support for Drummers: "Whiplash" (David Duggan, USA 12/08/17 4:20 AM)
      See the movie Whiplash, which should have won the Academy Award for best picture (against Birdman), if you don't believe drummers set the tone, mood and energy of the band (at least one not dominated by a pianist).

      JE comments: Saw it, a couple of years ago, with family drummer Martin.  Whiplash is one of those films that puts you through the wringer.  It's excellent, but also a lot of work to watch.  Miles Teller in the central role is brilliant, as is Detroit's own J. K. Simmons, his brutal taskmaster of a teacher.  Simmons has inspired my own teaching methods--fear, derision, public embarrassment, pitting one student against another, and whenever possible, drawing blood.  (Just kidding, folks--I'm demanding on the outside, a softie on the inside.)

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  • Panettone (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 12/07/17 8:17 AM)

    For Enrique Torner, in Italy we have many good panettone.  Among the classics:  Tre Marie, Gallup, Melegatti, Once Motta.  There are several panettone with chocolate and/or cream. There is also Pandoro but it is without candied fruits, as well as Melegatti, Bauli, etc.


    Well, frappuccino is just milk frappè with coffee, probably an American invention.


    JE comments:  I was in the Adrian Walgreens just yesterday (a treacherous betrayal of CVS, but Wally's is closer).  The panettone display was front and center, just in time for the Holidays.  Can't say I've ever had it.  Isn't panettone Italy's equivalent of fruitcake, which people love to give but few like to eat?

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    • Try some Panettone; It Ain't Fruitcake (Enrique Torner, USA 12/08/17 11:21 AM)

      For goodness sake, John! How dare you compare panettone with fruitcake? I don't like fruitcake at all! It's dry and tastes awful.


      Panettone is moist and delicious! I can't believe you saw it at Walgreens and didn't buy it.  It's only $5.99 at my Walgreens; $1.00 for an individual-size one! Go back to Walgreens, buy one, and try it.  It's my favorite food for the Christmas holidays.


      I want to thank Eugenio for his brand recommendations. I will be searching for them. I have tried "chocottone" as well. One of my daughters prefers it with chocolate, but my wife and I prefer it with candied fruit.


      JE comments:  Mission accomplished!  See photo from WAIS HQ, Adrian, together with Lord Kitchener.  A full report will come upon trial.  The Bauducco brand wasn't one of Eugenio Battaglia's recommendations, but this is not surprising.  It's from Brazil!  Just like Foster's Australian beer is made in Canada.

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    • Different Places, Different Tastes (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 12/09/17 5:34 AM)
      I am sure that if you tasted a good Italian panettone you will like it. [We still didn't break open the "Brazilettone," but since we're presently snowed in at WAIS HQ, today's the day--JE.]

      Speaking about food and even more about wines, if you really want to taste the goodness you have to eat or drink them in the places where they are produced. When wines and other products, like cheese, etc. travel, staying for a long time in refrigerated places impacts the taste.


      I remember very well that cheese tasted on the mountain in the cave of the "Margaro." The same guy who takes care of the animals makes the cheese in the Alpine pasture. It was delicious when we brought it home, but it just wasn't the same. Wine drunk at the "cantina" where is was made tastes fantastic, but if you take it home it loses something from a few hours in the car.


      To address John E's question of whether the Jewish community of Pitigliano (Maremma) maintained its Ladino language, I have no idea. If I am not mistaken, the town has some inscriptions in Yiddish; therefore some of the people came from Northeast Europe. Consider that various Jewish families of different provenance took refuge in Pitigliano, so maybe there were both Sephardim (but most of these took refuge in Ferrara and Leghorn) and Ashkenazim, but most of these were in Alto Adige.


      Do not forget that we have also the Italian Jews, the Italzim (Italkim), who came to Rome already in the 2nd century BCE and became a large and wealthy community, which by 70 CE would ransom the Jews brought to Rome as slaves.


      JE comments:  Dare I suggest that the emotional factor also plays a role?  Eating local delicacies makes you feel better.  Perhaps we are hard-wired to prefer freshness, with the assumption that the food is less likely to make us sick.  Could it be our hunter-gatherer roots?


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