By Judy Garrison
It was an exceptional evening on December 10th at the Hunting Tavern, perfect for the waning days of early winter, when Chef Guglielmo-Bill Piervincenzi in his ordinary manifestation-presented a lecture/cooking demonstration entitled, “How to Kill Yourself with Italian Cooking.” The “by reservation only” group was simultaneously educated (there was much scientific explication on the ill effects on the circulatory system of the food we were soon to ingest), amused and fed in an idiosyncratic Piervincenzian fashion. Occasional bursts of Italian music punctuated the giggles and contented eating murmurs erupted from the assemblage at two long tables.
Roger Bobley, Roundtable facilitator, gives his account: “Dressed in a monogrammed white apron and chef’s hat, Chef Guglielmo laced his presentation with equal amounts of humor and garlic as he showed the audience, in a series of lessons, how to prepare various Italian dishes-from appetizer, to soup, entrée, and dessert. After each lesson, a crew of volunteers (including Eddie Piervincenzi, Carol Bobley, Jutta Schippman, Rose Gerber and Nancy McShane) served to those in attendance the dish that had just been described. The house was packed, Italian music pervaded the room, and wine flowed like water from the Trevi Fountain. At the conclusion of the evening, the Chef received a standing ovation for his dazzling performance.”
At my request Chef G. provided the evening’s menu details:
Antipasto: Muffaletta, a gigantic sandwich originated by the Italian-Americans in New Orleans, filled with Italian cold cuts, roasted peppers and olive salad.
Soup course: Rich, herb-flavored chicken broth with Strozza Preti (it will strangle a priest). Strozza Preti are dumplings (gnocchi) made with ricotta and pecorino cheeses mixed with spinach and spices.
Main course: Sausages filled with chicken meat, cheese and spices, served over a bed of sautéed fennel and onions.
Dessert: Vanilla ice cream topped with a rich Amaretto chocolate sauce, sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts.
To quote Chef Guglielmo, “Cooking can be an expression of love. If you care for the people you are cooking for, it may be hard work but it is very gratifying.” The audience/eaters were certainly gratified as well.
Some people were disappointed when reservations were filled. Though it’s not possible to do a repeat of this kind of complex endeavor any time soon, Roundtable may hold a festive potluck dinner in mid-winter that will also require reservations. If you are not already on the email distribution list, and would like to be, you may contact Roger Bobley and ask to have your name included: email@example.com. Want to know more about this group, open to the public, which meets most Wednesdays at 7 pm at The Hunting Tavern Museum? Visit: www.andesroundtable.com and check out the answers to the FAQs (frequently asked questions).~