Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Copyright © 2012, Scotti Vaccaro
from Mon Journal de Montréal
sketchbook journal entry dated 6/11/12

Milano is another one of those places that I am drawn to as if magnetized. From the street, it is an unpretentious urban grocery storefront. It is only after you open the door and walk inside that you realize that you have entered an Italian food paradise.

Inside that front door, the first hint of what awaits you are baskets and shelves filled with every conceivable shape and size of pasta -- more than a you could imagine if you are not Italian and maybe even more than the average Italian knows about. We have gotten so accustomed to the same ol' that we don't even know what we don't know.

But that is just the start. The bread nook has long loaves, skinny loaves, breadsticks, soft loaves, fat crusty loaves, round crusty loaves, and multi-grain loaves ... and not a single one of them wrapped in a plastic bag wrapper, but in open ended paper bags like from a bakery, which of course, they are. The cheese area has every cheese known to mankind and then a few that are mysterious. The meat section contains beef, veal, pork, lamb, chicken, various forms of seafood, yes. But how about duck, pheasant or rabbit, too? There is an olive oil section. That's not an exaggeration; there are more types than I've ever seen in one place. There is a table or two of containers of nuts -- nearly any that you can name -- including chestnuts, raw, roasted, and ground into flour, as well. When was the last time that you can recall seeing them at all, other than at Christmas?

Of course, I love to cook and I love to explore new-to-me foods. I also deplore the chain grocery store "this is all we have in stock" mentality and the everything prepackaged sameness. Milano is the way I imagine it has always been. That makes Milano a very special place, indeed.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” --Marianne Williamson