May 2, 2010

Slow Food Cooking 101: Finding our materia prima at the Sant'Ambrogio Market

I’ve been lucky enough to travel with elephant columnist and dear friend Peggy Markel these last few weeks, in Morocco and Italy. This morning, over lattés at her favorite family-owned café in Florence, Cibreo, I said to her, “Peggy, it’s not that I want to open a restaurant or be a professional chef, but I want to learn to make delicious food for my family and friends. Where do I start?”

Usually, I start with a recipe in mind and then hit the internet or a cookbook, make a few tweaks, and the result is fairly decent. But Peggy took me to the market and taught me that great quality cooking starts with great quality ingredients. It’s all about how you choose your materia prima, as she (and the Italians) call it—the basic building blocks of a meal.
~ Merete Mueller

Read the rest of the post, including a video tour of the Sant'Ambrogio Farmer's Market in Florence, at

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