Stuffed Peppers, Pappa al Pomodoro, and Remembering the Glass Family

Nearly every writer, from Robert Fulford to Barbara Amiel to the entire staff of Slate.com, has commented on J.D. Salinger’s death.  I’m not about to do the same because for one, I’m not a real-life witer, and two, this is a food blog, and three, I don’t care to know what J.D. Salinger’s writing means to anybody else.  And I’ve never desired to know more about the author himself: It simply never occurred to me because those characters, particularly the Glass family, were real and to think that they had a script writer, somebody pulling their strings behind the scenes was, and still is, unfathomable.  His short stories made me selfish:  What I mean is that it’s easy to convince your naive, silly, young self that you’re the only one in the world who really understands Franny, Zooey, Buddy and Seymour; You’re the only one who got goose bumps after reading the description of all the objects in Bessie Glass’s moo moo pocket or in the family’s medicine cabinet; You’re the only one who taped a giant piece of butcher paper to the back of your bedroom door, just like the one in Seymour and Buddy’s room, and started recording quotes from Important Books.  And you’re the only psycho who had Franny and Zooey photocopied and bound so you could make notes in the margins because the words Existed Only for You.  

Oh dear.  I just went ahead and commented on all this when I promised I wouldn’t.   You don’t care what I have to say about this, and nor should you!  It was selfish of me, not to mention transparently Full of Ego.  And it’s probably J.D Salinger’s fault.  He’s afflicted everybody who cared to read his stories with too much self-awareness.  God it’s an ugly bit of business.

So let’s talk more about me and the stuffed peppers I made, shall we?  I made this recipe up when I lived in Italy with one of my best buddies, Michelle.  And I had a real hankering to recreate them on Sunday.  Plus, peppers were on sale:  four for two dollars!  I had a sad looking little leek in the fridge so I fried that up with some onion and celery.  Next went in some ground beef and a touch of chopped up pepperoncini–hot chilli peppers in olive oil.  Finally, I added a can of plum tomatoes, white rice, grated parmigiano and some fresh parsley.  Once that cooked for a bit I stuffed them peppers real fine and ended up having two trays full that fed the Beast and me nearly all week.

And for Monday night dinner with the Beast and Nick, I made my first ever batch of  Pappa al Pomodoro, a very traditional Tuscan soup that uses up stale bread and ripe tomatoes.  

It was shockingly easy to make.  When I got home from work, all I had to do was reheat the soup and cook the boys up some French country sausages courtesy of Rowe Farms.  And yes mom, Uncle Ron and Aunt Sandy, I know that the sausages look like dicks on a plate.  

I topped off the meal with a piece of Ossau Iraty cheese and these little toasts I make from an Ace Bakery baguette.  The Beast loves them.  So did Nick.

We talked about, now don’t get mad here, how unbelievable Holden Caulfield is as a character; and how we should all reread Nine Stories and discuss a story a week over dinner; and how it was my fault that there was nothing in the house to have for dessert.

Foodie:  ***

Beast:   **1/2

 

5 responses to “Stuffed Peppers, Pappa al Pomodoro, and Remembering the Glass Family

  1. I suppose your plate had the one dick and the boys each had a dick and a half. Sorry, Jess, your mom and Aunt Sandy made me write that.

  2. Figures!

  3. This one is serious. When I read you blog I realize that many cultures are so alike. In Canada people used left over bread in a tomato soup but used canned tomatoes and milk – the things everyone had. The flavour of the tomatoes that had grown in your back garden during the previous summer was always so wonderful and reminded you of those hot lazy days of your summer vacation. Stuffed peppers are a big treat here. Mike’s mom used to stuff poblano chiles with cheese, dip them into egg and fry them. Some people then immerse them in sauce but Consuelo would plate them from the pan and drizzle cream (something like Devonshire cream) over them and sprinkle on some pomegranate seeds. Very pretty and a perfect meal for Friday in Lent. Your recipe sounds interesting. Do you use raw rice? Is the stuffing somewhat the same as a cabbage roll stuffing in texture? Both dishes look lovely. Those peasant dishes that have all the food groups in one instance are so good. And of course, you can read a book or knit a sock while they are cooking.

    • Thanks so much for this comment Ron. I didn’t know about the Canadian version of tomato bread soup (in fact, I tend to forget that we have such a rich food history right here in front of us. I think other people forget too–I wish there was more literature on this, like Edna Staebler’s Food that Schmecks.) I want to come for dinner at your place in Morelia. RIGHT NOW.

  4. That’s right folks. For one blessed year, I got a taste of what it’s like to be the Beast. And it was every bit as awesome as it sounds.

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