Sunday, April 10, 2011

Edible Excitement

Panzanella. If ever there was a dish that was fun to say, fun to make, and even more fun to eat, panzanella would be it.

I first experienced Panzanella, a traditional Italian bread salad, when I married into an Italian family. Growing up with Swedish and German roots, we didn't eat things with entertaining names like Panzanella...unless you count lutefisk, which I don't, because I personally don't find anything fun or enjoyable about dried cod soaked in lye. Perhaps that's just me. But, please don't misunderstand. I love being Swedish and am immensely proud of my Scandinavian heritage. I just find many of the traditional foods a little less exciting than, say, enchiladas, chicken tikka masala, lo mein, or panzanella! As my sister stated in a recent blog post, my mom would often say that her blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughters had food preferences that would have made them much better Mexicans or Indians or Chinese or Italians than Swedes. Taste buds, I suppose, transcend heritage.

In any case, let's return to the wonder that is panzanella. Italian or not, I adore this dish. I've already told Mandi at least twice now that this recipe is my favorite Visual Feast creation thus far. I was in culinary heaven as Dan and I dined on this concoction of toasted bread, fresh vegetables, and tasty vinaigrette. I'm not sure you could find many meals more suited to me if you tried.

Now, after all my talk of heritage and ethnic foods, I am beginning to wonder if perhaps we owe it to our Swedish roots to test the culinary waters of Scandinavian cuisine. We do, afterall, love our Swedish meatballs, cardamom bread, and lingonberries. Maybe this blog needs to take a turn toward northern Europe and find a Scandinavian dish that provides nearly as much excitement as the glorious panzanella! I detect a challenge ahead!


  1. Well, I won't blame you for not finding much excitement in Scandinavian foods...coming from German and Scandinavian backgrounds, we also find ourselves prone to more exotic flavors like asian and italian foods. Your extreme pleasure with this dish is making me quite excited to give it a try. And as I said before, it looks like a perfect candidate for summer family reunion time.

  2. I'm not sure what I enjoy more ... your writing, your art, or your recipes:-) I do know that this one sounds delicious!! Let me know if you want one of Nana's recipe books when you think you're ready to get serious about Scandinavian cooking:-)


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