Month: October 2023

Caffè Lattes at Home

My friend treated me to a decaf iced latte with almond milk on an impromptu visit to Paris Baguette. Minimal caffeine and zero sweetener for me. As I admired the marbly collision of liquids through the clear cup, I wished that the drink would stay full. A never-ending cup of coffee—more Alice in Wonderland than real life. After I finished my iced latte, it stayed on my mind for days after. I bought another latte four days later, this time from Bluestone Lane, non-iced, decaf because I don’t tolerate caffeine, still no sweetener (not needed in my opinion). When the cup became empty, I began to look forward to my next one. I interpreted this as a sign that I should learn to make lattes at home. My new supplies should arrive any day now.

Works Sighted

How to Make the Best Coffee at Home (2022) // milk frother/steamer // table dustpan // glass cup // Lavazza decaf expresso bean // ice cube trays // 50 Italian Coffee Breaks (2022)

barista glass // coffee grinder // The World Atlas of Coffee (2018) // 50 French Coffee Breaks (2022) // caffe latte candles // glass mug

Simple Mills chocolate chip cookies // stainless steel straws // espresso maker // coffee canister // caffè latte & biscotti sweatshirt // engraved coffee scoop // The Curious Barista’s Guide to Coffee (2019)

Further Reading

How to Make a Latte” (A Couple Cooks)

How to be Italian: Eat, Drink, Dress, Travel and Love La Dolce Vita (2021) by Maria Pasquale

I’d say I’m more familiar with Italian culture than the average non-Italian American. I know that you won’t find Italian food at Olive Garden, San Marzano tomatoes come from Campania, my beloved arrancini is Sicilian, ciao means hello and goodbye, and, after the dough, there are exactly four toppings on a pizza Margherita.

My grandfather spoke fluent Italian and socialized in South Philadelphia circles. Unfortunately, that tradition wasn’t passed through the family. I was asked by a hostess at Gran Caffe L’Aquila how I arrived at the decision to read How to be Italian by Maria Pasquale. I’d taken the book to the restaurant to photograph it. I said that I was interested in Italian culture, but in reality, my purpose was stronger than that. Becoming acquainted with Italy makes me feel like I am reclaiming a part of my heritage.

How to be Italian: Eat, Drink, Dress, Travel and Love La Dolce Vita (2021). I knew that much of the information contained in the book wouldn’t be new news. August vacation is untouchable; it’s the same for the French. Italians express their feelings with hand gestures, value their family ties, and are superstitious. My aunt lived in Italy when I was young and told stories about how her doctor gave advice rooted in superstition rather than science. The Italian brand Superga is one of my favorites. As is Valentino. I’ve been to Rome, Florence, and Venice.

Although Pasquale’s book isn’t large like the ones commonly found on coffee tables, I believe it belongs there. The book is divided into nine chapters and is easy to read. The vibrant photographs, insightful quotes, and beautiful graphics drew me in. I found some elements surprising: the two playlists (one called “classic,” the other, “party”) and the glossary organized into eight categories: food, drinks, speech, community, holidays, life, ideas, places.

passeggiata – an afternoon stroll, usually with no destination, (210).
sprezzatura – the effortless elegance and nonchalance with which Italians carry themselves, (211).
Ciao bella!’ – ‘Hello beautiful!’ (208)

I made a Spotify playlist of Maria’s favorite Italian songs. Andrea Becelli’s “Con te partirò,” also one of my favorites, made the cut. I’m in an Italian mood. Fresh Severino linguine and all.