Yesterday Linda Cascio Critelli came to the Grand Island Memorial Library to do a cooking demonstration and to tell stories about her experiences in France, as well as her knowledge of Italian cooking. She was selling a little cookbook, titled Sicilian with a French Accent. It features “deliciously simple cuisine.” She turned the library meeting room into a cooking show and added stories and taste tests! The beauty was in the magic that she brought with her!
As Linda told stories, she cooked sfingi Siciliens in a small fryer. She described it as being “like a cream puff.” She had a bowlful of dough, from which she picked up scoopfuls of dough with an ice cream scoop. She put the dough in the fryer, where they cooked until they were a golden brown. After they came out of the fryer, she set them on paper towels so that the fat could drain off. Once the “cream puffs were sitting on the paper towels, and the fat had been drained, she added a bit of powdered sugar to the sfingi, which made them look festive.
Linda shared three taste tests: the sfingi Siciliens, la Tapenade Provencale, and la Quiche aux Legumes.
La Tapanade Provencale is made with olives, capers, garlic, and herbs, and is made in a food processor. The quiche is like a savory open tart or a flan. In a handout with recipes for all three of the taste tests, she said that the quiche “consisted of a pastry crust, filled with eggs, milk or cream,and cheese, meat, seafood, or vegetables.” Linda, who is the queen of multi-tasking, taught us a little French while simultaneously preparing food.
ants-in-the-pants kind of kid and couldn’t sit still. So when everyone else was
sleeping, I was thinking, ‘sleeping? What’s sleep?’ I want to go for a walk and
figure out where I am in this country. The city (in France) is known for having
a fountain in every corner. It’s a very pretty little town, with lots of trees.
Of course, everybody was sleeping. So I decided to take a walk. I found a
perfumerie, and I talked to the ladies. I bought some perfumes. I kept walking.
I realized that I was far from town. There was a little man who had a cane
sitting on a bench. I explained in French that I was from the university and
that I was lost. So he explained, with no teeth, how I was to get back to
school. (growly voice in French) So I took off completely in the opposite
direction. No, no, no, no! Come back here. I’m going to go with you. Oh no! He
accompanied me back, gave me a big hug, said I could come back, but I never saw him again.”
were pretty much from all over France. It’s a wonderful country. I enjoyed
visiting there and taking students there.”