Tutti a Tavola Culinary Program in
Essay submitted by Sandina Polgar
“The Clean Plate Club”
Active Member since 1958
When you are brought up in an Italian family, you cleaned your dinner plate. Period. No complaining or no spumoni….that was the way it was, no questions asked. We learned that food was a treasured commodity and should never be wasted…..and I for one can appreciate the lessons I learned as a child! We witnessed the “cucina povera” style of cooking at a young age. My grandmother taught my mother to cook with what she had on hand and to never make a trip to the grocery for “just one more ingredient”. If there wasn’t enough beef for stew, then it’s soup. Beans, fresh tomatoes and bread were magically transformed into more than the sum of their parts. It was real food…humble, but delicious.
My father and his family came from the Campagnia Region of
in the city of
where I still have cousins today. It is the homeland I have yet to visit. I
have always been fascinated by the many types of regional cuisine in Avella ; white
sauce, red sauce, meats and cheeses. I am always being asked to prepare “real”
Italian dishes for my clients….so far, so good.
But to work alongside the women of Italy Italy
experience first-hand the resourceful “peasant cooking” of my heritage would
give me the authentic training that escapes me here. I want to witness the
age-old “spirit” of the cucina povera style of cooking, where it is both a challenge
and responsibility to use food well. In turn, my personal chef clients would
benefit from the lessons learned, as I would share with them my experience
through the time-honored traditions of the Tutti a Tavola program. This
travel/culinary journey would enhance my appreciation for not only my heritage,
but my life-long philosophy about food as well-“waste not, want not”. Tuscany
As a personal chef, my business takes me to many different kitchens. I want to experience the kitchens of the Tuscan Mammas, were the meals and social life are intertwined, the wine and olive oil are savored….. and where they still clean their plates.