Tag: Teach

These Incredible Italian Grandmas Teach you to Make Pasta from Scratch

Pasta videos are one of my favorite things on the internet. To be specific, the making and shaping of pasta using traditional ingredients and methods. There are all sorts of videos out there, and pasta enthusiasts on all the different platforms, but I love watching Italian grandmas (nonnas) the most. I’m going to highlight a handful of favorite pasta videos here, and let these Italian grandmas show us how it’s done.

I also want to mention a channel on You Tube, Pasta Grannies, because it’s an absolute treasure trove of pasta videos by Vicki Bennison. I’ve embedded a few favorites episodes down below, definitely poke around the archives as well. There’s also some great inspiration at #pastamaking, and Miyuki Adachi is one of my all-time favorite Instagram accounts. Let me know in the comments if you have any favorites in this vein as well, I’m always adding to my list!

1. Pici

Pici(!!!) Pici is my first pasta love, and my favorite pasta to shape by hand. You roll out long spaghetti-shaped noodles across a countertop, and because you’re doing it by hand the shape is beautifully irregular and rustic. I thought my pici game was respectable until I came across this Tuscan grandma. Around the :50 second mark of this video, she shows us who’s boss.

2. Trofie

Trofie is the most recent shape I’ve tried to master. To make these tiny coils, some people wrap the pasta dough around a thin needle or umbrella spoke. I don’t have the patience for that (I’m so slow), and always resort to something more like this. Look at her outside-the-palm technique!

3. Fusilli Ricci

Proof that making fresh pasta keeps you strong! A beautiful portrait of nonna Maria at 86 years old making fusilli ricci.

4. Tagliatelle

Nonna Elena makes beautiful tagliatelle here, and make you think you can ditch your pasta machine for a pasta board and mattarello rolling pin. If you watch carefully, you get a sneak peek into her refrigerator too :).

5. Orecchiette

I visited Puglia years ago, and could watch the ladies make traditional orecchiette (little ears) for hours. In this video we see an orecchiette master at work, but don’t look away, because at the 2:00 minute mark, she goes big.

6. Cavatelli

The shaping of the cavatelli kicks in around the 2:00 minute mark here. I remember meeting some of these ladies when I travelled to Puglia years ago.

7. Sicilian Maccheroni

One more from the Pasta Grannies series. Filmed in Menfi, Sicily, I love this video for a hundred reasons. Watch Damiana and Gaetano make an incredible fava bean pasta lunch. Her knife skills are the best, the fresh from the garden favas(!), the sunny patio(!), Damiana’s fruit and berry tablecloth!

8. Miyuki Adachi

Not a nonna, but I suspect you’ll love Miyuki nonetheless. I found her on Instagram, and love watching her video shorts and pasta shaping demonstrations from Toronto. This is a video of some of what you’ll find her working on. As you can see, her trofie game is quite strong as well! (Follow Miyuki)


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What Anthony Bourdain Can Teach Us About Storytelling in ‘Parts Unknown’

“Who gets to tell the stories?” Anthony Bourdain narrates at the end of the new season’s premiere of Parts Unknown. “The answer in this case, for better or for worse, is I do. At least this time out. I do my best. I look, I listen, but in the end I know it’s my story. Not Kamau’s, not Kenya’s, or Kenyans’. Those stories are yet to be heard.”

Following Bourdain’s untimely death in June earlier this year, and especially considering today’s political climate, these words seem to ring truer and heavier. The nine-time Emmy Award–winning CNN travel show started its final season last week in Kenya, where Bourdain and writer-comedian W. Kamau Bell ate goat’s head soup; saw lions, rhinos, and elephants on safari; and visited a nonprofit boxing academy called Boxgirls, which is dedicated to teaching young women to defend themselves.

This episode would be the last one narrated by Bourdain himself (the follow-up in Spain, which aired last night, was the first without the beloved food and travel writer’s thoughtful commentary). His empathetic narrative voice—his defense of women “being able to kick the hell out of men if they have to,” for instance—feels even more welcome as the lens through which we get to view modern-day Kenya.

But as much as Bourdain sets the stage for Kenyans to tell the story of Kenya, even he admits that this version is, ultimately, still his own and that the keepers (and tellers) of stories are rarely the subjects themselves.

So who does get to tell the stories? This question of ownership and authenticity in the frame of storytelling feels particularly meaningful as you watch Bell confront his own identity throughout the episode. Whether he’s drinking cow’s blood for the first time or chatting with the local Kenyans, or just having a beer with Bourdain, the question seems always to be: Whose story is this? Mine or theirs?

“As a black American,” Bell tells Bourdain over their first meal together in Nairobi, “I’m still wrestling with my African-American identity sometimes, and I’m still wondering, am I doing right by this culture and does this culture think I’m doing right by them? That’s why I don’t want to walk around like, ‘I’M HOME!’

“I also think that a lot of times black people in American have really struggled with that aspect of identity: What does it mean to be black in America? I’m like, I fought hard to claim this identity. It’s exhausting, you know. Am I ready to start with a new one? I don’t know yet.”

Bourdain sits and listens, sipping his beer once in a while, but mostly letting his friend talk.

The whole episode is like this. As Bourdain and Bell visit each group (like LGBTQ art collective To Revolutionary Type Love and community-based organization Kibera Creative Arts), they gather around a table and talk politics, especially class and identity politics, all the while eating and drinking. Bourdain asks questions, but mostly lets his guests have the floor. It’s the Bourdainian way toward empathy: to look, and to listen to others.

I do my best. I look, I listen, but in the end I know it’s my story. Not Kamau’s, not Kenya’s, or Kenyans’. Those stories are yet to be heard.

Anthony Bourdain

The looking, for Bourdain, is as important as the listening. At the end of the safari, he and Bell sit on top of a hill overlooking the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. It’s a poignant moment as Bourdain tells Bell, “I don’t know, this should kind of be compulsory viewing for—if you ever run for president, this should be compulsory viewing.”

“At the very least,” Bell says. “I do think that a lot of perspectives will be opened up, a lot of minds will be changed.” Not just about Kenya as an ever-growing, dynamic country, but about other cultures and viewpoints as well.

The closing narration—when Bourdain asks, “Who gets to tell the stories?”—is a reminder of how important it is to keep an eye and ear out at all times, with compassion, and to remind ourselves that so many of these stories about others, especially the difficult ones about poverty, identity, and victimization, are yet to be heard. It’s our jobs, then, to listen.

Are you watching the new season, too? Let us know in the comments below.

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