Back in the fall 2017, my boss at Palm Beach Opera called me into his office to review an application for a marketing position that we were looking to fill. I glanced at the resume and saw that the candidate’s name was Adina Antonucci. “Great! Una paesana,” I thought... or maybe even said out loud. But what’s more, I noticed that she was a fellow blogger who seemed to share my passion for authentic Italian cuisine. Of course I gave her my immediate endorsement.
If I had studied her resume a little more thoroughly at the time, I would have seen that she also had some serious credentials in content marketing and digital P.R. These skills became immediately apparent once we started working together, and in the subsequent months/years, she has made my work days so much easier and more enjoyable. (But admittedly, it was her food blog that sold me off the bat.)
In the Cucina
The points that struck me the most about Adina’s approach to good food were her priorities related to simple recipes and fresh, quality ingredients that are locally sourced. This is the very cornerstone to the Italian way of cooking and eating, which I experienced myself while living in Italy.
In the U.S., this concept now has attracted all sorts of associated buzzwords like “farm to table,” “zero kilometer,” and “locavore.” In other words, people who make a concerted effort to eat what’s in season locally. And simplicity. Italians don’t trust any recipes that have more than four or five ingredients—and they should all be clearly identifiable on the plate.
Well, this is all fine and good when you’re living in Italy. But my biggest challenge—and my question for Adina—is how can you replicate the Italian approach to food (as closely as possible) while living in the land of fast food and chain restaurants?
This is no simple task. The U.S. food systems are set up to discourage these type of choices, and further, it makes them as expensive as possible. And in the end, you're still left wondering if that organic tomato really justifies the tripled cost. They certainly don't look any better, and if they're not in season, the chances are that they won't taste much better, either. You're left only with an insecure notion that (hopefully) you're consuming less pesticides.
But I digress...
According to the bio on her website, Adina is a South Florida-based marketing professional in the performing arts industry with a passion for good food. And while she did spend time in Florence, Italy – learning how to cook at Università degli Studi di Firenze, spot secret bakeries after midnight, and live like an Italian — she’s mostly a self-taught chef with a deep appreciation for cheese boards, and a firm belief that there should always be bread at the table. Thanks to her Italian family and her boyfriend’s appetite, she’s had a lot of practice.
On her blog, Adina Cucina, you’ll find her simple Italian-inspired recipes, driven by quality ingredients, memorable moments at the table, and the personal stories behind them.
Furthermore, Adina was nice enough to share some of her knowledge on my other website, Eat Like an Italian. Check it out here: Simple Italian Recipes in an American Kitchen
I’m a (mostly) self-taught chef with a deep appreciation for cheese boards and a firm belief that there should always be bread at the table.”
Click the link to check out other episodes and see my list of the best podcasts about Italy.