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Friday, March 6, 2009

Pitas, Pittas, and Pies

I have been getting the first season of the TV show The Sopranos on Netflix. I admit that I haven't been overwhelmed by it. By far my favorite part has been the mentions of food, especially food that I haven't had for a while. (My Italian cook is out of the country.) Bracciole and ricotta pie are two that I particularly miss. Yum. Last night I went into such a reverie about ricotta pie that I missed about five minutes of the show and had to rewind!

Today I started thinking about my least favorite dessert as a kid, pittas. I remember them as being very pretty and looking like a smaller cinnamon bun. However, they tasted strongly of anise (Grandma loved anise), had currents, and were drenched in honey. Also, they weren't soft like a cinnamon bun, but were more crumbly and dense (more along the lines of a shortbread). Pittas were actually kind of hard to track down on the web, because of the similar spelling to pitas. It turns out that my childhood nemesis was probably a variation on pitta 'mpigliata. I never did find a recipe or picture that matched my memory. (Maybe we were the only ones who made them that way?) There are tons of Calabrese dishes that involve pitta, which is, you guessed it, conected to both the Italian pizza and the Greek pita. You can read a little more about it here.

It seems that one of my all-time favorite Italian cookies, the pizzella, is also related linguistically to the pita and the pitta. I find it funny that something so delicious can be so closely related entymologically to something I find so repulsive! I guess The Sopranos are good for something, after all... Making me hungry!

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