I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.—Neil Gaiman, The Sandman
When I first moved to Los Angeles during the last Ice Age, everything that was classy had a French name: The restaurants, the big real estate developments, and so on. Sometime over the last twenty years, suddenly Tuscany became the measure of all things ritzy. Although it is still filled with empty storefronts with “For Lease” signs, I can see the developers trying to turn it into a little Tuscany.
I can’t think of Italian food in Southern California as being so rarefied if for no other reason than it tends to be pretty mediocre. Take meatballs, for instance: If one is a gourmet chef, one doesn’t make meatballs that are nothing but differently-shaped hamburger patties. It is necessary to mince onion, garlic, parsley, and perhaps a few herbs into the ground meat mixture first. Even my Hungarian Mom knew that when she made hamburgers. But in L.A. that never happens.
I remember a huge meatball at a Buca di Beppo in the San Fernando Valley that was nothing but a large hamburger hockey puck.
So I don’t take Los Angeles’s Tuscan dreams with anything but a grain of salt, and perhaps some minced onion, garlic, parsley, and perhaps a few herbs.
The painting above is from the Erin Hill studio website. It’s quite pretty and a steal at $220.00. Maybe my hijacking the JPG file will make you want to buy the painting.