The Pursuit of Real Food

by admin on February 11, 2009

As we sat down to eat dinner on Monday night, the girls asked me what I did all day….I thought about my day, laughed and said, “Today I was in the pursuit of food!”

Over the weekend we moved into a new apartment….a whole other series of stories….the apt we were in was 400 sq. feet…a temporary dwelling until we could figure out where the kids friends and life would be centered….we lived in the best neighborhood…right off of what I always called “rodeo drive”…..a few doors down from the Gucchi Store and across the street from the Robert Cavalli Boutique and Cafe….although we were a bit tight in our space, we learned the value of a warm and inviting building and landlords, a “hood” with everything you could want, and the joy of endless sleepovers ….as our kitchen and living room became our bedroom at night….

I began searching for a new place weeks ago….stumbled upon a lot of beautiful large apts in different parts of town but most were dated and I never got “the feeling”……. then one day…when my hope was fading….I inquired about a flat…it was way over my budget if you calculated the weekly rate but I thought I’d give it a shot….after all….with the economy…a long term renter….and good ones at that…..maybe they would give me a break……and sure enough….they came down in to my price range….well..I had yet to see the place so I was still doubtful….the girls wanted to go see this one so we booked at apt for the weekend.

…. as we were having lunch and eagerly anticipating seeing this new prospect, I warned the girls not to get their hopes up….the places are usually dated and not “dreamy” by any stretch….it was cold and rainy and we waited outside for the owner to show….the door of the building opened and out she came….a totally cool chick……she was the architect as well….she and her husband had remodeled three flats in this building and one was just finished……we walked through the large heavy door that is typical of these buildings…. into the hallway that was cold….with high ceilings….and an old lantern hanging that reminded me of  “jack the ripper” …. I knew it…..another old apartment…..up the cold cement steps we stepped…24 steps that is(40 less then our other place)….the owner then  opened another heavy wooden door that went into a tiny space….as we approached I could see two doors within that space…….she waited for us to meet up with her and then opened the door to the right…..she began to apologize for the minor things they had to finish and it would all be done by Sat when we would move in….our jaws collectively dropped….it was beautiful!  It was a loft….and completely remodeled with spectacular taste…..a winding staircase leading to the large loft that holds the bedrooms and bath for the girls and a downstairs with a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bathroom…..and if that wasn’t enough……..a washer and dryer!!  A place that I dared to imagine but never thought would materialize……we are very grateful for our new home!

So…once again….we are settled….we are on the other side of town….away from my bakery……my grocer…….my routine…..I could dig deep and discover all the treasures on this side of town…..but not today….I am hungry….for familiarity…..for friendliness…..and for good food!

I worked all morning and then grabbed  my big bag and walked a whole 12 minutes over to my grocer….she had not made fagioli beans today but they had received the fresh mozzarella from Sicily…..she knows how much I enjoy her beans so I think she was compelled to let me in on her recipe…….she packaged some of the dried fagiolli beans for me….they are fagiolli but without the skin…I couldn’t understand the full name and I didn’t want to be an idiot so I just went with it…..she said they are better and used more in Tuscany…..I was to take them home and put them in a pot…..fill it up with water as deep as my five fingers…put in one tomato….one piece (clove I assume) of garlic….keeping the skin on(she said that twice so I think that’s important)…..and salt….a few sage leaves and a drizzle of olive oil…..she made a large S in the air as if to say “that much”….

I needed to simmer them for about 2 hours(not the large heat…but the little heat…the beans should not get too hot ….another hand gesture to show me boiling water vs. soft simmer…my assumption is simmer low)……then drain…..and serve with olive oil and salt… before.

It’s such a simple recipe but if you pair it with the beautiful accent that permeated every english word….the hand gestures….the yelling at others in the store for english translations….and the joy that she exuded as she shared it with me…it is recipe that I will bring me great joy for the years to come….

I loaded up with fruits and veges… fresh mozzeralla….and was sold on a ricotta that she had me taste from the same producer as the Pecorino Cheese that I love… just came in from the Chianti region….again….never have I tasted ricotta like this…the softness of the texture matched the flavors that were melting in my mouth…..I couldn’t pass that up….and then a nice slice of the Pecorino Cheese….a favorite….drizzled with our local honey….

My grocer wondered why I was getting so much and I told her we had moved so I’m stocking up….she was so pleased and excited that I am still coming to her shop…..she reminded me of the store hours and that she would have her Ceci tomorrow…..after many ciao grazies I was on my way….stopped at my bakery and picked up some fresh bread…..these olive oil crackers that they make every day that the girls are addicted to….a favoarite pastry that looks like a “doughnut hole” with cream inside…..also addicting. then I crossed the cobblestone street to the butcher and picked up a petti di pollo (chicken breast) and I was all set.  Loaded down…. I started my trek back to the “other side”!

On my walk back, I started to piece together my dinner….fagiolli beans with olive oil and salt…..chicken breasts and sage….and broccoli and beet greens…..with some “donut holes” for dessert….then… my mind began to wander…as usual…..

I could take you through the maze of my thoughts but I’m afraid…no actually sure…that I will lose you…I sometimes lose myself.  The conclusion of the endless banter in my head was that I was going to start a club…..a club is nothing more then a group of people who share a common interest…..ok….so we have that…..I have had olive oil clubs in the past but it just wasn’t the right time….operationally and creatively we were not ready…….but guess what…..we are now!  Our operation is running beautifully and I have been given the gift of time….to think…..absorb……and create……

The club had several names on the walk home….but I’ve landed on one that fits the origin of the thought….”The Pursuit of Real Food Club”.  A marketing person would have a field day with that…..I know the name has issues…..but so do I……and when I hear the words…..Pursuit of Real Food… will bring me back to the dinner table with my kids…explaining my day……and I will draw on that spirit that drove me on that Monday….and then it will get the best of me…..and I will use it to inspire…..all of us……to never compromise on anything that goes into our body (ok maybe a few vices are okay)….so….here we go……

As a 2009 Pursuit of Real Food Club Member you will receive the following:

A.  A quarterly shipment of ingredients and recipes that are centered around the pursuit of real food.  The cost will be a maximum of $60 TOTAL.  This is retail price on our products with FREE shipping.  The first shipment will be on March 1, 2009.

B.  Wholesale pricing (30% discount) on all products for the first quarter of the year….January 1 through March 31…late this year but think to the future!

C.  10% “local” discount during all other months.

D.  Invitations to quarterly Pursuit of Real Food Club Member Only Events….the first one happening in June….centered   around the lavender harvest.


Go to our website and place a Pursuit of Real Food Club Membership in your cart.

In ordering a Club Membership, you are agreeing to sign up for our Pursuit of Food Club Membership with the first scheduled shipment date of March 1, 2009.  Your credit card will be charged when product is shipped.

Upon shipment of your first package on March 1, 2009, you will be officially set up as a club member and given your wholesale discount codes to use until March 31, 2009.

All membership priveleges will be in effect as long as you are an active member of the Club.

Ciao.  Peggy


Kristy February 11, 2009 at 12:29 pm


It has been such a pleasure to read your blog and all about the adventures settling into your new home. I have been a customer of yours since my first visit to your shop almost six years ago. (I live in the burbs of Washington DC)

Good luck to you and your girls. I’m sending warm wishes your way.


Kristy Powers

deb rockwell February 12, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Ok Peggy—enough is enough! I just booked a VERY reasonable trip for 4 days in Florence. I was there last year as a second chaperone for high school kids from New City, New York….I absolutely loved Florence—- the best—-cried at the sight of the David and couldn’t get enough of it. Since I speak zero Italian my friend, the high schol Italian teacher, did a lot of translating for me and on the second day in Florence told me to just go out and do it on my own—-FAB experience for this newly retired school administrator–I am a better person for it! Ha! So because of YOU and your intensely interesting blog, I am going back with another non Italian speaker–I walked so much around every little street last year that I am positive we will be fine with directions—the language is another matter! I am so excited—-March 18 can not come soon enough—–thanks with all my heart! Furthermore, I am LOVE your lemon olive oil-I have been buying it since you had it in the long, sleek blue bottles—-the best! Keep up the wonderful blog—sincerely, Deb Rockwell ps-maybe the next trip will be to Napa—that is another dream of mine!!

Ken B February 15, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Hi Peggy, Love your blogs. I’m so glad you decided to journalize your experiences.

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