How to Use This Site
I like to think of this site as something more than just a blog. Over the years, we’ve accumulated a large collection of recipes—about 350 at last count—plus articles on all aspects of Italian food culture and history. There’s a lot here to explore, so here are some tips on getting the most out of this site:
There are several ways to get at the recipe or other information you want on this site.
At top, you’ll see four tabs:
- About: This tab provides basic information about the site, as well as a contact form and guidance on how to use the site (as you probably know, since you’re here now!)
- Recipes: This is your key to the content on this site: a hyperlinked index of each and every recipe on the site. A drop down menu links you to a series of pages organized along the lines of the courses of an Italian meal: antipasti, primi, secondi, contorni and desserts. Each page is then further organized by main ingredient.
- Glossary: This site uses some Italian and other cookery terms you might not be familiar with, so I’ve included this handy reference with the most common of those terms, defined in easy-to-understand everyday language.
- Links: This tab includes links to some of my favorite food blogs, Italian and non-Italian, as well as some useful online resources about Italian culinary culture and history.
On the right hand side of the page, there is a sidebar that includes:
- At the very top of the sidebar, is your handy-dandy search bar. Just type in the topic you want—for example, if you want some recipes for beef, just type in ‘beef’. You will be sent to a page with all a list of all the posts on the site featuring beef recipes.
- Below the tag cloud, you will find widgets with ways to browse the recipes on the site by course, region and season.
- Below those widgets, you’ll find button that produce drop-down menus to access recipes by category and date.
- Further down the sidebar, you can also find an image gallery of the most popular posts on the site.
NOTE: The sidebar also includes lots of ways to subscribe to the site, so you’ll get posts fresh off the presses, so to speak. You can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+ or subsribe to our RSS feed using your reader of choice. You can also follow us on Feedly or Networked Blogs.
And if you ever want to get back to the home page, just click on the title at the top left of any page on this site.
Right below the header at the top of the home page, you’ll find three posts featured. These usually include one or more of the most recent content on the site, but not only that. As I said, this is not just a blog, not just about the latest thing. You will also find featured posts with dishes appropriate to the season, whether they were published yesterday or last year.
Just below the featured posts, you’ll find a section called ‘Essential Reading’. Here we offer up the truly essential content on the site, with articles on Italian food culture and history, those Ur-recipes that every Italian cook (whether born that way or not) needs to know: how to make fresh pasta, how to make a frittata or a risotto, how to dress a salad Italian-style and so on. If you were to ask me where to begin if you want to learn about Italian cooking, I’d start right here.
Below the Essential Reading section, begins the ‘blog’ part of the site. Here you will find, in chronological order, the posts in the order they were published, starting with the most recent and making its way back to June 27, 2009, when it all began with a simple “Welcome“.
Each recipe post is set out in four main parts:
- Introduction: Each posts begins with a brief paragraph or two that gives you a quick overview of the featured dish, how it’s cooked and how you might make it a part of your meal plans.
- Ingredients List: A list of all the ingredients you’ll need to make the featured dish, in the order you’ll need to use them. If a dish has one or more sub-components, the list will be divided up into sub-lists. The number of servings (typically 4-6 persons) is also indicated.
- Directions: This part of the post will guide you, step by step, to show you how to prepare the featured dish. Some posts—the ones that feature the more complicated dishes like lasagna—include photos to illustrate some or all of these steps.
- Notes: Every post (well, almost every one) includes notes at the end. You don’t need to read these notes if you’re short on time, but they provide useful tips and tricks, tell you about variations on the main recipe and ingredient substitutions and, once in a while, a little historical background on the featured dish.
[NB: While I am working to update all the recipes on the site, some of the earlier recipes did not follow this format but were more, shall we say, freeform.]
Many posts also include, at the end, a list of related posts on the site (or elsewhere on the web) with even more background on the featured dish or a similar recipe you might enjoy trying.
Last, but certainly not least, at the bottom of each post you’ll find a place to leave a comment or question. You’ll need to scroll down to the very bottom of the page, below any other comments. (NB: Your’s will show up at the top once you post it.) Please don’t hesitate to do so—I love hearing from you! Since I don’t monetize this site in any way, my only ‘income’, so to speak, is your feedback.