Now, Opera Chic would totally buy a Carlo Bergonzi cookbook: the maestro is a famous gourmet, a hearty eater whose sons run a beautiful hotel with a splendid restaurant in Busseto -- one of the highlights of Opera Chic's stay in Italy has been the time that she had lunch at I Due Foscari right next to the maestro's table (at 82, he's a deliciously hearty, happy eater. And he runs a great Accademia Verdiana for opera masterclasses there -- among the alumni, Salvatore Licitra and our dear Roberto Aronica.
Among other things, the maestro would never go on a crash diet -- unlike, say, Maria Callas, whose massive weight loss is still the stuff of urban legends (did she really decide to ingest tapeworm? eeeewwwwwwww! And what about those horrid tales about speed/diuretics cocktails? And we'll spare you the -- hopefully apocryphal stories -- about the elephant-size coffee colonic marathons). I mean, you don't usually lose 85 pounds in a year -- as Callas did -- simply doing some Atkins, so there might be some truth to the appalling stories, OC is afraid.
Anyway, we'll have dinner at Maestro Bergonzi's anytime -- seriously, as soon as Opera Chic gets back to Italy! She's seriously craving some ravioli di zucca at the maestro's -- but, as much as we admire Maria's mad singing and acting skillz, we'd never really go have dinner at her place (not hungry, thanks! I'll drop by afterwards for coffee! no, wait...) .
There's a book out now, though, that gives us a nice list of 150 Callas recipes: La Divina In Cucina -- Il Ricettario Segreto di Maria Callas (La Divina in the kitchen -- Maria Callas Secret Recipe Book), 25 euros, Trenta Editore.
Thankfully, it's not composed entirely of recipes dreamt up by the hungry soprano: in fact, it's mostly made of recipes that great chefs have invented for her, in her honor: from Arrigo Cipriani to Rolando Lami and Nicola Rosato to Mario Zorzetto, chef of the Onassis family yacht, the Christina; the dishes that Ferruccio Mezzadri, her faithful butler / personal assistant invented. And finally, recipes actually created by Maria herself.
In the book, there is also the menu of that fateful night at the Danieli in Venice: September 3, 1957. When she met Onassis for the first time ("Consommé gelé en tasse, Flamingo shrimps, Chicken Soumaroff, strawberry soufflé").
Here's one recipe straight from the book: Maria Callas's "Peperata" Sauce (it's a condiment for meat dishes, Callas apparently ate this together with her ultra-boring lean steaks).
1 liter beef stock (ed: m'kay)
30 grams of bone marrow (ed: EEEEEEEWWWWW! Mad Cow Disease Galore!)
Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese (ed: this is SO not Kosher it isn't even funny).
Bring the beef stock to a boil, add the bone marrow. Slowly add bread crumbs and mix until the mixture gets thicker. Add a handful of grated Parmesan, pepper, a spoonful of butter. Let simmer slowly for 2 hours, then serve.