Monday, April 28, 2014

Days stale? Add a bit of tang with white vinegar...if you can find it.

Hunting for fun, interesting and helpful reading for my ESL students is a (time-gulping) joy. One of the latest just in time for spring is a list of clean freak fixes easier said than done in Italy because some of the common U.S. products aren't readily available, here. For example? Your be all and end all white vinegar....More...

According to Rozin in DIPLY, white vinegar kills 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold, and 80% of viruses. (For a slide show of all the things you can do with vinegar, Rozin sends you here.)

Especially suspicious when it comes to English foodstuffs, I can hear Italians asking, "Just what is white vinegar?" Even if white vinegar is a given in your household, you might not even know. I didn't until I came to Italy, and had to try to track it down in the "exotic" food stores in town (white vinegar as an exotic food, still makes me chuckle).

Think grappa gone sour: distilled grain and water resulting in a perfectly transparent vinegar. In the international food stores in Milan, you might find it in various concentrations; 5% is the standard, but to me it tastes a bit stronger than typical Italian red vinegar, so be parsimonious, at least the first times you use it.

It can be used just like you use Italian vinegars, but since it only is tangy, but really doesn't add any flavor of its own, it doesn't alter the taste of food, as all the Italian vinegars do, it just adds a pleasant bite.

Furthermore, since vinegar is acidic and anti-limestone, it’s a very effective and inexpensive cleaner, for example, for the interior of your fridge.

I miss the Heinz brand, if only I could find it in Milan….

Just a closing reminder that I get no kickbacks of any kind for mentioning products.

Hey, if you're an international food store person in Milan, and are curious about all the products that I miss, and that might be interesting to the Anglo-Saxon crowd in town, just drop me a comment. I'd be happy to send you my annotated list. Really, I have an annotated list.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Incredible India!

Believe it.

The tagline for India's national tourism pretty much sums it up for me.

A fascinating mix of...More...

...ploughing with oxen and a wooden plow while wearing a loincloth and talking on a cell phone,

...palm leaf huts with satellite dishes,

...little dusty dirty feet on spindly young legs topped by a tidy school uniform worn inside an unpaved roadside village's spotless cheerily painted classroom without a stick of furniture, but strung with children's proud drawings and with a blackboard covered with local and English writing,

...filth and refuse carpeting river banks and filling streets next to spotless sidewalks swept continuously with a handful of twigs forcing the sweeper to bend in half at the waist,

...brilliant colors and drab and dusty grays and browns,

...magnificent ancient temples and palaces and crumbling, moldy, paint-peeling stretches of post-WWII buildings,

but most of all what echoes and re-echoes and re-echoes in my heart...

...the ubiquitous open-souled eyes connecting warmly soul-to-soul even in a glance and the occasional hostile glares.

I've almost finished getting my pictures in order.

I can't wait to go back.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Telethon "Walk of Life," April 27, 9AM-noonish

We've just survived two marathons, and now here comes the Telethon "Walk of Life."

Super cause, but a big pain in the...More...

...neck, public transportation-wise.

Forget moving around anywhere in the areas of downtown Milan and past the castle into Corso Sempione from 9 A.M. until about noon.

Get to the castle park early with the kids, cheer on the walkers and enjoy Parco Sempione's greenery and kiddie park.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Like freebies? Head for civic museums in Milan from April 8th to the 13th

Getting foreign journalists and visitors to love Milan (as they both senses of this phrase) has been made easier, again: another round of freebies entry to civic museums for the week of the city's famous furniture trade fair from the 8th to the 13th of April at the Rho-Pero Fiera convention center site just outside of town. (Taking the metro? Don't forget to get the round-trip ticket with the supplement!)

Participating museums are:...More......

Museo del Novecento (dedicated to modern art of the 20th century; web site in English)

Museo della Storia Naturale (minerals, dioramas, stuffed animals, informative didactics,...; web site only in Italian)

Musei del Castello Sforzesco (the variegated museums in the city's lovely castle, including the collection of historial things Milanese and the ancient Celtic and Egyptian collections; web site in English)

Palazzo Morando (fascinating glimpses of the Milan of yesteryear seen in period paintings; the rooms are punctuated with displays of period dress; web site only in Italian) (hmmmm...I was sure that I had done a blog post on this museum, already, but I can't find it, so I should put it on the top of the "To Do" list)

Acquario civico (refurbished a few short years ago, the acquarium, similar to Goldilock's bowl of porridge, is "just right"...neither too big to bore non-enthusiasts, nor too small to bore fans...and there's a fun tub-tunnel...hmmm, I see that I need to do an individual post on this museum, too, but for a general look see this post)

GAM-Galleria d'arte moderna (go here for your 19th century art background before you head off to see the modern stuff...not so interested in 19th century art? GO ANYWAY...the early 19th century palazzo is gorgeous...stay out of the park in the back,'s reserved for families with young children; web site only in Italian; yet another museum to add to the "To Do" list, apparently)

Museo del Risorgimento (dedicated to the peninsula's finally successful attempt to become a single independent nation, it also has other delightful surprises: the coronation robe Napoleon wore in Milan's Duomo, the bell cracked by hammering during the 1848 insurrection, paintings whose content can surprise and move...; web site only in Italian ... and yet another museum to add to my "To Do" list)

For another source of official times, places and directions, here's the link to a list in through to find the ones listed above...the city's site is horribly depressingly black and hard to read the type is so small, but at least it's in English.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Not another public transportation strike...yes, I'm afraid so

Well, you can tell that things are heating up for Expo2015 by the frequency of the strikes, or the threatened strikes.

I'm really sorry to have this news to give you, but it's better to know it, than not.

Tomorrow, at least in Milan, there will be a public transportation strike from 6 P.M. to 10 P.M.

At least it will last only 4 hours.
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