Posted by: lisetta | June 17, 2008

Springtime Contorno

In traditional Italian meals, the contorno is the cooked vegetable served after, or with, the secondo, or meat course. It’s typically something simple, like braised endives or fennel, or sauteed greens. While I rarely make multi-course Italian meals when I eat alone, I almost always make a contorno, even if there’s no actual primo or secondo preceding it. Here was tonight’s version:

Farmer’s market snow peas, young zucchini and Vidalia onions sauteed in some olive oil. How simple is that? I was too lazy to bother zesting a lemon or chopping some herbs, but imagine that parsley or basil would go nicely.

Observing the incremental changes in texture, color and smell of the onions as they caramelized helped center my thoughts this evening. All day long, I participated in back-to-back meetings with fascinating people/projects. In today’s leadership forum, for example, our discussions focused on transitions and change management through both a case study from our university and readings from Managing Transitions. The author, William Bridges, posits three phases of transition: Ending – Losing- Letting Go, the Neutral Zone, and the New Beginning. Thinking about these phases in the context of organizational change was interesting, but I kept finding my thoughts leaning towards thinking about managing transitions in my personal life: coming back to my very small world after having just spent two and a half weeks in Europe is tricky, especially since key people in my social network have left town. Becky and Dickson’s departure was tempered by Dave’s presence. Dave’s departure is tempered, thankfully, by surprise visits from friends: Eric et al from DC last week, Missy from South Dakota this week.  Looks like I’ll need to accontentarmi (make myself happy) with residing in the neutral zone (“an in-between time when the old is gone and the new isn’t fully operational….when the critical psychological realignments and repatternings take place”.) What any of this has to do with food, I’m not sure….just got caught up in the freewriting!




  1. Lisetta, thanks for your comment on my blog. I went to La Cucina al Focolare in the Val d’Arno and want to accontentarmi myself, trying to get to Italy any time I can!
    I’m going to read your post on Santa Cristina.

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