The Vast Tradition of Italian Cooking

One of the best things about living in America is all of the different food options. Even in the most suburban areas of the Midwestern states, you can find Thai, Brazilian, Mexican, Greek, Mongolian barbecue, and, of course, Italian food. Unfortunately, a lot of times when you try this foreign fare, you’re not getting the authentic experience. Many world cuisines become “Americanized” when restaurateurs set up shop, so as not to scare away any potential customers. However, you can still find authentic foreign food if you look hard enough. Even something as ubiquitous in America as Italian cuisine has its more traditional places, like Calabria’s Restaurant.  

 

Traditions of Italian Cooking 

 

When Americans think of Italian cooking, they tend to gravitate toward the stereotypes: pizza, of course, is a given. You also have the countless images in American media of jovial, mustachioed men in chef’s hats singing loudly as they bring you a plate of what else but some kind of pasta piled high on the plate and smothered in the expected red sauce. Perhaps lasagna comes to mind when you think of Italian food. The point is that while these three types of dish are certainly of the Italian canon of cuisine–and are definitely delicious–they merely scratch the surface of the vast tradition that is Italian cooking. Italy, you must remember, is a peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea – so named because, at that time, it was literally in the middle of the known world. Moreover, you have Rome, which was essentially the capital of the known world, the New York or London of its day. A vast empire, located in the middle of the known world, which stretches from country to country and culture to culture is going to see a lot of different cooking traditions from its diverse roster of citizens. Italian cooking today has descended from the convergence of all of these different styles. Each region has its own style of cooking, influenced by the type of agriculture found in that region and the area’s own cross-cultural influences. For example, the north of Italy is considered prime cattle country. As a result, you see a lot of butter-based sauces or cream sauces in places like Milan and Turin. Proximity to France has no doubt been an influence in that regard as well. In the south of Italy–places like Sicily and Napoli–temperatures are warmer and are better for the cultivation of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. Olive oil is a big deal in the south, as well as fish, given that the area is right at the tip of the boot-shaped peninsula. For each different region of Italy, there are hundreds of different dishes, each one unique and each one delicious. 

 

Try It All

 

If you think you love Italian cuisine based on the dishes you’ve already tasted, wait until you sample the menu at a place that can honestly offer authentic Italian food, such as Calabria’s Restaurant. Whether you’re in the mood for grilled fish, a hearty lasagna, or a risotto Milanese, an Italian restaurant which focuses its energy on authenticity will be able to provide you a sort of gustatory passport to the “The Boot.” Try an old favorite or try something new. With authentic Italian food, it’s a safe bet that you’ll enjoy everything on the menu. 

Things to Know about Catering and Planning an Event

Putting on a great event takes a lot of planning and organizing. You will need to decide when, where, and what the food and program will be. Whether you are planning a wedding reception, corporate meeting, fundraising gala, or any other kind of big event, you will want to be sure that the venue and catering in St. Louis are appropriate for your kind of event and for the guests who will be attending.

Know Your Guests

Knowing your guests is an important part of event planning. If your event is corporate related, be aware that professionals attend many of these events during the year and you want your event to be memorable, particularly if you are planning the event as a fundraiser. You need to stand out. In order to do that you need to consider several different things. Be sure that you know the professional level of your guests. Are these top executives or more entry-level workers? How often do your guests attend similar events throughout the year? Where do most of your guests live? Will they be traveling in from out of town or do they live locally? You might also want to consider the ethnic and cultural background of your guests in order to plan entertainment and programs as well as the food that you will be providing.

Choosing the Menu

Catering is a huge part of event planning. It can be daunting to decide what you will be serving. Knowing your guests will help. It is wise to offer your guests some choices; that way you are more likely to please everyone. Try to offer at least two entree choices, but three is better if that is a possibility. Be sure there are options for the salad dressing, and serve the condiments on the side. When choosing desserts, try to have more than one option. It is a good idea to have a rich indulgent dessert and one that is lighter and healthier. Think about the time of year for your event as well. Choose menu items that are in season as they will taste fresher and be seasonally appropriate. You might also want to consider if there are vegans or vegetarians attending the event and how many there might be. If there will be many, consider having a vegetarian entree. Another possible option for catering is to choose a buffet option, giving your guests an even larger variety of choices.

Room Setup

Be sure that you are aware of the purpose for the event. The number of guests and the purpose of the event will change where you want to hold the event and how you want the room set up. If this is a small meeting with no more than 15 guests, you might want a boardroom setup. If there is going to be discussion during the meeting, consider having a u-shaped or rectangular setup with large tables. If the event focuses around a presentation, a classroom style setup is often the best way to go. You want everyone to be facing the presenter. Also be sure that there is room enough for food if you are serving it, and any other materials that guests might need. For smaller group discussions, a banquet style setup might be best. For large receptions and fundraisers, banquet style is usually used. It works particularly well for receptions where guests will come and go during the course of the night.

Presentation

Lastly, you want to consider the overall presentation of your event. Food that looks appetizing is more likely to taste appetizing as well. Think about the purpose of the event. Do you need to have centerpieces for the tables? Is there a theme that you will be focusing on? If guests are serving themselves, are the food and drinks easily accessible? Take the time to look for catering in St. Louis that will fit your needs.

Benefits of Hiring a Catering Service

Worrying about food while also worrying about throwing an awesome party, is not a healthy way to go about things. The food that is offered at a party or event is a key component in making people feel comfortable and relaxed. Having to break an important meeting for lunch is a great way to stop any momentum that you have created with the decisions that you are making. Having to be stuck in the kitchen during a big celebration for your husband is not a very enjoyable way to spend the evening. With a catering service like Romano’s Catering, however, you would be able to continue with your important meeting or spend the wonderful evening with your husband and all of your friends and family.

With a catering company you can choose from several service options. You can have the company bring the prepared food to your location and drop everything off. The preparation and cooking of the food is already completed and all that you have to do is serve it to your guests. You can also hire the catering service to bring the food, set up any buffet, serve the food, tend bar, and even take care of all the cleanup required. You will be paying more for the second option, but the entire process will be taken care of.

Make sure to let the catering service know what type of event they will be cooking for. They will need to know the number of people who will be eating, whether the event is a casual one or a very formal one, what your budget is, and what type of services you want. The catering company will be able to supply any additional linens that you may need, as well as tables and chairs that you may need for your guests. Catering companies like Romano’s Catering, want to make your party or event as enjoyable as possible, so don’t hesitate to ask for all the things that you need.

Manufactured Ice Can Get Rid of Pests

Other than making homemade root beer, witch’s brew for Halloween, or in a chemistry class, you probably haven’t seen dry ice in action much. This ice actually has a lot of uses that you may not know about. One of these uses is in safely getting rid of pests in your home or other affected areas. So read on to find out how you can make the most out of your manufactured ice in Los Angeles to get rid of pests. 

 

Tunneling Pests

In many climates where the soil is a bit softer and the the temperatures are mild, gophers and moles seem to run rampant through everyone’s yard. There is no way to prevent these rodents from making a home in your ground, and there is nothing that particularly attracts them to your yard specifically except maybe a good supply of grubs. 

This being said, you will still have to eradicate them from your yard from time to time unless you want your beautiful grass to turn into dozens of dirt piles. Especially if you have young children around, you may not want to use any strong chemicals to get rid of these pests, and other methods of using shovels to kill the moles seem overly gruesome. This is why dry ice is the perfect alternative.

This method is extremely simple and affective. All you have to do is push a couple of dry ice pellets as far down in each mole hill as you can go. If you miss a hole, you may have to re-do the process. This will replace all the oxygen with carbon dioxide and your mole or gopher issue will be over. 

This method has also had success when using it on regular ants. It may work on other tunneling insects that make their homes in your yard like fire ants or termites. 

 

Wood Insects

Another pest that this method of fumigating has worked on is powder-post beetles. These beetles like to make their homes in furniture or different areas of wood. They can be damaging to the wood, but you mostly don’t want the bugs in your living space. 

If you find that your furniture has been infected by these pests, you can put several pieces of dry ice within the piece of furniture or around it. Then you will need to put it in an enclosed space. If the furniture is small enough to go into a freezer or refrigerator, then that is the ideal method. However, if it is much bigger than that, seal off the piece of furniture with plastic. Make sure there are no holes that the air can escape from. You are essentially suffocating the bugs by replacing the oxygen with carbon dioxide just like with the moles. 

 

Food Storage

This method is also great for protecting food storage. Place some pellets in the bottom of a food storage container. Do not seal the lid for a few hours. Then seal the lid and the dry ice will fumigate your food storage without harming your food or putting chemicals into it. This works well with all grains and flours as well as many other dry food storage. Who would have guessed that manufactured ice in Los Angeles could be so useful?

The Best Last-Minute Gift Ideas

There is nothing more frightening than realizing you have no time to shop for a gift for someone special in your life. Fortunately, certain companies, such as Cookies by Design delivery, specialize in last-minute gifts and can deliver a present or gift basket on the very same day.

Gift Baskets

Gift baskets are already wrapped and beautifully presented for you. They tend to offer an incredible value and you can be sure that your loved one can find something that they like in the basket (or the basket itself). By having the gift delivered to your loved one’s work or home, you can help to make their day extra special.

Traditional Favorites

There are certain traditional favorites that virtually never fail. While they may not require a lot of thought and may not be as personal as you were hoping for, they can still come through for you in a pinch. Some of the most common last-minute favorites include the following:

  • Chocolates
  • Flowers
  • Jewelry
  • Gift cards
  • Wine or champagne
  • Candles
  • Picture frames
Even if you are choosing a traditional favorite, make sure to put some thought into it. For instance, if you know their favorite flower, chocolate, food, retail store, or wine, make sure that they know it based on the gift that you give them.

Look for Specials

Just because you are purchasing your gift last minute doesn’t mean you should have to spend a fortune. Make sure to keep your eye on the prices and look for any specials. Large holidays, such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, or Christmas, can lead to higher prices and fewer available delivery times. The sooner you are able to begin shopping, the better.

You may also look for gifts or baskets that are specifically dedicated to the time of year or event for the best deal possible. For more information on the options available to you, call Cookies by Design delivery or your retailer of choice to find the perfect gift for your loved one.

Don’t Let Anxiety Hold You Back

Anxiety is a debilitating disorder for people all around the world. It can show up at the most inconvenient times and take all the joy and excitement out of life.

For many people depression is a companion disorder to anxiety and it’s not too hard to see why. It is quite discouraging to know that you are thinking, feeling, and acting differently than you have in the past, especially if you feel like this is a permanent condition. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be.

There is Hope

The best thing you can do for yourself if you are suffering from an emotional disorder is to not give up hope. Recognize that there is still room for change and healing.

There are many therapies available that have proven very beneficial for people who want to overcome emotional disorders. The key to success is your belief that you can overcome this trial that you are going through. You have the ability to create your future, especially if you have a little bit of extra help.

Take Time for You

There is something to be said for taking time out away from all of the stress in life to really take care of you. Most people could greatly benefit from some quiet time to really get in touch with their own minds and bodies.

Yoga and meditation are great ways to slow down and really focus on you. Many people have also benefited from the therapy benefits of using the emotional freedom technique of tapping as a way to release negative energy and tap into what their bodies and minds really need to heal.

Keep yourself Strong

It is amazing how much the strength of our physical bodies can affect the strength of our emotions. Participating in regular physical exercise is very therapeutic, and as your physical body becomes stronger you will feel an increase of emotional strength as well.

It is also important to eat a healthy diet. Prove that you really value your body by filling it with nutrients that will make it strong instead of binging on unhealthy foods that will inevitably make the body weak.

Bright New Future

Your future begins right now. Don’t let anxiety and depression hold you back. Create the bright new future that you deserve, because you are of great value and you truly do deserve it.

Meat Boxes and Gourmet Cheeses Make Great Gifts

Have you ever had a friend or family member that was almost impossible to choose gifts for? When birthdays come around you want to give people gifts that they they will enjoy, but sometimes it is hard to know what they really want. You want to show them how much you care, but the process of choosing their gifts can be quite maddening.

In these cases, sometimes the best thing you can do is wrap up some delicious treats. If you want to make sure that your friends know that you really put some thought and effort into their gifts, you might want to go for something a little nicer than a bag of candy out of the bulk section at the grocery store.

Instead, think in the direction of gourmet meat boxes in Columbus or fancy cheeses that you wouldn’t normally find at your grocery store’s deli.

A Touch of Class

There are a lot of companies that sell fancy gift boxes of fancy meats, cheeses, crackers, and a variety of other tasty delicacies. They are classy enough to let your loved ones know that you really thought the gift through. These are perfect for that friend or family member that is a little bit hard to please.

Since these meats and cheeses come in really attractive packaging, they will really make a strong impression on their recipients. Your friends will know that this isn’t just any package of meat and cheese. It really looks like it has an extra touch of class.

These gifts also prove to be absolutely delicious. Each little morsel tantalizes the taste buds. You will be tempted to sneak a few bites yourself before you even give the package away.

It is likely that you and your friends will want to scarf down the whole gift as soon as it is opened up, but something that impressive seems like it should be rationed over time so that it can be savored and enjoyed for days and weeks to come.

Mission Accomplished

It can be completely mind boggling trying to come up with perfect gifts for those people in your life that prove to be a bit hard to please. That is why it is such a relief to find a perfect gift idea that can be enjoyed by all.

The great thing about giving people meat boxes in Columbus is that it can help simplify the gift giving process in the future too. In many cases people that receive these meat boxes once crave them again and again. It is likely that you will never have to choose another type of gift again.

The Advantages of Using a Grocery Delivery Service

The call of the stomach at mealtime is a loud one that can’t be denied, which means that the call of grocery shopping will be just as loud when the fridge is empty. However, not everyone enjoys taking the time to create a list of food and driving to the store to get the needed food. So for anyone who has too busy of a schedule to do grocery shopping on a regular basis might benefit from grocery delivery in Santa Monica. When you employ the services of grocery delivery, you might feel guilty about taking the easy way out of the chore, but your hectic life will thank you later.

Saves Time

The convenience of grocery delivery would be helpful to any on-the-go parent who struggles with balancing work and family life. After all, buying your groceries is as simple as a click with the mouse or a quick telephone call to let the supplier know what you want. A grocery delivery system will cut out the temptation of buying items that you don’t need on a whim, which saves time because you won’t have to sit and agonize over the choice. You also don’t have to waste gas on going back and forth from the store, depending on how far away the store is located. This will in turn help you stick to your budget better and save that money spent on food and gas for other things that you do need. Most grocery delivery services will have a delivery route that will give you an idea of how long the delivery truck will take to get to your house.

Organization

When you go to shop for groceries you need to be organized and frugal in order to keep your budget balanced. As you scour the websites of your choice, you can see what’s available for when you start putting your grocery list together. You will be able to compare prices of food from different websites to see, which is the better deal. Another benefit is that most food stores that offer grocery delivery in Santa Monica, will also offer coupons online. These coupons will help reduce the cost of the food which in turn will help reduce the cost of the delivery. Some of the more friendly food delivery services may even offer to help you put your groceries away rather than simply just dropping the food off at your house.

How to Find Premium Catering Companies

Food is a huge part of any event. From weddings to birthdays, it is important that guests are well fed and that there is enough of everything to go around. Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, you’ll have different needs. Clearly, a 30th birthday with a Phantom of the Opera Theme will have a different set up and serve different foods than a four year old’s carnival party. Before you begin looking for a Columbus catering firm, it is advisable to have an idea what you want. Without some sort of direction, all the choices you will encounter could set your head spinning. 

 

Do Your Homework

Some information you need when you begin your quest for a caterer is the number of guests attending and your budget. Be aware that the smaller your budget, the smaller your offerings. A party on a tight budget may want to opt for a dessert bar or hors d’oeuvres instead of a full buffet or a sit down meal. Be prepared to ask the caterer for creative ideas that will fit within your budget. 

If you don’t already have a caterer in mind, there are a few places you can go for reliable referrals including your party planner, friends and family, event centers, and other party vendors. Of course, asking a favorite restaurant if they cater is a great way to ensure that you will enjoy the food. Any caterer worth his or her salt will have a list of references for you. Use them! Call people who have worked with this caterer and ask them about the demeanor of the staff, the quality of the food, and whether the service was efficient. People will usually be honest about their experiences and tell you if it will be worth your money.

 

Be a Tough Boss

After doing your homework on the catering company, you will want to meet with them to taste the food. Treat this like any other job interview. Make it clear that you want a tasting to be part of the interview as well as a sample menu for your event. When it comes to price, make sure the caterer has a definitive price per person. If they start using words like, “about” and “around” try to nail them down or walk away. A good columbus catering company will be able to give you exact prices per person for any given service and presentation style.

Recognizing and Managing Stress in Your Life

Everyone deals with stress on a daily basis. It can come from an unreasonable boss at work, a child who’s acting up, a lack of sleep, or all of the above. Some days it might feel like you’ll never get out of a bad situation, and this overwhelmed feeling can lead you into deeper problems like anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that stress can have an extremely negative impact on your health and well-being, no matter what caused it in the first place. Since it’s impossible to avoid stressful situations altogether, the goal is to learn to recognize signs of stress and manage them so that you can continue to live a normal, healthy life. Websites like heartmathstore.com offer products to help you learn to identify signs of stress and offer ways to help you cope.

 

Signs of Stress

Stress affects different people in different ways, and you may notice one sign or a combination of several. It can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint stress as the culprit when you’re not feeling well, since many of these signs are subtle and may be mistaken for other illnesses. Other people might tell you you’re just “having a bad day.” It’s important not to listen to this kind of talk—stress is a very real medical condition, and just because they may react differently to a stressful situation doesn’t give them the right to judge how your body handles it. One of the most common first signs of stress in many people is an inability to clear or focus their mind, which can cause problems like headaches and insomnia. Tension building up in your body can lead to aches and pains, especially a stiff neck and shoulders. You may also experience gastrointestinal problems, which are frequently caused by long-term stress. As mentioned earlier, it’s very easy to mistake any of these symptoms for another problem or overlook them entirely; the only real way to tell it’s stress is by examining your lifestyle and determining that for yourself.

 

Managing Stress

Once you’ve recognized that you’re suffering from stress, there are plenty of ways you can combat its effects on your body. It’s important not to just ignore it and hope it goes away, because over a long period of time, stress will eventually compromise your body’s immune system and ability to fend off disease. You can talk with your doctor if you’re concerned about long-term effects, but many people are able to fight stress with positive habits and the support of family and friends. Many people are able to feel a difference just by making small lifestyle changes, like learning to schedule their time effectively. Other people benefit greatly from exercise and fresh air, which are great tools to help clear your head and keep in shape at the same time. Finding a hobby you enjoy and spending time with close friends can also help give you the emotional outlet you need to combat stress. Recently, researchers have begun coming up with inventive new ways to monitor stress in your life and learn to combat it before it grows out of control. Websites like heartmathstore.com offer products designed to monitor your heart rate or blood pressure, which are good indications of your stress level. This in turn allows you to recognize that you’re feeling stressed and find some way of relieving your tension.