Italian Home Food

It's no secret that home cooking is different than restaurant cooking, especially in touristy places like Rome. As a tourist, there's often no opportunity to experience a traditional home-cooked meal unless you're lucky enough to know or befriend a local.

At the same time, Italians, always fearful of loosing their culinary heritage, are worried about losing home recipes. With more and more people buying convenience foods, fewer at-home wives, and restaurants catering to the international crowd, home recipes are being forgotten.

Enter The Home Food Association of Italy, which tries to give more people access to regional home-cooked food. Lucky for us, they just opened up membership to tourists. For a small membership fee (4 euros) and the cost of dinner (30-40 euros/person), we joined 6 other people for a home-cooked meal at the private home of a real Italian. ;-)

We weren't sure what to expect. The day before dinner, we received the address... a home on Via Condotti. D was excited because Via Condotti is one of the fanciest shopping streets in Rome, and probably some of the priciest and most difficult real estate in the world to obtain. We set off on foot an hour before dinner. D knows all the shopping streets by heart, so we didn't need a map. As we climbed the five flights of stairs to the home, we could hear the other guests ahead of us being greeted. We were in good company. Thanks to a recent blurb in Gourmet magazine (where we learned of this), the other guests were all either bilingual or English speaking. The other guests included a Brit working as a tour guide in Rome, a local writer for Gourmet, a couple from Arizona, and a member of the Homefood association.

We were greeted with a table packed with appetizers. Several of the dishes were outstanding. For dinner, there was broccoli soup, artichokes, lamb prepared 2 ways, fresh strawberries soaked in sweet wine, and chocolate cake.

The apartment itself was amazing. It had been in their family for three generations. The walls were covered with art. Can you imagine not moving a picture on the wall because it's been there since your mom was a child? There were framed christening gowns that were clearly antique. Every surface was covered with knickknacks and photos. Our hosts were both accomplished. She was a neo-natalogist and a professor at the University of Rome. He was a lawyer. And both were very much into food. They told us lots about different regional products, recipes, etc.

Thinking about it afterwards, we realized that while the meal was delicious, it was the experience of meeting a family, being in a typical home, and eating typical food that made it memorable.

 Subscribe to our feed

Subscribe by email: