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December 11, 2003



It tastes like blotting paper, but you do get used to it after a while (I lived in Florence for three years - it took about six months to acclimatize). Some Tuscan bakers do a 'pane Pugliese,' which is far better if you can find it. It tastes nice, salty and light, but goes stale very quickly. And it goes down well with a spot of olive oil too.


By the by, the Noggin ain't just for preschoolers: at night it's for disaffected teenagers (or older folk who cherish the memory of being disaffected teenagers: if you liked "Heathers" or "My So-Called Life," this channel is for you). The best thing going on it is "Daria," a smart cartoon about -- you got it -- an intelligent, disaffected teenager afflicted with a brainless and popular youngeer sister. Also note the facts that a) the Noggin has no commercials for anything other than itself (as well as public service announcements), and b)all of said self-promotions and announcements are vigorously multiracial (to the extent that I've never noticed one with a non-racially mixed couple). All in all, I think it's pretty cool. You can let your daughter watch for the next 20 years or so...

Timothy Burke

Agree on Tuscan bread.

On Noggin, though, "Daria" ain't on Noggin. It's on Nickleodeon (and I think) on MTV, or at least it has been on it in the past.

Noggin is strictly preschool, it runs from 6am to 6pm (Emma does not grok why it stops at 6pm). I quite like it. It's much better than PBS back when we were wee tykes and vastly better than PBS now. Quality of programs is higher, they're less obsequiously cloying and more imaginative than most PBS fare, and there's no pledge breaks. Lots of good bumper segments too.


Ruth and Timothy, you're both right. At night, Noggin becomes "the n" and does have shows like Daria, because the whole thing is a subsidiary of Nickelodeon. They have a kinda ok show about teens with their own radio station that I've caught a few minutes of before switching to the News Hour. Mmmmm. News Hour. Don't get that in Singapore. Or ten back-to-back episodes of Law and Order on TNT. My sister and I are addicted to Law and Order.

Timothy Burke

Forgotten that "The N" is supposed to be the "teenage" name for "Noggin". They're so different in character that it's hard to think of them as the same offering.


Belle, this might be of interest.


Asking for oil for the bread is kind of like drinking from the honeybear at IHOP. But it can be done. But I love pane sciapo. Yet my absolute favorite is that yellowish sicilian bread: salty, resistant, and dense. As a 10-year roman, I also like the Roman casareccio bread, but it's not easily sandwichable. Try spreading peanut butter on that holey slice...


I lived & worked in Rome for a while & recall colleagues, born & bred Romans some of them, who weren't averse to pouring a little oil on their bread. As for me, I liked it with oil, or just with the wine. I just discovered your weblog a day or two ago & am enjoying a browse through your archives...

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