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Music to your ears? Kitchen Confidential is music to your taste buds

June 2011

The editor of The Senior Times requested a column in tune with this month’s theme, music.

With this in mind, I rummaged through some old appliance manuals, where I came across a copy of Fisher & Paykel’s rarely performed Kitchen Confidential in the key of C Diminished.

Synopsis: A food writer’s plans to renovate his kitchen fail when his 30-year-old appliances refuse to stop working.

Act 1: Enter stage right, the food writer, singing the aria Un bel di vedremo, espresso (one fine day, if I only had an espresso machine).

The writer tosses ground coffee into a percolator, crying bitterly that it makes decent coffee but it doesn’t impress his friends and it also takes up space that could be used by a Nespresso automatic espresso machine. His wife comes in and sings the well-known O Mio Riciclaggio (Do we really need more crap to recycle?).

This lively banter continues until he opens the refrigerator to take out the milk and both sing the lovely duet Recondita Aroma (I know that smell, but I just can’t place it). The writer claims it is the fridge’s fault with the lively Fridgio, Fridgio, Fridgio, but his wife points out that the milk is past its best-before date. As she starts the dishwasher, the food writer exits, improvising on Puccini’s Nessun Dorma (let no one sleep, as long as that appliance is making noise).

Act 2: The curtain rises, revealing the writer hunched over a table looking at plans for a new kitchen. He is humming Si, mi chiamano Ikea (I’m so happy I went to Ikea). He looks at the toaster oven. His wife enters stage left and sees his baleful glance. She says there is nothing wrong with the toaster oven.

He softly sings the poetic Vesti la giubba (Maybe I could cut the cord). She sings the Laughing Song, later reprised in the operetta Die Fledermaus und die Küche (The Bath and the Kitchen). They exit cradling the toaster oven and singing what is now known as the Torreador song, Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre.

Act 3: The curtain rises on a kitchen that is being demolished. The writer and a carpenter enter singing a contrasting duet. The writer sings the jaunty La mia moglie (My wife is going to kill me) as the carpenter counters with O mio babbino caro (My boy, this going to cost a fortune).

The writer says he has a headache and goes to lie down. The stage goes dark while a spotlight focuses on him humming the plaintive È sembrato allora come una buona idea (It seemed like a good idea at the time) as he falls asleep. His wife enters and wakes him with the hearty Italian folk song, Napoli urrà (Why are you having a nap?). As the lights grow brighter we see that nothing has changed and that this was a dream. The curtain comes down as they sing together the oft repeated Se non è rotto (If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it).

* * *

On that note, a quick and tasty Italian appetizer. Take a slab of stale bread, ideally a length of baguette or a thick slice from a crusty country-style loaf. Cover this with alternate slices of fresh tomato and boccacini (this is fresh mozzarella formed into small bite-size balls: boccacini means small mouthfuls).

If possible, treat yourself to the more flavourful but more expensive boccacini di bufalo, sometimes called uova di bufalo (buffalo eggs), which is made from water buffalo milk. Boccacini di bufalo are usually sold one to a container as they are big and one should be enough.

Cut up a few leaves of fresh basil and sprinkle this on top. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over this. Sprinkle sea salt or kosher salt crystals on top with a couple of grinds of black pepper.

Let the dish sit for several minutes so that the flavours meld into the bread. Slice into portions that can be picked up easily.

Barry Lazar is the flavourguy.

You can reach him at



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