What a Recipe Name Reveals about Dignity and Fine Dining


I am excited for this evening. It’s my barn’s holiday party and there’s much fun ahead –   from seeing my fellow equestrians trade-in their jeans and boots for holiday attire to enjoying ourselves by the fireplace as winter sets in and clips our time together on the trials.  Frankly, I am also looking forward to the fare.  A happy pescetarian, I pre-ordered the “scrod puttanesca.”  And when I did, the root of “puttanesca” jumped out at me as “puttana” in the vernacular Italian means “prostitute.”  Curious, I looked up the origins of the recipe to see if this is a coincidence or if there is a connection between prostitution and my meal tonight.  Turns out, there is.

Apparently, “puttanesca sauce” was developed by Italian prostitutes who wanted a fast-cooking and spicy gravy to complement the mild-flavored fish they prepared and ate in the little time they had between clients.  I love this.  I have always attributed my zest for fine food and commitment to eating well to the Mediterranean dimension of my heritage.  My Italian relatives respected meals and celebrated food as do I and as do my daughters.  However busy we are, we make time to prepare our food.  Three meals a day – each made with fresh ingredients.  I even laugh at myself as I write this and reflect on my breakfast today.  As the sun was rising and the coffee brewing, I was chopping Vidalia onions and roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella for my omelette.  Eggs, a dash of grated Locatelli cheese, fresh-cracked pepper, some ribboned basil and there I have it – today or any other day of the work week.  And as I flipped it onto to my dish, I smiled nostalgically thinking of my late grandfather, Phillip, who never, ever ate on paper or plastic.  In my grandparents’ home, meals were plated – period.  That’s the dignity in dining that makes you a life – whatever you do for a living.

Lisa Bernard has prepared and represented people from all walks of life to speak publicly at meetings, on panels, in their places of worship and as keynoters. She herself has addressed audiences as large as 2000 and designed and delivered over 500 workshops, seminars and college-level courses on oral communication.  She has slowed down fast-talkers, turned “uhmers” into smooth-speakers and moderated accents from Brooklyn to Beijing – all to develop confident communicators.  Lisa has a Masters Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University and today manages Lisa Bernard’s SecuritySpeak, LLC, a consulting firm that makes available experts on national, global and cyber-security for distinguished lectures worldwide.  You can reach her at (203) 293-4741 or LisaBernard@SecuritySpeak.net and like her firm at www.Facebook.com/PodiumTime.


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