BRUSCHETTA

Called Roman Garlic Bread by the Italian cooking authority, Marcella Hazan, bruschettahas become ubiquitous on dinner menus as a "starter".   It has been adopted as an American food and is as widely available as pizza, although much more often mispelled and mispronounced.

Americans have never gotten the hang of the apparent Italian reversal of hard and soft 'c' sounds and so they put a soft 'sh' in my name, Chiaravalloti, and in
bruschetta.    Both my name and the appetizer are prounounced with a hard K sound.   "Brew sket ta" and "key are a", respectively.  Since many Americans can't help but mispronounce bruschetta,  a good many menus have begun to mispell it to match. Brush-etta is one I have seen more than once, leaving no doubt that the customer and serving staff don't say "brew sketta".  That linguistic battle is probably lost and the final triumph will probably come when Tuscan waiters ask Americans if they would like an order of "brush-etta" instead of the once traditional "grissini", which are now made soft and given away with pizza (can I serve you a roll and butter with that sandwich?).  They will continue to pronounce it properly when waiting on Germans and Italians (they can tell the difference). The better dressed foreigner is probably German and will be greeted with a Guten Tag or even a Grüss Gott.

Bruschetta is grilled bread, usually rubbed while still hot with a split clove of garlic, drizzeled with a top quality olive oil, and sprinkled with a bit of coarse salt.  "Toppings" seem to be an American addition, and anything more that some chopped ripe tomatoes with a little basil is suspect.  Which brings me to the point of this screed:

My latest issue of the Penzey's Spice Catalog (I use their spices myself, and have the highest respect for their integrity, quality, and freshness) included a recipe for bruschetta in which the topping had become the thing topped!  The recipe was not for how to grill the bread, rub it with garlic, and drizzle it with oil.  The recipe was for "toppings".   Then it said to take some bread and dip it in the bruschetta or to spoon some of the bruschetta over the bread.   That's kind of like dipping your coffee in your doughnut! They've got the whole thing backwards! Bruschetta, mispronounced, or not, has become a variety of salsa!

As Marcella said so well, Italians may not all know how to cook, but they all know how to eat.  Sometimes, sad to say, Americans seem to have forgotten both things.

Here is a good recipe: http://www.ivillage.com/food/recipefinder/recipe/0,13485,387191,00.html

And again: http://www.linketto.it/recipes_00.html