Cicheti/Cicchetti (1988); Veal Oscar (1958)

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Sun May 23 05:35:18 UTC 2004


CICHETI + VENICE--302 Google hits, 12 Google groups hits
CICCHETTI + VENICE--340 Google hits, 24 Google Groups hits

(ADS-L post, 24 July 2003)
   I hope you're sitting down.  This is going to shock you.
   "Cicchetti" is not in the OED!

   Today's NEW YORK TIMES (Travel Section) spells it "cicheti."  Today's NYT travel section also has Greek cooking.  Today's NYT city section has an article about 6th Street's Little India restaurants.  All writing nowadays seems to be about food.
   Notice "cicheterre" in today's article and "cicheteria" in the 1988 WASHINGTON POST article.
   Notice also that there are _no_ hits for "cicheti" in the NY Times in Proquest Historical Newspapers, but there are three hits for "cicchetti"--the more popular spelling.  "Cicheti" possibly gets such space in today's paper (more than you-know-what) because the travel editor can't check that it's been done before.

This is the only city in the world that lays claim to cicheti, the bite-sized brethren of tapas, and ombre, the traditionally tiny glasses that hold about a gulpful of local wine. Venice's uniquely pedestrian nature gave rise to these miniature, impromptu meals, which residents toss back in number each day without getting either tipsy or full. More than a slice of grilled polenta with a swig of house Soave, cicheti e ombre is a down-to-earth mode of eating and drinking that has been at the center of the city's social life for centuries.

But like many local traditions, this one ran the risk of disappearing over the past few decades, when many of Venice's venerable cichettere, or casual places to eat, started serving more mainstream, tourist-friendly fare.
"It's hard to say why, but cicheti has definitely been changing," says Andrea Varisco, chef-owner of one of Venice's hottest new spots. Three years ago, he lovingly restored this historic two-story building, which sits just east of the Rialto Bridge on the bank of the Grand Canal in San Polo, and offers a stunning view.

"People are returning to the tradition of cicheti, but they're updating recipes and rediscovering old ingredients in new ways," he said, explaining that he often prepares cicheti with Slow Food's presidia, using ingredients selected by the international food-politics organization as endangered foods or traditions. The polenta, the cheeses and most of the cured meats he uses come from small producers who make food the old-fashioned way.

   Venice, City of Snacks; Littie Somethins to Eat and Drink WAYS & MEANS
Judith Keller Special to The Washington Post. The Washington Post (1974-Current file). Washington, D.C.: Mar 20, 1988. p. E8 (1 page):
   Called _cicheti_ in Venetian dialect (pronounced cheek-etee), these delicious snacks are something like _tapas_, those tasty hors d'oeuvres served in Spanish bars.
   For _cicheti_ you go to the traditional _osteria_ (neighborhood bar/restaurant) or _bottigleria_, where wine is served from a bottle or a cask.  Almost all offer hard-boiled eggs (seasoned with olive oil and pepper), anchovies, olives and grilled vegetables--zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and tiny onions.  They also make up sandwiches with local cheese, hams and salamis.
   Venetians are divided on the origin of the word _cicheto_.  Some say it comes from _cichino_, meaning a little thing, or _cich3etina_, a little bit.  Others insist it's from _cicar_, to chew tobacco, and _cica_, a cigar or cigarette stub, referring to the days when the poor picked up stubs and wadded up the tobacco for chewing.  Whatever the origin, _cicheti_ are found in every neighborhood and each "cicheteria" has its own character and specialties.

   Sipping and Snacking at Cozy Taverns; Taverns
By LOUIS INTURRISI. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Oct 7, 1990. p. XX12 (2 pages)
First page:  The bancone is a banquette or bar at the entrance displaying appetizers called cicchetti, the Venetian equivalent of Spain's tapas (breaded, deep-fried fish or vegetables; squares of polenta topped with anchovies or asparagus; sauteed pickled onions or eggplant; roasted baby squid; mozzarella balls; steamed baby artichokes; prosciuttio wrapped around cheese).

   Snacks and one big banquet
New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Oct 31, 1999. p. TR24 (1 page)

   The Siren Charms of Venice
By DAISANN McLANE. New York Times (1857-Current file). New York, N.Y.: Oct 31, 1999. p. TR6 (2 pages)


   I re-checked (I'd found 1967), and the LOS ANGELES TIMES and Newspaperarchive have earlier for "Veal Oscar."

   1. Some Goof Off, but Many, Luckily, Care; JOAN WINCHELL
JOAN WINCHELL. Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File). Los Angeles, Calif.: Jun 10, 1958. p. A1 (2 pages)
Second page (Pg. 4, col. 1):  CONTINUING on the caring-pays-off theme, we dined late at Scandia's on the Strip.  For 12 years now, Copenhagen-born Ken Hansen has been turning away more people than he feeds.  We found out why on testing his smoked salmon, veal Oscar and crepe trivoli.

   2. A Culinary Cook's Tour
JOAN WINCHELL. Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File). Los Angeles, Calif.: May 5, 1960. p. A3 (2 pages)
Second page (Pg. 4, col. 1):  Hunt dinners at the Fox & Hounds in Santa Monica.  (They say their Veal Oscar is as superb as Scandia's, which is always super superb.)

Nevada State Journal - 11/5/1958
...Almonds Potato and Lemon Butter VEAL OSCAR .4.25 Filet of VEAL topped with..
Reno, Nevada   Wednesday, November 05, 1958  565 k

Valley News - 9/1/1967
...Leon's Boulevard Room, noted for its VEAL OSCAR Tip for the confused: Lee's.....dinners rather than liver and onions, VEAL cutlets or ham steaks. At the..
Van Nuys, California   Friday, September 01, 1967  619 k

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