Julie Anne Rhodes
In another lifetime I was Italian. What’s not to love? Breathtaking countryside, bustling cities brimming with history and fine architecture, exquisite art, masterfully crafted jewelry, fashion to die for, let’s not even talk about how charming the men are, and my favorite food! Yes, I am Italian at heart. I look at the map, and just want to eat my way from one end of the boot and back again. Even with a diminished appetite, my mouth watered as I read one of the most prized gifts anyone has ever given me… ‘A Tuscan in the Kitchen’ by Pino Luongo, 1988.


Last October I wrote about reconnecting with my friend, Madeleine Gallay. I know her through a mutual friend … il favoloso hair and make-up artist Angelo Di Biase, who lived in her guest house. Angelo was called in to do my first ever test shots, he single-handedly convinced my parents to let me model, championed my career endlessly (see “Jewels” from The Roving Stove), came on tour with Duran Duran, and did our make-up when I married my ex. Sadly, he lost his battle with AIDS in 1995, so both Madeleine and I miss him dearly.

Madeleine Gallay

Angelo Di Biase, Julie Anne and Nick Rhodes

Madeleine came to visit me a couple weeks ago with the most elegantly (of course, she IS the definition of style… check out In New York Paris Tomorrow: ) wrapped copy of Pino Luongo’s book. She was completely unaware that Il Cantonori, the restaurant Pino owns in New York, has been one of my favorites since the early 1980’s! In my excitement over getting my hands on some of my favorite Italian recipes ever, I hastily overlooked the inscription inside the book, so she asked me to read it. “Madeleine, Happy Easter ’92, Love Angelo.” I felt as if both of my friends had come to wish me well. I was so touched that Madeleine would share such a treasure, but she insisted that Angelo would have wanted it that way. The perfect gift to boost my morale and whet my appetite again.
When I emailed Madeleine asking for a picture, and what she thought of my doing the entry, her response was “Angelo would beam, shake that leonine mane and drawl a barely intelligible dahlinggg.” She was so spot on, I could feel his presence again… “stirring people around like clouds in your coffee, meaning well and usually right.”

Julie Anne Rhodes

I will leave you with my favorite quote from the book (oh, how I relate… couldn’t have said it better myself), and my favorite Tuna recipe.

“For me, cooking is about creating magic from something very real. My experience as an actor led me to become a cook. Acting is an ephemeral art-it vanishes like smoke. But cooking is very real and lets me create something of substance from my imagination and emotions.”
Tonnaccio Al Pesto
Grilled Tuna with Marinade of Pesto & Vinaigrette
Salsa al pesto: Make as much of this as you want–it keeps well in the refrigerator for several days, and it can be frozen for as long as you need. It can be served with many dishes–with pasta, cold or warm, with fish (preceding and following recipes), veal, shellfish, chicken, or salad. It should be served at room temperature or chilled, but never cooked.
  • fresh basil
  • pignolis (pine nuts)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper
Separate the basil leaves from the stems, discard the stems, and wash the leaves. Grind the basil and the pignolis nuts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slowly pour in olive oil, mixing the sauce as you do so, until it reaches the consistency of mud.

Tuna:
  • pesto sauce
  • red wine vinegar
  • fresh tomatoes, diced
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • tuna steaks, cut at least 1 inch thick
  • lemons, cut in half
To make sauce, combine equal amounts of pesto and vinegar with 3 times the quantity of tomatoes. Add salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste. Mix well and set aside.

Wet the tuna with olive oil on both sides and broil or grill it over hot coals until rare. Cut in thin slices and spread sauce over the top. Serve with lemon halves on the side.
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  • March 24, 2010
    9:28 pm

    Me too! LOLTina Beeman

  • March 24, 2010
    9:28 pm

    I checked out 'In New York Paris Tomorrow' and I loved the following suggestion, "Do your own nails and toes but pay someone to take care of your pet's grooming needs if they weigh more than a roast chicken. They're your boon companions and you'll both feel happier."Thanks for the great blog once again.Melinda McCoy LaBarge

  • March 24, 2010
    9:29 pm

    I don't know which nationality I was in another lifetime.The only thing I know is that everytime I am at the airport hostesses speak to me in german..lol I really don't look like italian :( instead of you Julie.You have mediterranean colours!Martina D' Epifanio

  • March 25, 2010
    12:27 am

    Hi Julie Anne,Love the quote from the book. It is perfectly written and so true. My mother has a way of making fabulous dishes from almost nothing. Being the mediterranean woman that she is, she cooks with passion, imagination and in HUGE batches. It's amazing how she can make a fantastic tasting meal from virtually not many ingredients. I wish I could be the same, but I am trying.I believe in past lives…..not sure what nationality I may have been but one thing I now is that I must have had something to do with potatoes. I simply love them. Perhaps I was a potato picker……..not so glamorous I know….LOL.Aussie Mum

  • March 25, 2010
    9:29 pm

    Ah, beautiful. Beautiful story and wonderful to have these memories. Love you.

  • March 25, 2010
    9:45 pm

    Ah, beautiful. Beautiful story and wonderful to have these memories. Love you. In New York Paris Tomorrow

  • March 26, 2010
    1:10 am

    This is such a cute photo of the 3 of you! You can never under estimate the power of a photo. Memories are priceless :)Penelope Worley

  • March 26, 2010
    1:11 am

    He was SO full of life and a larger than life character. I thought I had heard that but wasn't sure. God rest his happy wonderful soul.Linda Lyon

  • March 26, 2010
    5:18 pm

    I know Linda.. miss him soooooooo much! Oh the fun and mischief we got up to together!Penelope… my photos are SO important to me. My memory isn't great, but when I look at the photos it all comes flooding back.Love you too Ms. In New York Paris Tomorrow!Aussie Mum… have you ever doen past life regression? I'd love to try it.Martina… I'm part German, but they would always speak Spanish or Italian to me. LOL.So glad you checked out my friend's blog Melinda… I LOVE the way she writes… everything reads like vivid poetry, and Tina, me three!

  • March 26, 2010
    5:56 pm

    Jewels from the roving stove; what a treasure xxLinda Barnett

  • March 30, 2010
    12:58 am

    Hi Jewels,No, never done past life regression but have always wanted to.A friend of mine once did it many years ago and it was just so interesting.I am keen to do it and perhaps I will some day.Aussie Mum

  • January 2, 2011
    10:51 pm

    i'm italian and i thank you !, your love for our country and its beauties sounds so good !Happy New Year to you and your family, roberta