The Ciao Diet!

The Ciao Diet!

Great colorful vegetables, fresh fruit, olive oil, nuts, legumes, whole grains, herbs, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese yogurt and ah … red wine — these are the bounty of the earth and the backbone of what is defined as the Mediterranean Diet. It is a great way to “mange!!!” (Some great hand gestures should go on here including kissing your fingertips and casting them to the air, excellente!). The Mediterranean lifestyle also includes a substantial amount of walking, lots of talking and family and friends all around. It has been scientifically (not to mention generationally) proven that “A Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk of overall and cardiovascular mortality, a reduced incidence of cancer and cancer mortality, and a reduced incidence of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. For this reason, most if not all major scientific organizations encourage healthy adults to adapt a style of eating like that of the Mediterranean diet for prevention of major chronic diseases.” (

Life really does revolve around meals, so it is good to gather those you love and cook up a storm, or dine out together (at Salty’s). When the cooking is up to you, it is fun to get inspiration from others. I have a friend Roberto Russo who inspired me to help him produce a cookbook here in the United States. He is from Tuscany and I am from Seattle. Worlds apart, it’s true, but when you love food there is a common language shared by all. Cooking is an art form. It is an expression of a complex combination of culture, tradition, regional foods and ingredients, inspiration from mothers, friends, restaurants, chefs you’ve watched, cookbooks you’ve read and when it comes down to it, sometimes just what is available in your kitchen.

The best rule of thumb is the fewer ingredients the better

The best rule of thumb is the fewer ingredients the better, so you can really savor the flavors. Some of the most marvelous recipes come from combining something from your pantry with something from your refrigerator with something from your garden and fantastico! It’s heaven when you work with family and friends in the kitchen and cook something up that you can all be proud of. Everyone helps, everyone shines and everyone enjoys.

In order to bring a little Mediterranean Diet inspiration your way, I want you to know that the cookbook Good Ciao, that my friend and I worked on together, is available to you through Salty’s. (I will even personalize it for you, just e-mail me.) It is written in both English and Italian so it is fun to see the recipes side by side. About three quarters of the recipes are Roberto’s and about one quarter are from Salty’s chefs (and me), but they are all focused on the “Ciao Diet” principles. No matter where you live in the world, enjoy good, fresh, healthy cooking and living.

Buon Appetito! Ciao, ciao, ciao!