Bill Campana, What Are You Eating?

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Bill Campana

The Valley poet, who has participated in poetry slams both locally and nationally, hosts Sound Effects poetry open mike every Friday night from 7-9 p.m. at Mama Java's Coffeehouse in Phoenix.

What'd you eat for dinner last night? A chicken and mushroom stir fry with fresh ginger and garlic, on brown rice. My wok is about 20-years old. It woks!

Favorite food: Classic spaghetti and meatballs. Although these days, I prefer linguine. I learned how to make the sauce from my Grandma Campana when I was 13. That was 41 years ago. It's in my blood. I could eat it every day. When I make a massive pot of sauce and I've been eating it for 3 nights, when I have it the fourth night and think I'm through with it, it is just as satisfying as if I haven't had it in years.

Least favorite food: Liver. It's a filter. Sardines would be a close second.

Favorite dessert: Chocolate cake and coffee.

Favorite local restaurant and meal to order there: El Charro. Any combo plate. I've never had a questionable meal there.

Favorite local bar and cocktail to order there: I haven't been to a bar in years. Historically, I have been a bourbon guy. Jack Daniels, George Dickel, Maker's Mark. My friends keep me well-stocked although I don't drink the way I used to.

Favorite thing to cook at home: Pasta. Usually when my daughter comes over for Sunday dinner, I'll bring what I've learned from my grandmother, my mother and my 41 years of experience and fill the 5-quart pot with family history.

Favorite memory involving food: One day, I came home from work when I was 19 or 20. I was still living at home. My mother said she saw Frank Sinatra's first wife on the Dinah Shore show. She made a lentil soup that she said was Frank's favorite. It changed my life. When Eric Clapton first heard The Band's Music From Big Pink album, it changed his life. This soup was so simple, yet so deep. I'd never even heard of lentils until then. Another favorite memory is, when my grandmother would visit, I would always con her into making polenta with sausage.

Recipe or food tip to share: Stay basic with foods. Learn to enjoy the taste without over-salting and over-seasoning. Keep the balance. Keep things in perspective. Olive oil, sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, fresh garlic. Don't grate your romano cheese until you are going to use it.
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