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In Italy? Home Food can help you mangia bene

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Yesterday's New York Times features an article, "Mangia! Mangia!", by travel writer Matt Gross about the delights of eating in private homes rather than restaurants when visiting Italy.

In the past, that may have been hard to accomplish for travelers without Italian family or friends to visit while in il bel paese. But now, Gross shares, an Italian organization called Home Food is connecting travelers and individual Italian families as part of an effort to preserve and showcase everyday Italian cooking. (Caution: Home Food's Web site is slow today, perhaps thanks to interest generated by the aforementioned New York Times article.)

"From Piedmont in the north to Sicily in the south, from cities like Florence and Milan to hamlets like Abbateggio, Home Food seeks out exceptional home chefs, puts them through a training course and dubs them Cesarinas — little Caesars, emperors of the kitchen," Gross writes. "Then, a few times a month, the Cesarinas host dinner parties at which they open their homes to strangers."

According to Gross, interested eaters register with Home Food, pay a membership fee of 3.50 euros for foreigners (about $4.60) and then check monthly listings for interesting meals. Once a meal is selected, diners pay for their dinner of choice, with fees ranging from 34.90 to 39.90 euros per person.

"Would you like goose-meat salami in Lombardy?" he writes. "Fried chicken bones with red chicory in Emilia-Romagna? Rabbit in a pot in Tuscany? All are part of dozens of meals on offer throughout April..."

It all sounds delicious to the staff here at NIAF. But is this something you would do?