The Power of Self-Doubt

A few weeks ago, Rand and I went out to dinner at a restaurant we hadn’t tried before. The menu was mostly Pacific Northwestern – so, lots of fish and expensive – with a few Italian dishes thrown in. We settled on a couple of things, one being arancini – tiny little fried balls of risotto. It’s a Southern Italian dish, but not one my family ever made at home. Risotto was rarely consumed in my house growing up. My grandfather refused to eat it, out of what I now suspect was a long-standing and entirely justified grudge against Mussolini. (Because the wheat for flour had to be imported, the fascist dictator tried to get Italians to abandon pasta for rice, which grew well in Northern Italy. This plan did not go over well.)

The word arancini means oranges – the singular being arancio. (Which is sort of how the

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