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the long road home

June 29, 2010

Hello?

Oh, my. It’s rather quiet in here. If there is anyone still out there, well, you have the patience of a saint.

I certainly never intended to leave this place for the better part of 6 weeks. Italy danced with me and flirted with me and plied me with homemade gnocchi and the most pungent, herbal, fresh beans a girl could ever hope to slurp up. But oh, did she also exhaust me. Oh yes indeed. Thirty days of serious touring, pavement pounding, diptych-peering, dome-ogling, and cathedral-gawking is enough to wear down the soul of even the most hardy traveler. Fortunately, I was able to put my feet up for a bit after Chris met me in Rome; we then spent a couple days on an organic farm (which included a 4:30 am hike up a mountain to watch a shepherd make fresh ricotta and pecorino), and then Sorrento, for much limoncello and a birthday scuba dive (first time)!

And then, of course, there was the food.

Gelato. I ate gelato almost every day. How could you not? Pistachio was classic, marsala and a raspberry sage were, well, phenomenal.

Gnocchi. In all guises. Some fluffed into a ricotta pillow, some strewn with shards and wisps of tomato and basil.

I won’t forget the sparkling sweetness of the seafood. One of my most memorable meals was in Venice, at a little cafe on an out-of-the-way canal, that has no menu. You eat what they serve, and that’s that. To our great joy, we showed up on seafood night.

And they had mascarpone cream for a sweet. Laced with Marsala (I think), with wee crunchy biscuits for dipping. I keep thinking about this one.

Two-plate pizza in Tuscania. Mine: zucchini, squash blossoms, and anchovies. Skinny, cracky, huge, wonderful. I devoured the whole thing.

It was huge. I don’t care.

And here, this lovely worm-looking plate: pasta with truffles. All those black specks? TRUFFLES, people. There are no words…

I think with a bit of a pause and a deep breath, I’ll have more to say about this trip. I’m in an odd place now, and slightly out of sorts. I returned home to find my job had vanished, and for the second time in just over a year, I am laid-off. It’s ok, though. I have time to do some housecleaning, both mental and physical. There are two quarts of homemade pickles in the fridge, and this Saturday I’m venturing to Pennsylvania with some new friends from food52 to can sour cherries and peaches. Things could be worse. With cherry pie in my near future, I can’t complain too much.

Other things making me happy include:

Brian’s new summer mix, and, as usual, his photos.

A sure to be smashing project curated by a very talented lady. Pacific Northwesterners, take note.

My favorite summer drink.

Thunderstorms. The ones that really wallop and kick some ass. We had one yesterday.

Big bulbous blue hydrangeas in an orange vase, made by my aunt.

Sun gold cherry tomatoes.

I’ve missed this space, and I’m so happy to be back.

How are your summers going?

Cheers, all. I’ll return soon with some kitchen adventures. Enjoy your week.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Daphne permalink
    July 6, 2010 12:44 pm

    Welcome back! Your trip sounds wonderful…and all that inspiring food! So sad to come back to reality, especially when reality hands you a low blow. But all will be well, of this I am sure! In the meantime, I’m equally sure a little LESS eating is probably a good thing! So, in the spriit of less is more, I need a summer entree salad that requires NO heat, not even to blanch a green bean or toast a crouton since it’s about a zillion degrees out there, which hardly inspires heating up the kitchen.. Any ideas? With all that fabulous cuisine still fresh (and I do mean FRESH) in your mind, I’m sure you can create a big, colorful, filling yet light salad for me…a vegetarian delight, but somehow with enough heft and protein to provide a satisfying mid-summer dinner – just add some chilled libation! Please, help!!?!

  2. July 21, 2010 8:55 pm

    what an AMAZING trip!!!

  3. July 23, 2010 10:40 am

    Beautiful pictures of beautiful food from what I am sure was an amazing adventure. Welcome home and congratulations on another opportunity for some time off to take stock.

  4. Nick J permalink
    August 13, 2010 11:45 am

    This food looks dericious!! Must. go. to. Italy.

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