Monday, January 19, 2015

Can’t Miss a Beat

It’s not that I think my extended family can’t live without me.  And definitely, I can live without them.  But I sure did love the little basket of love that my niece sent my way this weekend: passion fruits, kumquats, fennel and other cuttings from her garden.

It was nice to be missed, even if for a weekend.


There is always something going on in our family.  Some-one or five comes over for breakfast.  Of course they need some scones hot from the oven, with soft butter and house-made marmalade, on a silver platter from France.  They said it was not the same during the few days I was gone.  I guess not!


I set the Saturday breakfast table with the stylized arrows I am making for the next cooking classes and Valentine’s gifts…feathers and glitter are fun and fine in my book~


And then there was the issue of my Sis’ birthday.  Mom insisted I make a cake Sunday morning, and Sis also hinted she wanted a special cake.  What would you do otherwise, I wanted to ask?  Oh no, a store-bought cake was not going to cut it. This one was Grand Marnier.


A few snips from the garden, and a visit to the basket my niece brought, and we were done.  And oh yes, my Sis LOVED it. 


The red currants came from the Persian market, the only thing I didn’t find at home.  Home.  Yes, I am not in Morocco, I’m at home this week.  And I am glad for it…


And once I got through the big birthday for sis, I was on to getting my nephew off to Italy.  Four months in Florence followed by a few months of backpacking, and starting with a five day visit to Rome.


I made a scramble to set up a room for him at the Sacred Heart Convent, close to the Vatican and other sights of Rome; and most of all, a safe-haven for a jet-lagged, barely-Italian-speaking young man whom I love dearly but who might be more brave than he lets on.  I checked a few websites, but still felt the convent was the best and most cost-effective option. 


Today was an Italian-food-intensive afternoon. A quick shopping trip and then he and I had a discussion of Italy and pork products…of Guanciale and pancetta and cinghiale or wild boar.  Men learn by seeing and tasting. I knew that lists were not enough.  We had mortadella from Trader Joe’s; though I know he will find better in Italy, he knows something good and safe by sight and by name.  Alas, no pics, but the cake top is better~ haha~


I made spaghetti carbonara and risotto con funghi secchi (that’s fancy for rice with dried porcini) and garlic bread and we looked at pics of puntarelle alla romana and the markets of Rome and Florence.  We reserved an advance ticket for the Vatican Museum so he can skip the long line, and we talked of cheeses and I showed him internet images of the various supermarkets in Florence near his flat.   Si….he got it. 


I wondered, after Corino left, what he would have done without this introduction.  He knows how to cook and would surely have figured it out, but it sure helps to have some advice. And some Euros and such. But mostly, an Auntie who knows and who cares.


Tomorrow we will sort out the last details, especially his cell phone so that he has some communication ready to go once he arrives.  It’s an unfair test of language to think he can go to Italy and find a prepaid sim.  Best to do that here and spend your time touring Rome not sorting out technical difficulties.


The end of the day was a macaroon trial for the next classes. 


It seems like an eternity, the time I was to be traveling, as I mark the days.  I continue to be glued to the news…what else will happen??  I do not know, but I am with my family and all is right.  And of course, the next trip is right around the corner~


  1. So glad your are home, safely guiding others through..

  2. Andrea, a gorgeous cake! Your family is so fortunate to have you there and Corino will appreciate all the help you have given him for the trip to Italy! The convent will be a special experience for him! Isabella and I enjoyed meeting Corino when we visited last summer!

    The Arts by Karena

  3. That cake is a work of art! I bet it tasted even better!

  4. NEXT TRIP MY ABODE!!!!!!!!!!!!Cleaning and making SPACE for YOU to spill out like a GAS upon my KITCHEN!THAT CAKE and those PINK MACAROONS ...................better be headed UP NORTH!!!!!!!
    I so look FORWARD to YOUR VISIT and YOUR COOKING CLASS..............Let me know if anything else needs to be done!XOXO

  5. Andrea, welcome home!

    I could not agree with you more, it is always nice to have advice and helpful information from someone who knows and cares where you are traveling.

    I hope your nephew has a wonderful time, Florence is a beautiful and magical city. He will love it.

    Have a great week.

  6. Andrea, Just finding your blog on here! I love all your posts. So inspiring and beautiful. I'm glad you are safe and home from Paris.. So awful all this craziness.

    Your nephew is a lucky guy. Wonderful you are helping him with his trip. I love Florence. It will be an experience! So looking forward to our cooking class and meeting you next week at Contessa's.