A Quick Sharing

I haven’t done a sharing post in a long time but that may change now that I am no longer employed – my choice by the way they didn’t fire the old fart. But back to sharing – this will be a quick one as I am packing for ferragosto vacation.

Over at Bleeding Espresso Michelle had this great tip for storing the fresh cut basil that is so readily available this time of year. Our greengrocer gives us great bunches of it and often it goes to waste but that won’t happen again after having read her tip.

Just click on the basil to go there:

And talk to you all from Pesaro! Sun! Seaood! Rossini! Beach! Wine! And Basil!

11 agosto – Santa Chiara

Sights, Sounds and Shares of Christmas

I love the fact that the big tree at Piazza Venezia, in front of the Vittorio Emmanuel Monument, isn’t quite perfect. It leans slightly to one side which is just fine and being Italian it leans to the left or the right depending on how you want to look at it!

For some reason this year has seemed busier than past Christmas seasons here and I haven’t put up as many posts as I would have liked or even had planned to. Perhaps it wasn’t so much busy as I am getting lazy???? However I did take a whole raft of pictures and had a whole parcel (slightly smaller than a raft???) of paragraphs to do with the holiday season. But I thought I would still share some of the sights, sounds and posts from friends of the holidays – after all we do have 10 days of Christmas left.

I find the Piazza Navona Christmas Market too crowded during the day time but in the evening – or at least last week when it was cold and humid – it was almost deserted. We wandered around for a bit and then headed over for one of Signora Paola’s home cooked meals at Der Pallaro – including her signature potato chips.
  • Once again Joe of the fabled Joe My God posted one of my favorite Christmas stories: The Dance of the Sugar Plum Lesbians has become a Seasonal classic. Each year I read it anew with added delight and it brings a smile to my face each time.

This wonderful display of teddy bears graces the window of a very upscale toy store in one corner of Piazza Navona. I was particularly delighted by the three kings and their camel. I’m glad the store was closed for the night otherwise ……
  • From his new digs in Palm Springs Jeff recalls for us an earlier time when network television still had an identifiable style and, yes, even a certain class. As he says “this little gem embodies the spirit of the holidays.”

The Novona market has a cornucopia of Christmas goodies – things for your presepe, decorations for the tree, Befane for January 6th, sweets and consumables. Much of it is cheap merchandise made in China but Laurent and our friend Jackie did find a few things to add to the Christmas trees.
  • Over at Japonisme Lotus Green has a wonderful series of posts – aural and visual – on roses and the return of light as the days begin to grow longer. Every one of them has something of interest and as always she astounds me with her wealth of images.

Just before Christmas we met with our friends Joe, Peter, Pino and Claudio for another delicious meal at what is fast becoming our favorite eatery in Centro, Antica Enoteca. It was raining that evening and after dinner as we walked over to catch the last Metro we found the area of Piazza Spagna and the Spanish Steps blessedly empty. Every so often it happens here and you understand the magic of this city. And that would be Laurent, Pino and I voguing in the rain.

  • Laurent featured a wonderful Christmas story from the Canadian Press about Fred the dog and his trip across Canada. Thanks to the good will of the people at VIA Rail Fred made the 4801 km trip from Vancouver to Montreal and was reunited with his family.

As I’ve mentioned before there are presepi throughout the city – in piazzas, churches and of course private homes. This antique one is half way up the Spanish Steps and depicts an 18th century Roman street scene complete with cavalry officer.

  • She does not write as often as she once did but as always when Big Ass Belle does it is always going to arouse emotions and get you thinking. Sadly Christmas for her revives memories of a 40 year old mystery that will live with her the rest of her life.

The carousel at Parco della Musica is a beautiful antique one from a circus and is part of an amusement area with a skating rink and cafe. And of course my favorite presepe in Rome – Emanule Luzzati’s magical vision of the nativity fills the amphitheatre. I am hoping to get back to take some daylight photos of his characters when we get back from Madrid next week.

Though not as grand as the one in Piazza Venezia our own tree holds memories for us. Ornaments given us by family and friends and that we have bought over the years in Chicago, Ottawa, Toronto, Hong Kong, Poland, Mexico, Egypt and Italy; the collectibles – the Wedgewood and Russian enamel medallions, the silver Christmas flower from Towle; and of course our sterling silver balls. Its eclectic and maybe even a bit gaudy but it says so much to and about us and the past 31 Christmases.
  • And finally our friend Wendy Holloway – who runs a wonderful bed and breakfast just outside Rome – included a traditional Central Italian Christmas recipe on her Flavor of Italy blog: Gobbo alla Parmigiana. I keep meaning to write a post on the great Sunday morning we spent at her cooking school a few weeks ago – an experience we intend to repeat at the end of January.

27 decembre – San Giovanni evangelista


I know that Laurent thinks I spend most of my day on the computer but I honestly don’t. Some of its spent in the kitchen making coffee and snacks to have in front of the computer. And I do get out on the odd excursion about town.

Here’s a few things I discovered in the past week on my rambles around the Internet. And there’s a few photos on one of my town excursions a few weeks ago.
We’ve often driven past the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls on our way to the airport. Its an impressive sight from the highway and more impressive up close. It was raining the day I decided to visit but even in the rain the front courtyard was glorious. The present Basilica was build after a disastrous fire in July of 1823 which destroyed the 1400 year old church. The evening before the fire the dying Pius VII had nightmares of a fireball striking his beloved Basilica – its destruction was never revealed to him.

  • My dear Scarlet Lady, Dora, provided a link the other day to a wonderful series of YouTube shows by the remarkable 93 year old Clara Cannucciari. Her Depression Cooking series has become one of the most popular on YouTube. Its a combination of practical and economical recipes and, more importantly I think, oral history. She has her own website and Laurent tells me she was interviewed on one of the major US network prime time shows. Even if you don’t use her recipes her tales of the Great Depression are a living slice of history.
  • And speaking of food the oft-quoted Opera Chic (the world press has become aware of what some of us have known for ages – she rocks) introduced me to a wonderful food blog: Orangette. In her own words Molly Wizenberg explains: So I started Orangette. Almost five years later, here I am, with this blog, a book, a monthly column in Bon Appétit, and a husband whom I met through this site. It’s been kind of insane – in a very good way, of course. I thank my lucky stars every night. Five years! I’m just wondering why I haven’t discovered this great blog before.
  • My buddy Yellowdog Grannie , from West, Texas, sent me this link to a fascinating virtual tour of a famous Chinese scroll painting: Along the River During the Ching-Ming Festival. It is lodged in the National Palace Museum in Taipei – part of the collection spirited off the mainland during the revolution. QhingMing is celebrated in one form or another throughout most of the Asia and there is a particularly lovely Vietnamese song that sings of the awakening of spring and this approbriate for a stroll through this remarkable website.

    Swift swallows and spring days were shuttling by
    of ninety radiant ones three score had fled.
    Young grass spreads all its green to heaven’s rim;
    some blossoms marked pear branches with white dots.
    Now came the Feast of Light in the third month
    with graveyard rites and junkets on the green.
    As merry pilgrims flocked from near and far,
    the sisters and their brother went for a stroll.

  • Michelle, who you may know by now drinks so much coffee that she swears if she were cut she’d be Bleeding Espresso, gave a shout out to a fun blog for those of us struggling with Italian. Diane Hales has a blog as part of her La Belle Lingua website. Becoming Italian Word by Word is a light-hearted way to find those words and phrases that we anglophones find so confusing. Example??? Well let’s take “maleducato” – has to mean badly educated right? Well in a way yes, it actually means “ill-mannered“. And in response to my Napolitano buddy Marco – then you ask why I have difficulty speaking Italian?????
  • And as part of her Going Green series Michelle has some tips on what do to with used coffee grounds. Her commenters have added some dos and don’ts as well.

07 marzo – Sante Perpetua e Felicita


I haven’t shared any of the postings that I’ve found particularly entertaining or informative in a while – and as we were reminded earlier this week in the Mom Song, sharing is important. And of course at the same time I have a few more photos to share from the trip to Napoli. These are various doors throughout the city – many on Via Toledo and the Centro Storico.

  • In honour of last week’s celebration of World Nutella Day, Michelle has done a Nutella Round Up. Its chock-a-block with links to recipes, articles, photos and ephemera concerning the world favorite chocolate and hazelnut spread. And apparently plans are already under way for next year’s festivities.
  • Though Sunday’s here seem to be taken up with lunching with friends I’ve missed Sunday drives with Jeff. He hadn’t done one in a while but at the beginning of the month took us down Saticoy Avenue of Boogie Nights fame.
  • My friend LotusGreen over at Japonisme has been featuring the work of Arthur Wesley Dow since the beginning of the month. Dow was an American painter, printmaker, photographer, and extremely influential arts educator. Amongst his students and disciples he numbered Georgia O’Keefe and he was a leader in the American Arts and Crafts movement.

13 febbraio – San Benigno di Todi

World Nutella Day

Though I am still the champion of all butters that are of the Arachidinis variety I thought I’d join my blog buddy Michelle at Bleeding Espresso and her friend Sara at Ms. Adventures in Italy in celebrating Italy’s favorite spread.

Today is officially World Nutella Day – the day in which happy peasants harvest the…. no sorry that’s not how its done. A quick click on the World Nutella Day logo will take you to the true story of Pietro Ferrero’s Supercrema. I was surprised how the recipe varies from country to country depending on local taste buds.

To start the festivities Michelle delivers her Ode to Nutella . Then after a break for a spoonful of Nutella straight from the jar Sara addresses the perplexing question of Nutella Virgins. I’m sure the celebration will continue througout the day as other bloggers feature tributes, recipes and stories of their encounters with the chocolaty-hazelnuty delights of their favorite topping.

I went as far as having it on my toast this morning rather than my normal peanut butter but I think I will resist a colleague’s suggestion of a Nutella pizza for lunch.

05 febbraio – Sant’Agata