So it was just a typical Sunday morning in Florence: mopeds zooming by on the streets (people probably sent out to get bread before the bakeries close at noon), hearing Giovannis saying “Ciao’s!” to Marios at the extraordinarily strong (and seemingly aggressive but really loving) pitch that old Italian men have mastered so well, smells of tomato sauces and meat stews permeating out of every kitchen window. I love Sundays in Italy for all of the above reasons. The city seems to be in a big, lazy hangover from the night before, the (local) shops are closed, the streets are empty in the morning except for church goers (and Americans like me who do such sacrilegious things as jog on the Holy day). But in general, one feels no other choice but to get in the flow of an Italian Sunday, with a lack of motivation to do anything but move at a snail’s pace; whether strolling the streets or spending 5 hours in the kitchen depending on your age and gender (Italian Moms and young women are nowhere to be found after 12 pm as I can imagine they have a huge undertaking of feeding some sort of army by 3 pm).
I also get that feeling that I should be getting ready for a nice home cooked meal, as Sundays in New York were also about having a lazy day with the family hanging around the house. With my father watching soccer downstairs and my mother either cleaning or yacking away to some aunt or cousin on the phone, I usually had the freedom to experiment and get creative in the kitchen (except when one of my parents would but-in and throw off my flow, sending me into a tizzy. You see both my parents are excellent cooks and as their child, I feel inclined to ignore whatever they say and yes, usually end up messing something up along the way. But hey, that’s just how parent-daughter relationships work I think).
(I know it’s so overdone but…) for a quick interpretation of what my Mom (and most moms I know) sound like:
ANYWAY, after my stint at the health food store, much to my father’s dismay, this led to the integration of some interesting foods into our weekly rotation. For example the (healthy and delicious!) grain Quinoa along with spices such as turmeric (creates a beautiful burnt orange color when mixed with brown rice!) and curries occasionally made their way into our nightly meals. While there were some hits and definitely some misses, I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to have the time and space to flex my cooking muscles in a fully functioning life-sized kitchen.
Adjusting to living in a studio with an itsy weetsy corner of a kitchen, sans full spice cabinet has definitely been an adjustment but it seems I am slowly finding my way. So it being a Sunday and me feeling nostalgic and wanting to get my hands dirty, I decided to whip out my Joy of Cooking bible and get a pizza dough going. (I mean, when in Rome, right?)
So first things first. I put some appropriate beats on my iTunes to get me in the mood and then got started reviewing the recipe. You can never go wrong with a little DM.
Earlier in the week I scoured the isles for yeast or “fermento” making a few wrong decisions along the way. If shopping for yeast in a foreign country rely on what the picture shows you and avoid anything with a cake on the cover. This implies that there may be baking powder and/or soda and other strange substances inside; a simple mistake (which I made twice).
While my dough recipe needs a few adjustments, for example, next time I will combine the OO very fine grain flour with a larger grain to give it a little more texture, I am excited to be back on the creative cooking bandwagon and will keep you in the know on any new revelations in this department.
For now, I just got to Munich this morning. Will be in town visiting Roberto for the next days (gotta love being back in school and having scheduled breaks). We have a full itinerary of eating as much dark German Bread as possible and will also be making a trip to Haus der Kunst (www.hausderkunst.de) which I am pretty psyched for. Rob´s parents are coming in from Stuttgart to Munich for dinner Sunday night and it´s always great catching up with them over a long dinner and good wine.
Will give a full report of highlights next week. Tschuss!!
Oh, I almost forgot, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!