One of the most romantic pockets of time in my life was when Kevin and I took our "pre" honeymoon trip to Italy.
I'd never been overseas. I'd never really been farther than Chicago for a rather boring corporate training, which at that time, I still thought exotic compared to my old quiet stay-at-home life. I felt like a glamorous world traveller, and we would spend afternoons exploring the side streets and snug little cafes and shops as far away from the tourist-y places as we could find. I took my film camera, and captured my favorite moments on wonderfully rich sepia film. These are still some of my favorite images and the one up top was taken right after a short rainstorm that pushed us off of our walk into a covered stoop near a market where we bought Moretti beers and sipped them until the drizzle subsided.
The food was incredible, and for the ten days that we travelled from Verona, to Florence to Venice, we ate at wonderful little spots that featured menu's only written in Italian and sipped coffee spiked with tiny bottles of grappa.
I've been thinking of Italy again quite a lot. This morning, I was invited by a reporter from the New York Times to try out a recipe from a new cookbook by Nigella Lawson, then, possibly, if all goes as I wish, I can video chat with the Domestic Goddess herself about the experience! It was fabulous serendipity that I found the invitation on the NY Times Facebook page yesterday morning, calling for fans of Nigella who would like to write something about her then have the chance to be chosen to chat with her about cooking. I've downloaded the recipe from her latest work, Nigellissima, and I am going to buy the groceries this weekend and cook it with my children.
The idea of this little cooking challenge has triggered my favorite memories of Italy. I hope that the smells and tastes from my kitchen this weekend will remind me even more of that magical trip and time. Of course I'll be taking photographs and sharing the recipe too over the weekend. I think already that I am going to fall in love with the dish. Anything "swimming in butter and cheese" as this particular recipe is described, gets my full attention.