As a high school graduation gift, my parents shelled out the money for me to spend a whole month in London with a girlfriend. A few days before our departure,…
Trying to make sense of the world and life through food and words.
Sicily is a land of deep contradictions: heart-breaking beauty, history, poverty, sublime food, mafia, culture and immigration all coexist under the same relentless sun. Conquered and ruled, over the ages, by the Moors, the French, the Kingdom of Naples and, finally unified with Italy, all these influences are borne in the everyday: a visitor is treated like an honored guest, like in the Arab custom; cakes and sweets are intricate the way the French make them; the same baroque architecture one admires in Naples is mirrored all over Sicily. And then there is that deep blue sea, inviting and comforting in a way no ocean can ever aspire to be.
Perched on my doctor’s table, I mumble something about ovaries.
“Yes, you get them from your ovaries, your adrenal system and fats. So, when your hormones drop during menopause and maybe there is an imbalance in your adrenals, your body starts storing fat trying to balance things out. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Anyhow, you are not menopausal yet so let’s talk about what you can do in the meantime”.
My idea of a perfect kitchen resembles very much a Mad Hatter tea party theme: frosted cakes, piles of artfully arranged cookies, crostatas and croissants as decorative pieces. To that end, I am always looking for the perfect cake stand. Never mind that frosted cakes and cupcakes are some of my least favourite desserts – I just like the festive look they add to a room.
The Adriatic Sea, the nearest body of water to where I grew up, is not fertile ground for lobsters so I didn’t make my acquaintance with this noble crustacean until age 13. Paris, bateau-mouche, business dinner with my dad and what I remember as a giant orange lobster (but most likely was its cousin, a langoustine) placed in front of me, with a torture instrument similar to a nut cracker. I had no idea what to do with one or the other, and my father was no help. The only possible solution seemed to make myself even more inconspicuous, hoping no one would notice the untouched creature on my plate.
She didn’t look back once. I stood there, watching her frame go through the new fangled body scan, explaining to whomever was questioning her that she didn’t speak English, and I didn’t even savour the moment of seeing her disappear in the swarms of colorful people all around her. My warm and loving mother didn’t look back once, to look at my face one more time.