While I like toying with bread making, I must confess I rarely do. It takes too long, it never comes out perfect, the dog days of Summer…I have plenty of excuses, chief among them is the spotty results of a home oven (and the fact that making bread requires more time than I have).
Campari & Sofa Posts
Even in my fog-addled brain, after a sleepless night on the plane, I sensed immediately that the odd group of people boarding the transit bus next to me were no ordinary travellers. First of all, they were shepherded by a minute, Asian woman who made sure they got on the bus for Terminal 5 at Heathrow. At the other end, a young man, holding a clipboard, tried to corral them all in the same direction.
I am ridiculously shameless when it comes to my birthday. I think it’s because, until I was an adult, my birthdays were low-key affairs: school was out, I was typically in the countryside, most of my friends away on their own adventures. I am still making up for it by stretching the proceedings as long as I can. Last year, I hosted a potluck of just girls. It was so much fun I am repeating it this year, with a slightly different mix of women – July is still the time when many take time off. Very often, women I know, women I meet briefly and women who will never join my circle are a big source of inspiration, comfort and motivation. Here are some who came to mind just this week.
At every birthday party I ever attended as a child, Italian mothers invariably served the same staples: salatini (tiny puff pastry rolls filled with either ham and cheese or anchovy paste); panettone salato (a dome-shaped tower of different sandwiches purchased at the pasticceria that had its monopoly for years); and my favorite, la pizzetta.
I came back from vacation to two weeks of insane work. Still basking in the relaxation of the time off and the reframing that always happens when very far away, I got through it all without hiccups. But I am glad to have the next few days to myself with no other plans than to plan my birthday. I am going to sit back, relax, read and waste time looking at cute animals on FB. Your plans?
To my seven-year old eyes, Bologna, the city where I grew up, seemed a vast metropolis. A city of half a million people, with a famous and vibrant university, it was safe enough that, from the age of seven or eight, I would walk to school unaccompanied. I lived in the center of town and everything that lay outside the medieval walls was unknown to me, and it’s what conjured vastness.