Connecting while cooking in Denver
After Seattle, on to Denver for two wonderful events with classmates, old friends, past Umbria tour guests, future Umbria tour guests and new friends! Che bello! Jim and Cindy Tanner warmly welcomed me to their home -and so good to reunite with them (Jim had studied in Rome with me jr/yr/abroad and I met Cindy when I lectured in Denver in 2001 – good to be back!).
My first day in Denver, I headed to the art museum and was enjoying the architecture of the dramatic new addition as much as the art when two pretty young college girls came up to me. One said, “Aren’t you Anne Robichaud? You gave a cooking class at my parents’ home in Corona del Mar, CA two years ago”!!!! Che piccolo mondo! (Of course we had to call her parents together…)
After the museum, great lunch of Thai food (let me eat anything but italiano when I am here in the States!)with friends who had lived in Assisi all last year. How good to reunite.
My cooking event that night was my first Umbrian banquet of this tour, ie, I cooked (with an assistant) an Umbrian feast for about twelve guests as a birthday celebration for the host – while her guests simply enjoyed savoring the foods with fine wines (rather than preparing the foods). This was Donna’s 60th birthday and she and her husband Stephen had gathered good friends to share together the many flavors of Umbria – where they had lived last year. Another good reunion!
Glad we reconnected, you two, and thanks, Stephen, for your note:
“Thank you for a fabulous dinner: great and such fun to watch you prepare it. You were the key to providing a wonderful birthday dinner for Donna.”
More reunions the next night for a delightful cooking class with diverse groups of people, hosted by Moira and Bill. A big group. 16? 18? Lots of laughter from start to finish as new friendships formed while slicing and dicing, chopping and mixing all together. The evening started with my DVD presentation of the farm people who taught me rural cooking followed by a brief introduction to the recipes. None of my recipes had ever before been written down (as all the women I know in Italy had simply learned by watching Mamma and Nonna) so all the quantities are approximate….and lend themselves very well to improvisation. “After all,” I said, “many ingredients in Italian cookbooks are follwed by ‘q.b.’, meaning ‘quanto basta‘ or ‘as much as you need’…” Well, that was the theme song of this class! Jim (we toured together in Umbria last year) was right next to me at the burners, mixing and stirring, adding wine as needed, a dash of olive oil, a splash of vinegar, a pinch of salt. Now and then, I’d taste, then say to Jim, “Salt. q.b.” Result: a buonissimo dinner.
…and how good to share it with a friend I hadn’t seen since 7th grade in Miwaukee, a Rome friend, people who had toured with me in Umbria and missed touring with me in Umbria (I was away when they were there) and people who might tour with me in Umbria one day. Mille grazie, Bill and Moira, for such a hilarious, warm, wonderful evening! Hope you have rested up….!
“Thanks for a wonderful cooking experience and window into Umbria.” Melody S
“Our time with you in Umbria in October ’09 was phenomenal – and tonight with you was just as informative and fun! I cannot wait until our next time together!” Jim S
“Annie with six pots going on Moira’s stove …what fun! And everything is on ‘high’, including the spirits of all involved. Great to see you again!” Martha C