The rains bucketed down in the Los Angeles area during these first days of my February/March US cooking lessons/lectures tour.
Rains poured in the patio door of my cousin Tom’s house in Monarch Beach and mud slides invaded over forty houses in the La Canada area. Tom hosted two wonderful cooking classes for me at the reacreation center of his community center as the rains battered the windows and winds howled outside. Before the classes, we unloaded boxes of food, wine glasses and dishes into the recreation center in a deluge. Tom’s administrative assistant Saundra was the lifeforce behind the cooking classes and on the first night, tried to keep a huge umbrella over her head and the foods as as she ran for the center with the supplies. I gave up with umbrellas and tied a plastic bag over my head, running in with the boxes and trying not to slip. Saundra has been a huge part of the success of Tom’s cooking events, both this year and last year (Tom has now hosted my cooking events for three years). I call her, “Tom’s right hand, right foot, right ear, right leg, right brain, etc”…
I always send the shopping lists and recipes on ahead for my cooking classes and Saundra’s shopping was perfetto: exactly the right amount of foods (my lists are gauged to 12 and Saundra had to estimate ingredients for about 20 persons for both events).
Temporarily disabled by a surfing accident which sliced his shin (170 stitches!), Tom hobbled in and out of the kitchen, greeting his guests, helping with the cooking and generally adding jovial spirits to the evenings. At each class, I gave a brief introduction on Umbria and the rural cuisine of Umbria and then presented the recipes….and the chopping and slicing and dicing started amidst chatting and laughter. We all cooked our way to a banquet. My stories on Umbria and our farming years accompanied our dessert. Rains abated as the guests left. On to San Francisco today, leaving behind many new friends in southern California.
Here’s just a few of the many thank/yous which have poured (no pun intended!) into Tom since our two cooking classes:
Thanks so much for the invite to your “Italian kitchen” Friday evening! I
had a wonderful time, the food and wine were fabulous, and listening to
Annie’s stories was very entertaining! She is amazing!
Thanks again for including me!
“Annie, what a great dinner and entertaining stories of your life”
“Amazing food, great company and a place to learn about the Umbrian experience and…emerging personalities….”
“Annie, you are the seasoning that brings such delight to this wonderful event, celebrating friendship..and the simple joys of life. We can’t wait for the next gathering!”
Sheila and Rockey
“This was not a meal: it was AN EVENT!”
“A treasured experience ….the food was remarkably delicious ….your stories are the greatest treasures…”
Video and photos courtesy of Davide Cerutti Midwest Media Group, Inc.