“Thank you for a very special evening. What a great final event for us to host in our D.C. home!” wrote Linda G after my last 2010 cooking class – at her lovely historic home in Washington, D.C. on March 20th. That wonderful “wrap up” cooking class was preceded by a tour through the home with Linda’s husband Tom who filled us in on the “bed-and-breakfast” past of the house, just recently sold. Our cooking class for their family and friends was to be the closing of happy years together here for Tom and Linda.
…and once again, cooking hosts also welcomed my old friends: UCB friend Nancy and her husband Neil, who had lived for years in Umbria, joined in. Neil, you did a great job handling the eggplant! All of the guests, in fact, paid serious attention to the dish each was working on. John, you handled the Sicilian chicken dish with mastery. Christopher, thanks for keeping an eye on the amaretti-stuffed apples. Porter – having hosted and/or participated in four other cooking classes with me – you once again proved an enthusiastic chef of Umbrian rural cuisine (Note: Porter and her husband now cook together in their house near Gubbio as well: cooking Umbrian led to home-owning in Umbria!)
Monique, Cindy, Paul and Michelle, and Tina, thanks to each for joining in on a memorable evening.
Nancy, we had you “sing for your supper”: many thanks for adding the musical touch to our dessert.
Linda and Tom, tante grazie – and it seems like yesterday that we toured together here in Umbria: time for a comeback!
“Good food, good conversations ….and thank your for teaching us a different way of flavor!”
John and Cindy
My final day in the U.S appropriately ended with the meeting of friends – and food!
On March 21st, junior-year-abroad-in-Rome friends gathered for a send-off brunch at the home of Roma friend, Joanie and her husband, George. Che bello! Then all helped load the luggage, crutches and me into the car taking me to Dulles. At the airport: final wheelchair delivery to a flight.
Wheelchair arrival in Rome confirmed I was back in Italy: all of us with mobility problems were corraled, quite literally, into a cordoned-off area near immigration and baggage arrival, where our wheelchair wait began…… When I was delivered there, I joined two others and within twenty minutes or so, nearly twenty of us were sitting in the area. There weren’t enough wheelchairs for all! Two women opposite me from Egypt babbled in Arabic. I chatted with an elderly Roman lady just back from Brazil with her Ukrainian caregiver (she had been knocked over by a horse at her son’s ranch in Brazil). An elderly Calabrian couple now living in New York lamented the wheelchair wait in an amusing mixture of calabrese/newyorkese. Stefano, the young man in charge, juggled his clipboard of notes and cellphone, keeping track of us all: non-mobile passengers in transit were whisked off to departing flights. Those of us who had arrived at final destination had to give precedence to those traveling on – and wait. A young woman and another young man assisted Stefano, dashing in and out now and then with wheelchairs, loading up and then heading out with their “cargo”. Stefano even knew some of those waiting, giving them warm welcomes and hugs: “What, back already from your trip? How was your visit?” One grateful elderly lady dressed in black (from Sardinia? southern Italy?) was so grateful to finally be assigned a wheelchair that she wanted to give Stefano the usual Italian sign of affection/gratitude: two cheek-kisses. Stefano, sniffling a bit from a cold, declined with a smile: “grazie, ma non sto bene“.
Nearly an hour after arrival, I was in a wheelchair, being pushed through immigration, then helped with my luggage. Ah, casa dolce casa!