Anne's Blog

Coming in from the Cold in Chicago (Mar 5 – 6, 2011)

Date: March 12, 2011 - categories: , - 3 Comments

Sharing memories of schooldays in Rome over buonissimo food. Such great groups in these Winnetka classes!

Sharing memories of schooldays in Rome
over buonissimo food. Such great groups
in these Winnetka classes!

Snow flurries arrived in Chicago about when I did. Icy roads, slippery sidewalks and cutting chill outside. But I only felt warmth during my four days there… and right from the moment of arrival: Rich had read my articles on Italian Notebook and had written me about a possible 2012 Chicago cooking event as a benefit. We decided to meet to discuss all. After kindly picking me up at the airport, we joined with his wife Lori and their friend, Kathy, for a buonissimo lunch of tapas (anything but italiano food for me as I cook my way across the U.S.!). Our lunch was Spanish but Rome was our connective link: they had all met while in Rome and I too had lived there, though years earlier.

More Rome connections coming up: I stayed in Winnetka with friend Keta (Rome junior year-abroad ’68 -’69) and her husband Brian. Their hospitality was warm, open-hearted and italiano, ending with a feast prepared by Brian my last night in the Chicago area.

Another Rome junior-year-abroad friend, Doug, took me to lunch with his wife Carol – mille grazie to both! High-school reunions warmed those icy Chicago days, too: the day after my arrival, I headed downtown to lunch near the Art Institute with Milwaukee high school friend, Anne, and her partner, Karen. They had been in Assisi last year – and sounds as if Umbria might soon draw them back!

Italy was a key factor in the two Winnetka cooking classes hosted by Rosemary – and not just because the food was Italian! Rosemary had studied at the Loyola-Chicago Rome program, too (but years after Keta, Doug and me). We met at a Loyola Chicago reunion in Italy a couple years ago: I was the guide for an optional day in Assisi centered on our magnificent medieval festival, the Calendimaggio.

Rosemary’s first cooking class – in the evening – was filled with her own Rome friends (mostly) and many had also joined in that Assisi tour. What hilarious laughter as they shared stories and memories of their life-changing Rome year as we cooked – and then feasted.

Rosemary hosted another class – “women only” – the next day at lunchtime! This class took the “overflow” of the requests for cooking the night before – and Rosemary also welcomed women who had toured with me in Assisi, lived in the Chicago area and wanted to re-connect. Always a joy to re-establish ties as we slice and dice, mix and whip. Che bello!

A second Rosemary joined in that class: we had walked to school together every day from first grade to seventh grade in Milwaukee, Wisconsin – and had not seen each other since seventh grade! “Milwaukee Rosemary” was my “sous-chef” for this second class. (Now that we have re-connected, I hope that our next meeting will be in OUR kitchen in Assisi!)

Warmest mille grazie to everyone who brought me “in from the cold” in Chicago!

Here is a word from my host, Rosemary: “It was a delight! Everyone had such a wonderful time and the food was fantastico! Anne, I loved having you in my home. I look forward to seeing you again in Italy.” Rosemary
… and here is a word from another Rosemary, my grade-school friend who assisted as my “sous-chef”/guest at our Winnetka classes(what a wonderful way to connect!): “I had such a wonderful time!! All of the guests were just lovely, and the food was favoloso! Thank you both for including me in the cooking event. I really learned a lot.” Rosemary J.
“What a way to spend the afternoon! Fantastic! Come back next year!” Mary
“This was such a treat… I’ve learned so much. I have been inspired!” Katie
“Thank you again. I could not miss this experience of cooking with you! We’ll always remember how special our tour with you in Assisi was.” Cynthia

CLICK HERE to read more about the Calendimaggio.
CLICK HERE to learn more about my annual U.S. cooking/lecture tour.


  • Rosemary Olson says:

    What a great excuse for a gathering of friends and making new ones! Thank you, Anne. A wonderful time was had by all.

  • anne says:

    Rosemary, thoughts of you yesterday: SOPRA WON CALENDIMAGGIO, ALLELUIA!
    See this piece for news, pictures of the wondrous festa:

  • Rich says:

    “My wife, Lori and I, very much enjoyed our visit with Anne during her visit to Chicago in March while on her 2011 U.S. Tour. Having lived in Italy (Rome) for many years ourselves, sharing stories and common acquaintences with Anne brought us back “home” to Italy, if only for a few hours over tapas (that’s right, tapas… not pasta!) at Cafe Iberico on a cold Winter afternoon in Chicago.

    Anne has graciously offered to work with our local Rotary International Club in Barrington, Illinois, on our annual fundraiser which will be held in September. We thank Anne for her generous heart and creative soul. Lori and I will surely make Anne’s home in Umbria one of our stops when we visit Italy again in Spring of 2012.”
    Rich Zacaroli and Lori Tibbett

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