Anne's Blog

March comes in like a lion… March 13, 2010

Date: March 14, 2010 - categories: , - 1 Comment

Little did I know but as “crutches-challenges” go, the worst was yet to come.
My final night in “la Grande Mela”, as the Italians would say, was with jr-yr-abroad Rome friends and new friends in a charming restaurant serving AMERICAN food (again, anything but italiano when I am in the US!).

Delicious meal and great company brightened up a dreary rainy evening. Bad weather continued and incessant rain made the next day the greatest challenge of the trip. Thankfully, friends drove me and my luggage to the Penn Station on March 13th for the train to Philadelphia: wheelchair delivery to the train and wheelchair transfer in Philadelphia to the train for Landsdale, with Red Cap assistance for my luggage. No station as far as I could see in Lansdale which means – in this case – that I could not see far at all due to the torrential rains.

A conductor was getting off at my Lansdale stop and ran my suitcase through the rain. I covered my head with a scarf and hobbled with crutches through puddles, aircast on the sprained ankle getting soaked as the shoe on the other foot filled up.

My cooking class host, Gina, honked at the conductor who headed towards her car with my suitcase (the wind had turned her umbrella inside out so rescue was impossible). He dropped it and ran. Tiny Gina was out of that car in the deluge and threw the suitcase into the back, i have-no-idea-how. She knew me right away (“just look for the crutches”).

Gina and her husband James warmly welcomed me into their home and their boxer Diesel gave me a rousing welcome. I rested from the odyssey and then the guests arrived, though two could not make it due to the storm: trees down on New Jersey roads blocked their route. James and Gina’s cooking group soon filled the kitchen with good cheer as we sliced and diced, mixed and amalgamated and enjoyed the antipastos we made as we cooked the main course.


The enthusiasm and eager participation of all those young couples refreshed and recharged me – and lit up that dreary rainy day! Mille grazie, Gina, James….and all!

Absolutely wonderful! Simple, easy, quick recipes that can be used everyday. Loved the hands-on preparation. Great food! Great company!” – Frank and Sharon P.

“Thank you so much for such a wonderful experience! True Umbrian cooking is so delicious and enjoying the meal we cooked was a real treat. We look forward to making y our recipes at home.” – Carolyn and Marshall O.

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and talents with us. Looking forward to sharing the recipes and techniques with family and friends… are an inspiration!” – Sue and Dennis W.

“…. how much we enjoyed the cooking experience with you at Gina and James’ house in Pennsylvania. What a treat it was with such great food, friends, conversation and learning about your little pearl of the world. It definitely confirmed the desire for my husband, Brian, and I to travel to Italy and more specifically Umbria. Until then, thank you for bringing a little piece of Italy to us! Ciao, Trisha T

Thank you so much for the amazing experience…” – Gina and James (my hosts)

1 Comment

  • Gina & James says:

    Thank you for coming to our little town in PA! We can’t wait to see you in Umbria!
    Gina, James & Diesel Dawg Kocher

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Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)