London is notoriously a creative hub, where people meet to exchange ideas, pursue creative careers, learn new skills and work on personal projects. The creative bug is highly contagious and immune to vaccines, I myself have embarked in a second personal project (the first being this blog) called My Little Sous-Chef. My Little Sous-Chef is a children’s cookbook made to inspire parents to cook with their kids. I am not alone in this journey, in fact the whole design and illustrations side is orchestrated by two designer friends, and also founders of the design company Ink Inch. If you want to know more about My Little Sous-Chef you can click on our crowdfunding campaign page, where we explain why this project is awesome in all possible means, including written words, a video and an animation, and if you like it you might even want to pledge and help us make it a reality.
You might know all about it, if you are following me and the project account on Facebook and Twitter. What you don’t know is the struggle that a group of Italian girls faces in creating a book from scratch in English and for the English market!
As you might guess, language itself is the first obstacle: prepositions play tricks on you when you are translating the recipe into English as our chef is Italian, too; the jargon eludes you and the time you spend looking up culinary terms is actually more that the time it takes to actually write the recipe; some recipes’ names are so Italian that you have to gesture while reading them. Luckily I work in publishing and I have bribed some editor friends to check every single word of our book, with the promise of cookies and other baked goods. They will regret this when they will be facing a recipe called literally “mozzarella in a carriage”.
This brings us to the second struggle, which is the content: we love our culinary traditions and we would happily make a book with only pasta, pizza and other traditional delicacies from our nonna’s (granny) recipe book. We had to restrain our Italian instinct and opt for a selection of British, Italian and cosmopolitan recipes but if we land a book deal, we’ll make sure to make a sequel called My Little Sous-Chef Goes to Italy.
Lo scorso weekend sono stata in Italia per il matrimonio di un’amica, ma non un’amica qualsiasi, bensì una di quelle storiche, conosciute al liceo, quando eravamo pischelle (perdonatemi se, io milanese, mi approprio del romanesco!), quattordicenni un po’ sceme e vestite di rosa shocking, e ora siamo donne (oltre le gambe c’è di più!) con un lavoro e una vita adulta, o per lo meno ci proviamo.
Non mi dilungherò oltre sul valore simbolico ed emotivo dell’occasione, risulterebbe alquanto tedioso, ma ho deciso invece di condividere alcuni punti che hanno colpito il mio cuore di espatriata. Ad esempio:
- Un antipasto a buffet che ci sarei rimasta tutta la sera, saltiamo le portate, saltiamo la torta e rimaniamo qui a ingozzarci di gnocco fritto e salumi!
- Gli amici del liceo, che non vedevo da mesi e mesi, scoprire che fanno dottorati, vivono fuori casa, si fanno tatuaggi e altre cose che Facebook non mi ha mai detto.
- Una vista mozzafiato dalle colline di Bergamo alta, che ti ricorda che in Italia c’è di più della santa trinità Roma-Firenze-Venezia.
- Un 26 di settembre tiepido e soleggiato, tanto da poter stare in abito di seta con schiena totalmente scoperta senza neanche un brividino. E per inciso, ce lo dico da sola, ma eravamo delle damigelle molto gnocche!
- E, ovviamente, una delle tue amiche storiche con un abito bianco da favola che diventa signora, che non te lo saresti person manco fossi stata un’ItalianaSuMarte!
Ancora auguri, Virgi e Gio!
Last weekend I went to Italy to attend a friend’s wedding, and I am not talking about any friend’s wedding here but a Best Friend’s Wedding. In fact, I’ve met the bride when we were fourteen, we were starting high school (which is grade I’m-getting-pimples-and-I-hate-the-world in the Kingdom) with our hot pink clothes and our loud giggles (imagine how loud an ITALIAN fourteen year old girl can be); now we are women with careera and adult lives, even though we kept the loudness and the giggles.
I won’t dwell any longer on the mushy bits, it would be counterproductive for my attempt to retain my readership. On the contrary, I will share some bits and bobs of my friend’s special day that stirred mushy feelings in my expat’s heart. For example:
- A wide selection of fine Italian antipasti, including my beloved Parma ham and gnocco fritto, a pairing that outclasses any other edible, including cake and Nutella.
- A group of friends from high school that I haven’t seen in months, and finding out that they started PhDs, moved house, got tattoos and loads of other things that Facebook never told you.
- A breath-taking view from the top of the hills of Bergamo, to remind you that Italy is much more than the holy trinity Rome-Venice-Florence. Travel suggestion: Bergamo! You heard it here first.
- A glorious end of September day, sunny and warm enough for you to wear a backless silk dress and golden sandals. On a side note, we were a bunch of hot bridesmaids!
- Lastly, seeing one of your Best Friends with a dreamy white dress becoming a Mrs, which is something that Iwould never have missed, even if I’d been an Italian-On-Mars!
Congratulations again, Virgi & Gio!