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Crostate Exam

October 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

So I have the gang over for dinner one night because my parents are in town and want to meet the people they’ve been hearing so much about. My parents We make a lot of nice things to eat. A fonduta of young Pecorino, hazelnuts, thyme, and honey. Guacamole and frijoles negros. Eggplant parmigiana. Arroz a la Valenciana. I also do a banana bread because it’s my mission to educate my deprived Italian friends on the wonders of American baked goods. Piercarlo simply can’t imagine bread made of bananas, and neither can the rest so it’s what those ignorant mofos are getting for dessert. But then, as the dinner hour grows near, I soften up and decide to pick up a crostata on the way home from the office. Because I’m having a memory issue these days, I scribble the word on the back of my hand. Laugh all you want, but it’s the only thing that’s keeping me fed and clothed. Notepads and phone alarms are useless in the face of this recent memory lapse. When I write things I need to remember on my hand, the word winks up at me as I type, and gets further lodged into my brain when others ask: What’s that on your hand? And it works; after an afternoon of typing and listening to Old Man Antonio rant, I remember to drop by the bakery.

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Keeper of the Castle: A Play in One Act

October 22, 2011 in spazarific


E: Writer. American. Early 30s. Breathtakingly gorgeous.

OLD MAN ANTONIO: Pensioner. Early 60s. Italian. Haunts the bar where Liv goes to write. Scatters outrageous, unsolicited advice like so much birdseed.

MARCO: Policeman. Italian. Mid-40s. MARCO was once one of E’s interview subjects for an article she was planning to write.

FRANCESCO: MARCO’s friend. Italian. Also mid-40s.

DOMENICO: The owner of Bar Girasole. Italian. Mid-40s.

MASSIMO: Barista. Italian. Early 20s. Jacked, handsome, painfully shy.

GENOEFFA and CINZIA: Local girls. Italian. Early 20s. In heat.


Bar Girasole, where E goes to write and OLD MAN ANTONIO apparently spends every hour of his retirement. Modern day. Terracina, Italy. E is sitting at her usual table, working on Chapter 28 of her novel and drinking a strawberry-flavored hot chocolate. OLD MAN ANTONIO enters the bar.

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October 20, 2011 in spazarific

You guys, look what my friends give me:

That’s apple cake and prune crostata from Maria, mandarins and pickled eggplants from Flora, and pesto and currant jam from Pierluigi’s mom.

I love these people.


October 12, 2011 in spazarific

I don’t know how you expect me to concentrate on anything when I had this for dinner last night.

Thoughts wandering all over the place.

This post has been brought to you by Wanderfood Wednesday.

Usurpers to the Throne

October 11, 2011 in spazarific


The usual hours and the usual parking spot and the usual teenage boys behind the bar who take bets on what flavor of fruit juice I’ll be drinking today; if I’ll accept the aperitivo or no; if I’ll get any writing done while Old Man Antonio lectures me on exactly what my problem is (I have many). The caffè has become a physiologist’s bell for me and I am a salivating dog; without it, without my usual routine of street-facing table, fruit juice in a tall glass on ice with a straw, the white noise of espresso machine and old man nonsense, I do not write. Every day from 5 to 8. The undisputed bright spot of my day.

But sometimes, I roll up to the caffèwalk through the doors, take off my hat and sunglasses – and I see this:

A crew of unauthorized bitches at my table.

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