16 October 2007

Una Domenica (semi) Italiana

At first, Italian Sundays unnerved me. I was accustomed to my family's concept of The Sunday, which was quite a contrast to the whole catholic observance of the holiday. At my house, it was toss-up between the slave labor let's-teach-the-children-the-value-of-hard- work Sunday, or the quality-family-time-excursion Sunday. The latter of which might sound more appealing, but in reality required loading all of our household belongings in to a car, driving to a body of water, recreating a comfortable living room in the great outdoors, eating a few soggy sandwiches, then re-loading it all and driving back home, where we commenced to unpack. Don't get me wrong, we had great times on Sundays, or at least got a lot of chores done, but it wasn't exactly the "day of rest" I kept hearing so much about.

In Italy, however, I reluctantly discovered what Sunday meant to The Others: the loafers, the eaters, the drinkers. I now regularly partake in Marathon Sunday Lunches, where I rise from the table 6 hours later, my ass flattened, my abs fattened, and my several liters of wine sloshing around in my head. There was I time when I resisted, when drinking in the middle of the day still struck me as so negligent, so idle, so UNPRODUCTIVE. My efficient American sensibilities refused to accept such a careless and irresponsible use of a day. Surely there were back-wrenching chores to be done? Lawn chairs to pack? Soggy sandwiches to choke down? But no, not here, not now. I'll never forget the betrayed look on my Emilio's face the first time I enthusiastically tried to involve him in some highly effective, and exhausting endeavour one Sunday morning. His face fell perceptibly, all he could do was stutter, with quivering lip, "bbbbut... it's.. SUNDAY!"

Now I believe a cultural compromise has been reached. I have discovered that Sunday is the best time to host a dinner or lunch party; the true answer is in the PREPARATION, not simply the consumption of said Sunday meal. My diligent and industrious persona is satisfied while my inner sloth and glutton are finally allowed space in my day. I make a point to do all the grocery shopping on Saturday (actually because nothing here is open on Sunday, the sacred day of rest), that way I wake up at a leisurely hour, and unhurriedly begin to prepare food between multiple cups of coffee, stubbornly sporting my pajamas until an hour before dinner. It's a delicate balance.
Now, with that said, I would like to share with you this week's Sunday Dinner, which I pulled off swimmingly.

Sunday Night Dinner for 5:

  • Spicy olives
  • Peanuts in shell
  • Roasted garlic and goat cheese crostini
  • Toasted walnuts, goat cheese and dried fig crostini
  • Creamy bell pepper dip crostini
  • Tuna, Salmon and Avocado Tartare
Dessert (brought by the guests):
  • Strawberry cream cake
  • Marron Glacé


LaLaLaLeah said...

Love it. Love the commentary. Love the menu. Love you.

Nisa said...

This all looks good but what I wanna know is, where's the pie? :-)