Thursday, November 25, 2010
Early Thanksgiving Morning
It is early Thanksgiving morning, and since it is going to be a very full day, I wanted to get a posting out before all hell breaks loose. For starters, I want to talk a bit more about our recent trip to Italy. Having lived there for a year back in 2003-04, we have made some friends one of whom is Giulia. After we returned to NC in the summer of '04, Giulia and her friend Claudia came to the states and spent Thanksgiving with us. Since these 2 women had taken such good care of us at our favorite wine bar--Fuori Porta--it was a real treat for us to show them what an American Thanksgiving was all about. After visiting with us they then went to Austin, TX to see our friends Craig and Renee.
Because of these visits, Giulia's parents wanted to have us to their house the next time we visited Italy. So CKay and I went with Giulia to have a meal with her folks. It seemed like Thanksgiving all over again in that there was so much food that her mother had made--crostini fiorentini, pasta bolognese, pork, goat, potatoes, etc. Lots of wine was consumed along with her father's homemade grappa. And all the talk had to be mostly translated thru Giulia because her parents speak very little english.
On our most recent trip we went again and this time Craig and Renee joined us. Giulia made a great pureed squash and chick pea soup to start. Her father made the classic salt cod dish called baccala. The top photo is of Craig and partially of CKay with the huge skillet of baccala sitting in front of them. Like the first visit, we all had a fine time getting to know our friend Giulia's family a bit more, and sharing simple Tuscan food together.
Also when we lived in Florence, we spent a lot of time trying various pizza places. Most pizza in Florence is the very thin crust pies, but there are a few places that make the Napoli style pizza which has a crust more like what we are used to here in the states. Our favorite Napoli pizza joint was a 5 minute walk from our apartment. We would get a couple of margarita pizzas made with fresh mozzarella to take home where we would add our own extra toppings like arugula or prosciutto.
The bottom photo above is of Vicenzo, il pizzaiuolo (the pizza maker), and the margarita pizzas he made for us on our last trip. He makes pizzas 6 days a week from 7:30 PM until midnite, usually 4 at a time. When my daughter Jess would come with me to pick up the pizzas, he would make one in a heart shape for her. When Vicenzo goes on vacation, the pizza place is closed.
Changing the subject back to birding, today is the end of week #47. There are only 5 weeks left in this big year, but the flurry of rarities has continued. A tufted flycatcher was seen last Sunday at Big Bend NP, but not reported until Tuesday. Yesterday's search by local birders came up empty, but they are going to try again today. And the brown shrike was relocated in northern CA yesterday. So while I am very much looking forward to sharing a Thanksgiving meal with my family later today, I also am thinking about how to get to CA to try to see the shrike. Stay tuned!