Sunday, May 11, 2008

to the victor...

go the spoils. look at all my smuggled contraband!!! this doesn't include the four bottles of wine and one bottle of campari we brought back as well (750ml over the customs limit!!!) i am admittedly a pretty scheisty mofo on the best of days (unlike my sister, who is the anti-scheist) and i have absolutely no qualms about lying to canada customs in the name of bringing back 1 kilo of guanciale (cured pork cheeks) (!!!!!!!!), 2 kilos of lardo (!!!!!!!), 1.5 kilos of aged pecorino and wild boar sausages and pancetta and bottarga (salted, dried, codfish roe). i spent an ungodly amount on italian jarred tuna in olive oil (they make our "chunks" of tuna look like cat food) but all told, the amount i spent on food souvenirs is equivalent to how much poor rubes spend on leather belts and purses in san lorenzo market (a big outdoor bazaar). pecorino is so cheap! and there's so many different kinds that we don't get here!

we came in late afternoon and me being me, went buckshot. most people come back, unwind, slowly unpack, and ease their way into their daily lives. not karl lagerfeld, esquire! no no. i HATE having my life not settled and with things not in their rightful place so with me cracking the whip, we were unpacked, vacuumed, clean linened, laundried, and organized for the coming week. i slept at a semi-normal time and woke up just a touch earlier (6:30am?) than my usual but i've been going BUCK. making lists, cleaning, re-organzing, throwing away...somehow this return home to the blessed, clean, poo-scent-free streets of toronto have spurred me to newfound heights of spring-cleaning, hyper-productive fervor. it's sick how happy productivity and organizing make me. straight-up sick.

i'll slowly unspool tales of ital-town over the next few days, replete with some of our 900+ pictures. after all is said and done i'm SO HAPPY i live in toronto. i wouldn't even dream of living in italy for all the money in the world. it's basically a third world country with a thin veneer of ancient ruins to give it the gloss of first-world respectability. it's a crumbling facade of giant, 150-seat macdonald's made out of marble and terrible pizza lurking around every corner to lure unsuspecting tourists to epicurean doom. there is definitely beauty, but it's not the kind of beauty that i particularly adore or would want to make a life in. upon landing, being greeted by the airy, sparkling, organized and well-oiled pearson international airport made me so giddy that i'm lucky enough to make a life here that i wanted to kiss the ground. zipping along the lakeshore all the way home and seeing the lake, and the wide sidewalks and gleaming, sun-dappled, skyline made me immeasurably grateful for the space, toilet paper, state-of-the-art plumbing (where the act of flushing doesn't involve worrisome calculations based on my lamentable understanding of fluid mechanics), and not having to purell my hands 10 billion times a minute. i did love florence and rome (mostly for the food and the company), but they didn't steal my heart. the only real contender for my city-love would still be barcelona.

i'm really a lucky, lucky button. there's so much love and infrastructure in my life. i'm eternally grateful for it all.

today is a day of errands, cleaning, relaxing and dodgeballing, followed by a dinner featuring some of my smuggled, illegal goods. we're craving fresh vegetables like crazy so we're having a radicchio, endive, green bean and tuna salad dressed with olive oil, vinegar, sea salt and cracked black pepper with some toasted smeared with olive tapenade. i've definitely come back with some culinary inspirations, and you'll probably notice a trend towards simple, pared-down, cooking with a minimum of ingredients over the next little while. riverdale farmer's market has started up again, and i think i'm going to let go a little and veer off the obsessive menu planning and shoot from the hip based on what's fresh and tasty-looking some more.


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