A Wonder-ful Morning in Sicily

March 2, 2013

After three days of dreary downpours and hellish winds–during which I worked so slavishly on a translation that getting out of my PJs completely slipped my mind–Saturday dawned sunny! I put on real clothes and clickety-clacked my way down to the piazza with Marcella Hazan in my bag.

I dropped into a chair, leafed through Marcella, and wondered: will I EVER be able to cook like an Italian?

I am studying this 1973 book–bought for a buck at a library sale–as if it were the Bible itself. I’m trying one recipe a day and have loved every one. (The updated version is Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking).

Sicilian Breakfast, copyright Jann Huizenga

Then I looked at the palms waving overhead and wondered: Will you survive, dear friends?

Horrible winged black bugs are eating palm trees to death in Sicily. Our piazza has already lost one. I mourned it like I’d mourn a best friend.

Palm trees in Ragusa Ibla, copyright Jann Huizenga

I looked to the right and I saw a gaggle of guys. I got up and asked for a photo. They were a little shy, especially when I spoke to them in English. They wore braces. They were sweet sixteen.

Sicilian Teens, copyright Jann Huizenga

I remember the braces I wore at that age, gap-toothed and horribly shy.

And I wondered: Would I like to be sixteen again?

Would you?

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Not Guilty

February 18, 2013

I believe this about breakfast: you absolutely must eat a healthy one.

The breakfast I eat in Sicily goes against everything I hold true.

I ingest a big fat brioche (brioscia) oozing with chocolate or pistachio paste, snowy with powdered sugar. Along with a sugary shot of caffeine.

But the guilt I feel is only a passing blip on the radar of my emotions before Euphoria sets in. Does my lack of shame stem from the fact that everyone else on the island is doing it, too?

Sicilian Breakfast, copyright Jann Huizenga
Or because, to get my hands on these treats, I have to haul myself down one hundred steps?

Steps in Ragusa Ibla, copyright Jann Huizenga

And then haul myself back up like some kind of alpinist?

Steps in Ragusa Ibla, copyright Jann Huizenga

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