Apr 28, 2009

Three Weeks in Italy: Rome, Palermo, Pisa, Florence

Camilla writes, at long last:

"It’s been a long time since I last wrote here and to those of you who check in I apologize. I’ve been too busy getting back into the groove of New York living and meeting a deadline. But now the mail and magazines are read, my jet lag is over, and the deadline is almost met. I got back from Italy twenty days ago with more photos, more wonderful dishes to try to recapture in my tiny kitchen, more memories to brightly color bleak moments. And wonderful news.

Rome to Palermo
It was a three week trip. First a few days in Rome to visit with family and friends, then off to Palermo for the book reading of the Italian version of The Price of Silence with my wonderfully exuberant and brilliant translator, Erika Bianchi. We basked in the sunlight, the beauty of the city, and the warmth of the bookstore owners and staff at Modus Vivendi. I didn’t want to leave.

Sicilian Pasta Norma
And the food! That pasta with eggplant and ricotta I mentioned earlier is a Sicilian specialty called Pasta Norma. Erika cooked it one night at her place. It was delicious. Now I want to give it a try in my tiny kitchen with American eggplant and ricotta. If the results are good I’ll pass along the recipe. Of course, you can probably find it on the FoodNetwork, but I have more fun doing it on my own. I love sharing the recipes. Each of my seven mysteries had an original recipe at the end. It’s my Facebook, my way of making friends.

Pisa to Florence
After Palermo Erika and I flew to Pisa and took a bus to Florence where I stayed for two weeks. I taught eleven hours of creative writing at The Institute at Palazzo Rucellai.

In my free time I wandered the city with Erika, window shopping, having delicious lunches and ice creams (my hips now abound in them), even cooking a few dinners at her place. No matter how hard I tried, I never won over Erika’s five-year-old son, Ulisse. He’d look at the plate of crabmeat lasagna or at the chicken breast cooked in butter, lemon and capers, wrinkle up his handsome face and declare “Disgusting!” But it wasn’t all bad. Erika just told me that on Easter Sunday he announced to his great grandmother that he liked coming home to an apartment filled with the aroma of whatever I was cooking. Maybe next time he’ll eat something."