Monday, February 6, 2012

"Cavallo di Battaglia"

When RoseAngela saw my high heeled shoes she asked how in the world I could walk with them and not fall in the snow. She told me she would be so nervous and I had a lot of courage. Don't know if it was more courage or just dumb thinking. That's why Tyson carried Taryn to church in the baby pack because we both knew there was a good chance I was going to have a very close encounter with the snow. I was lucky I didn't totally eat it (why oh why didn't one of my two pairs of boots make it on my packing list??!!!) My toes were frozen -oops! guess water soaks up real fast with my black heels. With only tights on to warm my feet ( probably the best purchase ever for me) I was dying, trying to curl my toes to grip as I walked. I didn't want to complain, I did this to myself. I've always been the kinda girl who says the whole Beauty is pain thing, but this was a whole different level. Dumb-maybe? (Yes)

Before church had started RoseAngela, who learned English when she lived in San Francisco for a year, was on the phone with her 86 year old mother. She came to me with her phone to her ear and said, "My mother has boots for you to wear. Will you come with me after church to her house to pick them up? And will you come and join us for lunch too?"

I was so impressed with her sincere generosity to help me and my cold feet. And for her wonderful mother feeding us amazing food and letting me borrow her awesome snow boots. I couldn't stop saying "Grazie, mille" . My feet are so warm now. I don't have to watch my step anymore as I walk through the snow. I feel more brave to conquer the streets with Taryn bundled up knowing that I can plow through the snow walls if need be with the stroller or on foot.

We tried an amazing Potato and Aritchoke casserole which RoseAngela calls her mother's "Cavallo di Battaglia" or battle horse- her strongest recipe, wonderful tagliatelle pasta with tomato sauce, butter & parmesan , Turkey prepared in the way of Southern Italy, and this amazing thin beef roll with a special filling. I asked for the recipes so I can try to recreate them myself and also make them for our families when we go home. I was thrilled to stand in the kitchen watching her mother move about with perfect fluid motion. You would never know she was 86 years old. She is full of life and has the best laugh. When she stirred, flipped, and attended to her sauce, it was like watching a wonderful conductor leading a beautiful orchestra, with the hiss of cooking foods and the aroma that made my mouth water. She & RoseAngela kindly explained the process of preparing each dish and I took copious mental notes.

The apron says, "I'm not messy anymore!"

We learned the great differences between those of the north and of the south in Italy. RoseAngela's father was from the South and her mother from the North. Such a combination can be difficult, as the cultures are greatly different, even the Italian they speak. Her mother spoke about how when she met her husband's mother, she couldn't understand one word she spoke, and it was Italian!

Taryn wandered throughout the rooms, finding a great fascination with the mirrored walls & beautiful cupboards that had keys to lock them. Taryn demonstrated how obedient she is when she backed away from the beautiful China that was stacked in those cupboards when we told her "No, no" and moved onto other things to look at. She was curious and loved every inch of this new place, giving smiles and laughs to everyone when she turned a corner. She floated from place to place, enjoying the novelty of a couch, and gazing through books of France and Italy.

I thought a lot about our Grandmothers after we left. I think there is such a purity to these wonderful women who have done so much for their posterity. Endless dinners, clothes mending, boo-boo fixing, sweet hugs, smiles, stories of the little blue bird on the window sill (Grandma Larsen), organizing, uplifting words, courageous acts, dealing with hardships, birthday cards or cards for any reason at all (Grandma Scott) and their laughs. I love to watch these beautiful women. Taryn won't be able to meet her wonderful great-grandmothers who have already passed, Great- grandma Smith, Great- grandma Johnson or Great- grandma Larsen. But maybe she will have the opportunity to meet her Great-grandma Scott. All are such special ladies and I hope that we can fill our childrens minds with the stories of lives.

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