July newsletter – Symi, Puglia, Ferentino, Rome and plans for Marrakech and Sicily – perpetual motion , a rolling stone, but I can live without moss !

July newsletter – Symi, Puglia, Ferentino, Rome and plans for Marrakech and Sicily – perpetual motion , a rolling stone, but I can live without moss !

June has been a busy month. I got home from Istanbul and was plunged into a social whirl as all my friends from overseas seemed to choose the same week to visit Rome. I discovered two new exciting trattoria in Testaccio (details in next letter) and my long-time favourite ‘La Tavernaccia’ has re-opened after extensive renovation. I was a little worried it might be spoiled but the exposed stone is lovely and makes a fitting frame for the traditional Roman cooking.
I had a new experience when I organized a lesson and dinner for a large group of Mormons from Salt Lake City at Cecila Metella on the Appia Antica. The company, do Terra,  produces edible essential oils and from the samples they sent me we invented a refreshing aperitivo adding fennel and sweet orange to sparkling mineral water.
After this event it was time to pack up kitchen equipment and make shopping lists for Symi. At the end of this newsletter I will cut and paste the posts I have written about the lovely week we had.
My 7 year old granddaughter is coming to stay with me for a week and I will be busy trying to provide interesting Italian vegetarian food for her. God forbid she doesn’t like my cooking ! The older boys have always been great fans so I have to keep it up !
I drove down to Ferentino late Friday evening and yesterday morning I slipped out to get milk, bread and fresh eggs before the day really started. While I was out I ordered fruit and vegetables and groceries to be delivered later, and enjoyed a peaceful coffee before strolling home. When I went to get out my house keys I found they had been left in the house, together with my car keys and mobile phone. There is usually someone in another part of the house to let me into the courtyard and get the emergency set of keys but yesterday the house was deserted. I stood outside for 4 hours, surrounded by bags of shopping that kept being delivered. Ferentino is very friendly and everyone passing stayed a few minutes to give moral support. The Carabinieri stopped their car but they had no helpful suggestions and when I suggested the ‘pompieri’ they said they would refuse to come ! Very strange, can it be true ? My elderly neighbour who does meticulous repairs to hems and zips came three times to tell me she could not swallow her ‘minestra’ thinking of my plight, so I felt guilt added to the physical discomfort of standing. Eventually Pio, the keeper of the spare keys, drove up and I was able to get in and finally sit down. It took me a while to summon up the energy to put the food away.
Next year I am not planning a gourmet adventure in India but I have already booked a ticket for myself because I have come to rely on that February escape. The April Marrakech class is already full so I am thinking of repeating it in early November and next year I am putting in Sicily in early summer. It means we don’t get to see the olive oil harvest but after the TV Montalbano series I have had several requests to include the splendid sea near Scicli and Ragusa. In August I am driving down to Puglia for a family holiday and to make the final plans for the October week. There are still some places so do look it up.

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