I've never been to Italy, but I was recently invited to a fantastic event hosted by Kim Orlando of Traveling Mom.com, Beth Feldman of RoleMommy.com, and Andrea Sertoli at Select Italy, his Soho loft/cooking school. First, let me say it was like entering a geode; from Bowery and a nondescript entryway and elevator to an open-armed loft filled with lovely company, extraordinary good will and hospitality, a vast square table that seated about 30 of us, and exquisite food.
I learned to make a little edible cheese basket for salads (we all did; some of the women writers dancing more fervently than others to cool the cheese/polenta mixture in the pan), red snapper baked in foil, and the adorably-named gnudi, pasta sans pasta--just the filling (oh, the filling!) piped out of pastry sleeves, then boiled, then baked.
Yum! Yum! Not just the food, but the conversation. I knew one woman there when I arrived (though it turns out I knew some from cyberspace...or they knew me, and then meeting them in all three dimensions was a joy), and a whole roomful when I left.
I wish I was having a catered affair so I could hire the charming Andrea Tiberi (it was a night of several Andreas), but if you live in the Tri-state area, I highly recommend that you do. I was also very tempted by all the Select Italy tours--making frescos with your family! Driving a Ferrari on the Italian roads! (okay, maybe not that one, though it looked scenic) Hiking in the Italian Alps! Definitely on my someday to do list.
This week's writing topic: Write about a place you've never been. Write for twenty minutes. As a bonus topic, make a list of trips you've taken--disastrous, fabulous, enchanting, nauseating...choose one to write about for another twenty.
And if you feel like sharing, that is, about a nonfictional trip, go visit Traveling Mom. You might just publish an essay with her, and inspire (or warn!) the rest of us. Happy Spring, writers on and all!