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Friday, December 16, 2011

Deja Vu Blog Fest

 DL Hammons had this great idea, and, together with Creepy Query Girl, Nicole Ducleroir, and Lydia Kang, is sponsoring the Deja Vu Blogfest.  The guidelines require re-running a favorite blogs post so it gets some more "air time." You'll find one of my favorites below:
Check out the other participants and have a great weekend!

A Hunger for Words

“The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.” Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way.

Saturday my husband, daughter and I drove to Rhode Island on a preliminary college reconnaissance mission. After strolling through curving asphalt paths past the red-brick buildings at University #2, we took a detour through Providence, up through Federal Hill to a specialty Italian Food Emporium that I visited seven years ago, but have not been to since.

We had no plan to purchase, only to wander around the large central glass case where soft lights shined on home-made Italian delicacies, layered lasagnas, breaded eggplants, stuffed green artichokes, bracciole and hard sticks of imported pepperoni. My mouth salivated at the bins of briny olives, wedges of salty Parmigiano Reggiano, meaty slabs of prosciutto, expensive green olive oils, and balsamic vinegars that pour like syrup. We inhaled the scent of garlic and stared at the side wall-freezers stacked with frozen flavored raviolis—butternut squash, lobster, mushroom and cheese.

Around us, clerks spoke in Italian accented English, and in the corners, white haired men sat at marble tables, black button-up shirts opened at the neck as they sipped red wine and a yellow drink I took for Limoncello. Any temptation we had to open our wallet faded at the line of customers stacked two deep in front of a smiling cashier. We left, after savoring the complimentary pizzelle slathered with Nutella a cheerful clerk offered us, wishing for five more circuits through the store, a bottomless purse, and a walk-in freezer back home in which to store the delicacies. Can you believe that we only went to look?

Of course I longed to buy things at the store in Providence, but rationalized not doing so by labeling it a big-picture visit. We would have relished the Nicoise olives I wanted to buy, the quarter pound of textured cheese I imagined ordering, the anticipation of dinner as we plunged lobster ravioli into boiling salted water—we would have savored it all—but then—it would have been gone—a short term extravagance, swallowed and then forgotten.

Instead I left empty-handed but dreaming about the store offerings, which I subsequently cataloged to use at my own discretion. Now that the images and smells from Saturday reside in my memory, I can pull them out when I want to serve them in a story, as an appetizer or a dinner, arranged on a bright blue terracotta platter beside a stem of plump red grapes and a sweating bottle of chilled white wine. I can slice hard sausage and place it in layers on a decorative plate along with ripe tomatoes and dripping mozzarella, dribbling the whole thing with aged balsamic. I can serve steaming artichoke hearts and lemon aioli beside plump stuffed mushrooms, using an ornate silver spoon—or slather garlic infused white bean puree onto toasted ciabatta bread, sprinkling the tops with chopped green parsley.

I can eat until my stomach protests, or graze, an olive here, a sliver of cheese there, a dip of bread into a simmering pink vodka sauce. The feast can arrive at midnight, or three in the morning or for breakfast, and I can offer it to friends or eat it all by myself, licking my fingers one by one when finished. In brief, I can dish up whatever I want, when I want, with whom I want, and however I choose to design the layout of the luxurious repast, well, it all came to me for free.


26 comments:

Jennifer Shirk said...

Well, all those details you stored were worth it, because you did an fantastic job describing all that food. My mouth was watering!

Sarah said...

This post made me really hungry, and I've already eaten breakfast. Fortunately for me, I work in Providence (and live in MA!), so I suppose I could stop in Federal Hill after work. Nice to meet you, Liza!

Old Kitty said...

A pizzelle slathered in Nutella?!?!?! As in chocolate nutella?!?! Oh to DIE for!!

Yay!! Take care
x

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Your descriptions of the food were almost as good as seeing and smelling it for myself. But, now, I'm afraid I'm gonna have to fix some Italian dish for dinner tonight ...

Ciara said...

I'm hungry now. :) I'm a new follower from the Deja Vu blog. It's nice to meet you.

DL Hammons said...

I'm sure glad I didn't stumble across this post at dinner time because I'd be dragging my wife out the door headed to the nearest Italian eatery. You defintely have a strong command of descriptive imagery and I loved your illustration of how any experiences can be ammunition for future writings.

Thank you for taking part in our blogfest and making today so special!! :)

Yvonne Osborne said...

I just had to find out what this deja vu blogfest was all about... showing up in my blogroll again and again. I'm just having my morning coffee and I'm already hungry. Olives are such a mainstain in many cultures, and as you evidently know,presentation is everything!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I bet you can make dishes even tastier than what you saw in the store.
And now I want Italian...

Carol Kilgore said...

We lived in New York for several years. I miss those places. My mouth is watering.

But you don't have good homemade tamales :)

Happy Weekend!

Helen Ginger said...

Man, that all sounds delicious. I'm rather hungry, but nothing in my fridge would compare to what you just described!

Margo Kelly said...

Hello! I'm a new follower from the DejaVu Blogfest. Nice to meet you!

Anne Gallagher said...

You did it to me again, Liza. Federal Hill is one of my favorite haunts and I know exactly the store where you were.

On New Year's Eve my cousin would always throw a big Italian dinner party and I miss it more than anything. I'd kill right now for a slice of decent prosciutto!

Lydia Kang said...

Deliciously said. This is a great post, and reminds us all about how these memories can be "dished" up at will for our writing.

Julie said...

Oh my goodness, this is such a great post. I'm hungry now! :D New follower from the Deja Vu fest and it's so great to meet you, what a wonderful blog you have.

Catherine Denton said...

Brilliant! And calorie free. Awesome idea idea of collecting images to use later.
My Blog

Donna K. Weaver said...

Those are wonderful images and, as Catherine said, calorie free. I'm terrible at description and so jealous of people who have a gift for it.

Vicki Rocho said...

I'd like to dip some bread in that pink vodka sauce, please. I've never had such a thing but it sounds decadent!

Coleen Patrick said...

Super hungry now ;) and longing for a trip to New England or Italy (why not?).
Thanks for sharing!

LynNerdKelley said...

Oh man, your post is making me hungry. My mouth is watering. I better go eat lunch! So nice to meet you during this blogfest!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Lovely descriptions of the food, suddenly I have become hungry.
Pleased I visited.

Yvonne.

Nisa said...

Mmmm! Now that my stomach is growling. Hehe! Great job!

Lost_without_a_Map said...

Oh wow, you are magical. I was with you experiencing what you experienced. My dinner won't nearly compare. You are one of those who can sell an air conditioner to an Eskimo. Beautiful…simply beautiful.

Nancy Thompson said...

Okay, now I'm hungry. And I just ate, too!

Nice to meet you, Liza! I'm a new follower via the blogfest.

mshatch said...

Oh, I LOVED this! I could practically see, smell, and taste this little store. And isn't cool how we can savor these moments and then use them later. Great re-post :)

Hywela Lyn said...

Sorry to be so late coming here, I'm trying to catch up with all the blogs I missed in this event and am loving visiting them all!

Theresa Milstein said...

Good details. The eyes and nose enjoy food, but the mouth is where the real fun happens.