Handcuffs & The Devil Made Me Do It

Posted on August 2, 2011


Dear Sugo,

The best sauce is the kind that takes hours to create. It can be so simple but the time is what makes it special. Boiling 15 kilos of tomato, slicing carrots, red onion, celery and choosing pieces of fresh basil is the easy part…waiting for the tomatoes to cool down enough so that you can tear off the skin? Time. Waiting for the mirepoix to soften? Time. Distracting the kids with the film Avatar? Free time! Extracting the seeds to create a perfectly smooth sauce? A secret tool… I learned about a new piece of kitchen equipment that I know for sure that I am bringing home with me…I don’t care how cheap or expensive this thing is: I NEED it! It sort of looks like a strainer with a crank attached. The name in Italian is something with the letter “P” (again I failed not writing the new word down…sorry!) But basically it is a fancy Made in Italy food mill or strainer for sauce. It de-seeds the sauce and leaves it still thick and tasty with no chunks. Perfection at its best. The entire house smelled SO incredible and it was nice to actually be a part of something that I know is time-consuming but something that I truly enjoy. The boy’s nanny before me has been coming over to help with the house and be with the kids. She is the master mind behind all the cooking so it made sense to ask her to come and help take care of the canning and preparation of the tons of tomato that T bought in Tarquinia. Seriously, there were tomatoes EVERYWHERE in the kitchen. I joked and asked if we were opening a restaurant since they were taking over the kitchen!

In the end together we canned TEN jars of gorgeous sauce…Check it out!

Today she came back to help clean the house and help T pack the kids clothes for our next trip to the mountains. We leave on Friday and sadly the weather in the mountains is not looking to great. It is NOT hot which will be nice but I am unsure about actually catching any sun and playing at the pool…which makes me on edge. I cannot imagine spending too much time in the tiny house…it is such a gorgeous place we are meant to be outside. I had a conversation with S the other day about real Italian “holiday” time off and it is perfectly normal (it would be strange if people didn’t do this!) to cut out for 4 weeks minimum and when you return to your real life and work that you do not actually go back to work until a Wednesday or Thursday NEVER a Monday! These people are pure genius…come back from a long trip and only work two days? Done. Even the movie theatre below us is closed for a month! The movies?! Believe that!

When we went to the park this morning we took the bus to a farther one since the close park has been closed for some reason (on Holiday!?)  The kids really like the bus and always want to run around and it is work to try to control them while the driver is making sudden stops and braking like he knows and hopes they stumble. Finally, they shared a seat together and began playing their version of “what am I thinking of?” game. My sisters and I used to play this game when we were young and these boys are the right age. I didn’t know that this game is common across the country…I thought that we made it up when we were little: I am sure now that ALL siblings have a game like this! I like the way the kids hold up their hand and stare into their palm when they are “thinking” as if they are reading their hands…then they ask the other something like, “what color am I thinking?” and the other usually guesses within only two guesses! I got to play a little today but I changed the game to English words so I could participate and make them practice their words!

Today was also the kids father’s birthday so we had a grand time setting up the dining room with crepe paper, balloons, and a giant “Happy Birthday” home-made banner. Each sheet of paper was a letter and we cut out things in magazines and colored each one. The kids sang to him in English and he was pretty surprised by all the decorations and the table setting. For dinner we had fresh pasta with the yummy sauce. Nana even stayed to eat with us and have some perfectly crisp white wine. Then we had a gorgeous gelato CAKE that was mixed berries with a sweet layer of mango and the crust was fluffy and light like a freshly baked sugar cookie..oh my goodness! It was from Vice (the best gelato in Rome..for sure…hands down) the reason that we got this type of cake for him was because EVERYTHING was closed on our way home from taking the kids to get their haircut! It literally took 2.5 hours just for two little spaz heads to get cut..not because they were wild (they were but only because they had to WAIT for 2 hours in the tiny salon!) it was just BUSY! There were three other gentlemen ahead of the boys and “Pino” the stylist was an image I won’t forget. He had the wildest black mess of hair I have seen…he wore jeans and tennis shoes…a real plain type guy but was fancy with the scissors and with the mens hair dye! I felt guilty like I was in the mens bathroom for too long..watching these old dudes dye their grey, trim their nose hairs, and read car magazines and the paper. It was strictly a salon for Uomo (men!) only and here T and I were trying to control the wild kids with plastic guns and handcuffs!

T thought it might be a good idea to get “real” cuffs and that could be a solution for Tommaso’s madness! She really makes me laugh. After dinner today the parents explained to me that Tommaso claims that he has the “diavolo” the DEVIL with him sometimes and that is why he “behaves badly!” I laughed and had an image of a devil/angel on his tiny shoulders poking him with a pitchfork…I think that he watches too much cartoons and that the Diavolo is NOT really “with” him when he acts up!



Posted in: When in Rome