My Big, Fat Italian Birthday Party

   Posted by: GG Vandagriff   in Uncategorized

My hostess, Elisabetta, was kind enough to invite me to her own home for the birthday party of her son, Cosimo.  I felt like I was in an old Italian movie.  All that was missing was the accordian music.  There was the grandmother, dumpling shaped and dressed all in black, her gray hair waved in finger waves by her face and drawn back into a braided bun.  And, of course, she had no teeth.  All of this was very satisfactory until I realized that she was only two years older than me (who came in jeans and a turtleneck).  Oh, my! 

Then there was the wine.  I felt so bad, because I think it was bought especially for me.  There was also champagne.  They already think my religion is strange, so I didn’t dare tell them that it was because of my religion I didn’t drink, but they kept pouring me wine and asking me to just take a sip. I felt really sad to disappoint them.  But they were so happy and laughing and telling me everything that was happening on the television (which was on the whole time we were eating.)

Eating brings me to the amazing food.  First there was a kind of vegetable potato salad that the grandmother made.  Then there was spaghetti with mussels and shrimp (yummy!) as especially requested by Cosimo.  Next, there was spinach tortellini with tomato sauce and fresh cheese. That was when I reached my limit.  I told E. to just box the rest of mine up and I would take it back to the b & b.  She thought this was funny.  (Of course, everything was funny to her because of the vino).  Next was the main course: barbecued steak.  Cosimo kept putting the biggest one on my plate, but of course, I couldn’t eat it, so I kept putting it back on the platter.  Then they insisted I try just a bite with fresh lemon.  Ugh!  I don’t recommend it.  Finally, the piece de resistance: the torte.  I couldn’t turn that down.  It was a vision—kiwi, grapes, oranges (blood and regular)all on a delicate pastry crust overlaid with sweet cream sauce and then gelatin to make it shiny.  It was a lovely, happy meal.

I’ve been sick with a sore throat, so I had to miss my last Sunday at church, and haven’t gotten much writing done, but I forced myself out on the streets today to do my final shopping.  Friends and family, you have some lovely Florentine gifts coming!  I realized how important it was to push myself past the pain in my joints if I’m going to stay mobile.  I definitely felt better after I came home than I did before I left.  Also—this is hilarious—some Japaniese tourists, thinking I was from Florence, asked me directions, handing me their map.  The old city is so confusing, but I actually managed to find the spot where we were standing on his map to show him that he was quite a bit off course.  Morgan, stop laughing!

Have done everything on my list except to visit the Palazzo Vecchio.  Unfortunately, Briggie and Alex are going to have to find a way into the Medici Library.  They wouldn’t let me in today, so I have no idea what it looks like, but it is huge.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 at 7:00 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 comments so far


Fantastic food! I’ve thought about your trip and have set a goal to do the same!!!

February 8th, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Can’t believe you will be returning home so soon, Your adventures have been so delightfully entertaining and descriptive.
Come safely home dear friend!

February 8th, 2011 at 11:59 pm

I also can’t believe you are getting ready to come home so quickly. I have loved reading these posts and getting a glimpse of Florence from you.

I’m salivating at the thought of the food. Wow. Especially that torte! Yum!

February 9th, 2011 at 4:19 pm

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