Rainy weekend: of food, drinks and games.

Trip Start Jul 04, 2007
Trip End Sep 04, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Minnesota
Monday, August 20, 2007

Hello world!

I am back after a little absence, which I regret, but unfortunately the last few days have been quite uneventful. With that I'm not trying to say that they have been plain and boring - even if sometimes I was bored - but that I've been busy mainly with work at the office that in some way kept me from doing exciting stuff worth recording.

Above all I haven't taken as many pictures as I would have liked, but even in this case it's been because of a mixture of poor opportunities and even poorer weather.

The weekend was a perfect example of this. I spent the whole of Saturday at home cos it was pouring outside and I ended up watching an almost endless series of films - all excellent ones though, such as The Princess and The Warrior from the same director of Run Lola Run, and both House of Flying Daggers and Hero. After the movie marathon I relaxed cooking lasagne and had a great supper with Maribel, my host here in Minneapolis, chatting about physics and the quest for God.

Sunday, was different. It was raining even more than Saturday, but I had promised myself I wouldn't stay at home no matter what, so in the late morning I was ready to go out regardless of the adverse weather. This local singer, a blues/country artist called Charlie Parr, was playing for free at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) and I really wanted to check his gig out, and destiny wanted that a friend of a friend was on her way there too, so I got a lift and also a lift back home. Twelve hours later.

After watching the gig and looking around the museum - which has remarkable collections, a mixture of ancient and modern art from every corner of the world - Kelly and I had a beer and then she invited me to go with her to a barbecue that some friends of her were having at their house outside Minneapolis. "Yeah, why not?" I said and we were off on her car.

It was an interesting day, mostly spent playing board games, drinking cocktails and wine, and eating a lot of food. It was Sunday after all, and what a better way to spend a rainy, lazy afternoon that around a table having a laugh...

I was actually talking about that with Darren, our host for the day, during a break from the gaming frenzy. He's married with an Italian girl called Francesca, so he totally understood me when I mentioned that dinner parties are some of the most important and sacred happenings in Italian culture - and European in general I suppose.

Eating and drinking have a powerful bonding energy within them, and every occasion that involves sitting around a table with friends, friends' friends, relative and all, is always entertaining and a source of personal growth.

Everything and anything can be discussed in a convivial situation, when the mood is usually much more relaxed - thanks also to the booze - and pressure to impress is absent.

Living in England I have noticed that this aspect of familiar life is often underrated, a fact that it's easily noticeable from the average home layout for instance. In the UK - and I am sure this could be said of the US too - kitchens are small spaces that you only use to cook, while guests are entertained in the sitting room and supper is served in the dining room. The kitchen feels like a no-go zone, a sort of backstage that only members of staff are allowed into.

In Italy, kitchens are bigger and they always have a table in them, which a family will use to eat regularly, and more often than not, even when they have somebody over for dinner. Guests and hosts hang out in the kitchen while food is being prepared.

I've always found this side of my native culture very fascinating and I'm drawn towards this kind of approach in London too. To me, the kitchen is definitely the most important space in my house, the one where I spend most of my time and where I like to have the most profound converations, sipping a glass of wine while I'm working on some nice dish for my friends.

But I understand that that might also be because I love cooking, which is my way of being creative. Other people may think otherwise, and love entertaining guests in front of the TV....but hey, who am I to judge?

Seriously, opinions on this topic are more than welcome.

Stay tuned.     
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