Posts Tagged ‘eating’

My cousin’s favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, and we shared the holiday with her and her husband for many years. This year, she was in the midst of packing to move and I wasn’t travelling, so we endeavored to have Thanksgiving at our house, even though I wouldn’t be able to assist in preparations. Our family, cousins and sister’s family chipped in on the cooking and cleanup to make a beautiful Thanksgiving feast. And to my utter delight, I was able to take my first bites of food beginning that week. Thanksgiving was particularly poignant as we all were so grateful for my survival and beginning recovery. Recovery began and proceeded, marked by small advances through December and January. One drain out; then another. First shower. First food after months of IV feeding. Weight gain (I had lost 15 lbs.) Walking further. Driving. Pain lessening. I scheduled the prophylactic mastectomy for June, sure I would be well enough to have the next surgery in seven months.

To be continued . . . . . .


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Is it the comfort of the familiarity of my hometown or is it simply the energy of the city that makes the blood in my veins flow faster? When I step out of Grand Central Station into the throngs of humanity, my body automatically goes into high awareness – of my surroundings, the sights, sounds and (oh not so pleasant) smells. It is hot and muggy, reminding me of one of the reasons I happily left NY behind for the fresh air of the country. It has been half my life now that I have lived away from NY but I have never let go of my “New York-ishness.” I will forever be a New Yorker. As they say, “You can take a girl out of New York but you can’t take the New York out of a girl.”

As I leave Grand Central my first thought is to protect my valuables. The second is, “What do I want to taste first?” So many options; only so much time and stomach space. The salted soft pretzels scream out, but no. Why would I want to fill up on this empty (but so appealing) food? I see the black and white cookies and resist those too, knowing it might trigger diabetes immediately. I’m thinking of my favorite delis – a nice, lean pastrami sandwich would be awesome. So would any fish salad from Russ and Daughters. I’m hoping they are closed today, being the sabbath and all, but probably not since Jews are no longer their only customers. How to resist? How to choose?

I end up at Starbucks for “breakfast,” since good coffee supersedes good breakfast and I know what to expect. And they have free wifi, which my hotel charges an obscene amount of money to use. Thank Starbucks for this morning’s post.

My husband and I came into the city for the weekend with few plans. I’m happy to walk for miles and miles, simply observing the people, ducking into interesting shops, and happening on good food. Last night we walked toward Dangerfield’s, our destination, thinking we will just look at restaurants and pick one along the route. We have done this in many cities and have yet to be disappointed. Our worst meals were acceptable, but many more were fabulous. Perhaps we have developed a knack for picking them. And there’s always Yelp to double check our instincts.

So this morning, I am writing from Starbucks while hubby stands in line at the Shubert Theatre box office, hoping to get tickets to Memphis for tonight. I am trying to decide where to go today and it’s hard because there are so many places I would like to go that I am nearly paralyzed by the options. I think I’ll check the weather which will help me narrow down whether to be in or outdoors.

Better get going. Have a nice day. I know I will!

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I have waited on this post, as it is nearly impossible to limit to a post, the experience of Italy. For some reason, I have yearned to visit Italy for as long as memory serves me. The food, the language, the people (by way of the immigrants I have known in the US), the music, the family dynamics and my love for art and antiquity, made a visit to Italy an imperative for me. To cut out a long, drawn out lead in to how I finally got there, suffice it to say I finally set foot in Italy on March 19th, for some of the best 2 weeks of my life!

While it is certainly a given that museums and churches are a major part of visiting Italy, art surrounds you wherever you are. Every piazza and campo is a museum, filled with monuments, fountains and facades of magnificence. I can’t believe that anywhere else on this earth is there such a concentration of art in every direction you turn. Italy also has natural beauty in it’s waterways, oceans, mountains, valleys and hillsides.

Starting with a visit to Naples, which we were advised not to visit, even by Italians, we found a rather gritty but charming city. Situated on the Tyrrhenian Sea, it had diverse neighborhoods, streets winding steeply uphill, funiculars, museums and nearby Pompeii, Positano and the Amalfi Coast, all of which we fit into 3 days. Determined to see as much as humanly possible, I dragged my husband an average of 8 miles on foot every day of our trip, sometimes walking up to nearly 15 miles. Bus and train rides gave us the ability to cover even more ground when our legs just could not carry us any further. What they say about Napolitano food is true. We moaned our way through most every morsel of food, not believing it could be that good – and yes, Naples is the birthplace of pizza and it is by far the best we have ever tasted. Naples is known for its gelato as well, which we indulged in, to fuel our muscles.

Three days in Rome was our next stop. Also a place of spectacular sights, we investigated every important museum and piazza, the Colosseum and the Vatican, including the very beautiful and underestimated Vatican Gardens and Palatine Hill. The food didn’t impress me quite as much as Naples’ food, but was still quite good.

I wanted to get into Tuscany, so we allocated four days for our Florence visit. Florence is clearly nirvana for anyone who loves the art form of sculpture. Museum collections in Florence have an exceptional amount of figurative sculpture, one more beautiful than the next. But the piece de resistance is of course, Michelangelo’s David. I had so eagerly anticipated seeing the original. After seeing dozens of replicas throughout my life, I thought I knew what to expect. When I came into full view of the original, I started to cry. Even when I recall the moment now, my eyes fill with tears. I can’t describe nor even understand the emotional impact it had on me. Perhaps it was the majesty of the piece, it’s realism, as if he would move at any moment. Or maybe that the master himself had touched, and somehow imbued the work with some kind of spell, for it felt like that as it took so much effort to tear myself away from it. I have carved and chiseled stone, and can appreciate what an enormous, almost God-like effort it took to create it. It was a highlight of my trip.

Florence is a very livable place. I could see myself staying there for some time. Maybe some day I will be able to try it. It has the best of city life and is so close to beautiful and restful countryside, accessible by train. We visited the town of Cortona, a charming medieval town among the Tuscan hillside towns. It was the site of “Under the Tuscan Sun,” a movie that made me want to get on a plane immediately to visit “my Italy.” I found a delightful place, with steep streets (requiring stairs to get up and down). I talked at length with a women who was sent by her parents to visit 30 years earlier, met and fell in love with a man and made her home there.

Next we traveled to the Cinque Terre; Five Lands, consisting of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Verzzana, and Monterosso al Mare. Each with it’s own character and charm, these five lands were inaccessible to each other before a train line was build into the cliffs on which they are perched. These towns hug the Mediterranean sea, with dramatic scenery in every direction. From our outpost in a bed and breakfast in Riomaggiore, we stepped onto a balcony overlooking both the sea and the colorful hills where homes seem to hang from cliffs. It is some of the most beautiful melding of man and nature I have ever witnessed. We enjoyed their specialties, a local white wine (in a land where red rules) and pesto sauce with fresh cheeses and pasta. This place is not for the faint of heart. If you are unable to walk 6 or more flights of stairs at a time to go anywhere, this is not the place for you. I was amazed at how local residents took this in stride, even those well into their senior years!

Our last stop was Venice. What can be said about Venice that hasn’t already been said? I must admit I arrived with a bit of skepticism, but only the most hardened of people could escape her seductive charm. Since water has a profound effect on people, you can’t help but be beguiled by the water at every turn. Be it dirty or heavily trafficked, it was astoundingly beautiful. Be prepared to spend a lot of your time in Venice being lost. It’s just part of the experience. Even with all the time we spent finding our way to somewhere or back, we managed to see a lot: all the major destinations, with enough time to spend just lolling about on water ferries, taking mini-criuses, and sitting in campos, the equivalent of what other cities call piazzas. Venice has only one; all the other meeting places are called campos.

This is such a brief overview of the trip. The memories made here live on in my mind and I can’t wait to go back. There will be another visit to Italy in my future.

Fino a che non incontriamo ancora l’Italia . . . . . . . . .

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