Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

It hardly seems possible, but tomorrow Amy and I will have been married for three weeks. All the evocative mental images of that day -- the tears, the sweat-soaked groom melting in late afternoon sun, Puba stealing the show and that speech -- are now but fading memories. [And, though we missed much, we did notice a few of you were enjoying yourselves - above.] Perhaps even hazier are our memories of the glorious week leading up to the wedding, during which pantegrulian quantities of beer and wine were quaffed by you wedding guests as you warmed up your drinking muscles and livers for the final onslaught on June 28th. So it is with great anticipation that we await the delivery of our wedding photographs which we hope will fill us in on some of what actually happened in that 6-8 hour period. Of course, that photographic story will be far from complete and because of that we'd love it if you could either send us or e-mail us a link to your best and worst pics of the week and the wedding.
We've uploaded our pictures of the wedding week to Snapfish so we invite you to check them out here
[Note: If you'd like to share you pictures with other wedding guests but don't have their e-mail address, please feel free to post links to your pics in the comments section of this post.]

We're sure most brides and grooms feel the discomfort of being so in focus with everyone snapping away, and while we did too -- particularly for the first dance, as we did our utmost to shuffle around without stacking-it on the uneven parquet while being blinded by the videographers' light -- we got used to it in the end, as the image to the right, i think, shows. [We thank Mrs. Louise Culshaw for capturing this beautiful, romantic nuptial scene.] Anyway, we encourage you to share your pictures with us and each other through whichever medium you prefer. We can't wait to see them!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Knowing Your Tagliatelle from Your Tagliolini

Returning home, you, like us, probably felt the bump of landing in several places - the legs and spine (from airplane travel) and the wallet (from the careless assumption that a euro is only worth a little more than a dollar). You may also have felt that bump in your gut - no, not the one gained from vacation over-consumption, though we now jiggle unintentionally in several new areas too - but the corporeal shock brought on by the sudden lack of carbohydrate-heavy foodstuffs delivered at least twice daily and washed down with liters of wine. Our livers are probably grateful that the recent, heady days of a personal pizza for lunch, and a pasta primi and meat secondi with potato contorni in the evening are over, but we find ourselves missing those regular hits of starch, and the challenge of trying to figure out just what kind of pasta we were ordering.

Many linguistic officianados may mock those of us who struggle with even the most basic of restaurant Italian but we're sure that our wedding guests, as we did, learned a great deal more Italian than they knew before just from negotiating two menus a day for a week. Unfortunately, however useful it is knowing that senza gas and naturale refer to still mineral water, it pales into insignificance compared to the sophisticated and nuanced ability to identify the shape of the pasta on offer. Do not feel downcast though, if you were surprised when your food came, as we learn from Heat - Bill Buford's humorous account of a novice cook's experiences in several famous Italian restaurants - so creative and impish are Italian pasta-makers in playing with the form of their dough that many natives do not always know exactly what it is they're getting.

Over the course of a three week trip, your blog authors had exactly zero disappointing meals, even when forced to eat at highway service stations, and in spite of frequently ordering things completely blindly due to inadequacies of our dictionary. That said, it would have been nice in some cases to have had a better idea of what to expect so our levels of anticipation could have been higher, and it is with this in mind that we very humbly (since this would have been a lot more useful to you a month ago) offer the following links to a website that removes some of the mystery from Italian menus.

Tubular Pasta
Stuffed Pasta aka pasta ripiena
Other pasta shapes
Long, Flat Pasta
Long, Thin Pasta

In spite of (or perhaps because of) eating pasta everyday for the best part of a month, we're reluctant to give it up, and are studiously trying to recreate some of our favorite dishes from our trip at home. Just last night we made an uber-simple but very delicious penne with arugula, cherry tomatoes and canned tuna dish we had at a tiny, hole-in-the-wall place in the mountains of Elba. If you aren't ready to give up your pasta fix either, we'd love you to send us recipes for versions of your favorite Italian dishes. They don't have to be exactly the way they were made when you had them in Italy - that's probably impossible - your nearest and most delicious approximations will do just fine. Either e-mail us or add a comment to this blog post.
Buon Appetito!!

P.S. - our hearty salutations to anyone who's figured out which of the pictures in this post is tagliatelle and which is tagliolini. Answers will be revealed in the next exciting installment...