August, like the Italians.
Pinch me... am I really doing this? Applying Italian mentality to the month of August? We lived in Italy for the better part of a year (our family blogged all about it on familyfrolics---our family blog). And watched their routines and absorbed their rhythms. After almost 9 months of being there, I started to live differently: I wasn't filling my entire trunk with Costco food, but instead walking daily to buy meat for that night, bread for today's sandwiches and a few pieces of fruit.
Florence is chock full of university students, and there was always a new crop of Americans. I could always spot them in the grocery store: their carts were bursting and they would buy way too much to carry home. I know, because it took me the better part of a year to strip myself of the need to plan ahead. Its not right either way, just different. I don't think I lived there long enough to fully delve into Italian routine: stores open at 10, close at 1. Re-open at 4, close at 7. I got used to the 3 hours off in the middle of the afternoon, but wasn't disciplined about taking a nightly passegiata (walking around from 6-7pm), just before dinner. And because of the kids school, we usually got up rather early. We discovered, on our trip abroad, that our family really likes starting the day early---it was the best way to tour Florence, in my opinion. We would have streets, sites and churches to ourselves. Mio marito (my husband) and I adore taking early morning walks---for an hour or two---before 'the rest of the world wakes up.'
Surprisingly, some stores didn't bother open for January... or February... in fact some didn't open until April because that was when the tourist dollars would begin to flow. Most shops, though, worked 5 or 6 days a week; and took all of August off.
We actually arrived in Florence in August: to boiling sun, hoards of tourists and no Italians. They were all at the beach, on holiday or otherwise avoiding the hum. In August all that is open are the museums and a few tourist shops and restaurants. There were signs posted everywhere---all over the city---a token FYI: "see you in a month."
And although this whole year I have been pat-myself-on-the-back consistent with posting every few days, it is my right as a non-money-making blogger to give myself vacation time. I mean, I AM the one who gave me this blogging job---and it certainly has its perks, or I wouldn't be here. But now? I think its time to implement vacation time---Italian style. I am taking the month of August OFF. I hope you hardly miss me, and are on holiday yourself. We can hop right back into it come September. Fall is brilliant for new starts, when school begins, the farms pluck a whole new crop of foods and we can begin to think about sweet rolls and soups, school snacks and squash.
But until then, I will just be hanging around. Not blogging for a month. Hail to the Italian way.
By the way, it doesn't mean you need to go without. I mean, I HAVE been blogging for FOUR years. There are scads of good recipes, Italian food, easy-entertaining and more. That is why I created categories and archives and recipes. So you could always find something new and interesting---and helpful.
Here is something to keep you going:
1. Use this Latin Steak Rub before tossing your steak on your summer-time grill.
2. Or you could grill: Soy Balsamic Flank Steak
3. Summer is all about salads, and I LOVE this Walnut Pear Endive Salad. I am probably enjoying one right now...
4. AND summer is for enjoying guests in your backyard; so here is an assembly only appetizer: Pesto, Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts
5. Well if you make #4, you might as well grill some bread (just brush both sides with olive oil, and grill each side---serve); and if you are going to have grilled bread PLEASE try this white bean and roasted garlic spread---it will be so worth the tiny effort it takes to make it...
6. Because you really shouldn't be cooking too much. It IS August after all. You should be drinking the most summery, celebrative, fruity, best-new cocktails you can find. And I have a few. Maybe your only assignment (and mine) for August should be to try these:
- Bahama Mamas... for dads too.
- Italian Sodas... the kid kind AND the adult kind.
- Blood Orange Kamikazis... need I say more?
- And just once, try my version of a Mojito---soooooo delicious.
That should do it, right? You will be okay? It won't be long---August will fly by. Go enjoy some sun already, why would you be in front of your computer during this glorious month anyway? Get out: go! Just go!
Oh... but promise to come back? Yes... in September? We will have lots to catch up on, food to blab about, and all sorts of talking to do about the likes of tomatoes and other kinds of yumminess. (In case you want to peek at our lives during August, you can check out our family blog: www.familyfrolics.com where my sons and husband also contribute; equally cool is my son's new blog all about selecting urban chickens---which we will be doing soon---www.pickinachicken.com).
A presto---until later,