Monday, October 17, 2011

Lucy & Ethel meet the waitresses
I'm not sure if F is Lucy or Ethel but here is what happened. There are two restaurants downstairs from our house in our tiny piazza: the restaurant we go to and the restaurant we don't go to. We always try to go to the restaurant where they make the good vegetarian soup and the owner and chef are super friendly when the other restaurant is closed so the people who probably don't even like us don't get their feelings hurt. The restaurant where we don't go is known as Osteria or Da Rosaleo.  When we first moved in there was a grumpy waiter and a waitress we called sad girl because she never smiles. Then one day grumpy waiter who had grown on us over time disappeared and there were all new people. Sad girl came back several months later but grumpy waiter was no more. I hate walking by people everyday and not talking to them. It is stronger than me. So I invited all the waitresses and cooks from the restaurant downstairs to come for chocolate cake during the intervallo. When I asked Gabrielle, T's tutor, if I am the only person who would do this. She looked me in the eyes and said, yes.

F and I argued this morning because I thought it would be better to make the cake this morning (or rather if he made the cake this morning) and he thought it would be better to do it right before the arrived so the house would smell of chocolate and the cake would still be warm. But I got nervous because if the volcano cake gets overcooked it tastes terrible and there is no yummy molten part to win over the hearts and souls of the people who distrust us and who we have offended for months because there are almost no vegetarian options downstairs and we are saving money by eating at home. I wasn't sure they would even come since we made the invitation last week and they wanted to come today instead and so I had do the embarrassing trek downstairs to ask if they wanted tea or coffee as a subtle reminder (F's idea.)

Next an I love Lucy episode ensued in which I thumped on the cake and it appeared to be hard on top and I panicked.  F maintained that the cake  was probably molten underneath and my anxious kvetching made him nervous to the point that  he took the cake out of the spring form too early so parts of it dropped off the sides and made it look nibbled. Then he whipped up cream but there was only a little left in the container and it just sunk into the nibbled off sides of the cake, making it look like it had been in a  food fight with some sour milk. Luckily, Italians are always late. F started frantically scooping the cake into ramekins while I crammed them down with my fingers. It still looked bad so we cut up strawberries to put on the top. Then the door bell rang.
Cake smooshed into pots

The evidence of things gone very wrong...

Giggling is a good sign. Right?

Sad girl, Sandra & Carmen
Carmen the chef and Stefania
Me looking possessed explaining about accupressure. . .oy
We had made T and Gabrielle stay in to study so that they could be cute at the table if no one was talking. No one was talking. And neither did they. Awkward. But then slowly, after F left to pick up a homework sheet from T's friend's house and the girls were long gone, we all started chatting. I gave one of the cooks a neck massage. They stayed for two and a half hours. The chef took a brief nap at the table. I invited them to a party I plan to have next month and offered them that if they want to come up when it gets cold and they can't get home in between their shifts they could nap here or come in for a hot drink. They seemed pretty cheerful when they left. Even sad girl. So anyway now I can walk by and smile and it will be friendlier. And if they think I'm nuts it doesn't really matter.

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