Sunday, February 12, 2012

LA CENA INDIANA
They all came at pretty much the same time. And we were all extraordinarily surprised how pleasing an Indian dinner can be even to Italians who have never ever tasted Indian food before. Between friends bringing friends and some last minute additions there were thirty five of us in the end, all students of mine or genuine Italian citizens. Almost everyone brought either beer, white wine, or cushions so we were in business. The food was really a huge hit. A bunch of people told F he should open a restaurant, a cooking school, or, at the very least, a catering business. We forgot to make yogurt sauce and the bread didn't fluff, but other than that it was pretty much flawless. I had F put aside a plate for me to eat at the end of the night because sitting down was out of the question. Luckily I had three pre-party helpers come to figure out how to assemble the canopy and arrange the chairs and cushions and the little decorations. Bianca made a gazillion papadum with F, and Adonella was in charge of interior design, while Paula put the finishing touches on the decorations, like the little bejeweled elephants I found at the Best & Cheap store for one euro and some candles and white lillies. T did my eye make-up and lent me one of her bindis and I had my hair braided at Massimo Pretty Hair, when I went to give Federica her birthday present. I had a huge panic attack right before the party when I remembered that we were going to be speaking Italian the whole night. Occasionally I forget where the heck we live. At the beginning of the evening, we gave out nail adhesives that served as bindis to a bunch of our female guests and it was all very festive.





My friend Laura the erborista brought her guru who sat Indian style on the couch and meditated for most of the night with his eyes closed but nobody really asked any questions.  I want to make a joke about it being a blessing in disguise, but I'm too tired to formulate one. At one point I brought him some food and I spoke to him English by mistake, but he answered me in perfect English.  By then the party was so Alice in Wonderland that it did not freak me out at all to be addressed by the Cheshire Cat.




There were only two of eight huge tins of food left and one of those was mostly rice. Federica brought an engaged couple who accepted our brindisi in their honor with delight.  And then Gabriella was thoughtful enough to make struffoli, a kind of dessert from Napoli that goes very well with Indian food because it is made with honey.  Federica made this kind of coconut paste dessert that was also so exquisite called banfi di cocco, and Karin made a kind of chocolate rice krispies affair that was a new one on the Italians, but made us feel very at home.


STRUFFOLI


A bunch of us are all supposed to go to a disco on Friday night, despite the fact that I am supposed to teach an intensivo on Saturday morning, but I'm not going to refuse a night of dancing with this fun of a crowd even if it means going back on coffee again. We also got a ton of dinner invitations by the end of the night and that was an unexpected bonus.  




T had spent the afternoon at a marathon birthday party where the birthday girl spent two hours in the house of the boy she has a crush on (making out, I guess) while the rest of the party waited outside or wandered off to do other things like sign their names in pen on the walls of Lucca and grab some hot chocolates.  She changed from her party outfit into her bollywood attire for the party and then back into her street clothes to go help her friend Natasha babysit her younger brother and sister for the rest of the night. 

Just think . . . If it had snowed, we would have been alone with eight trays of Indian food, four of which had spoons with red ribbons on them to indicate to unsuspecting Italians that these dishes were the spicy versions.  Jai ho, yo.

Arrivederci, Brooklyn!

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