Sunday, July 03, 2016

Waiter, there's a bone in my throat
Last night we got invited by our hosts Maurizio and Mirella to go with them to their neighbors' house to watch Italy play in the quarterfinals of the European Cup. We got asked about five times which team we were rooting for. Ci mancherebbe altro! Anyway, we drove up the hill to Stefano and Sandra's house. They've been married for fourteen years and Sandra only spends a month here a year so she doesn't speak Italian and was happy to have us translate for her. She is from Nyack, New York originally, and even lived in Park Slope for a spell, and he is an artist and sculptor who does all of this mosaic work. She is just the sweetest human being and she also has a daughter away at college. We met a ton of people named either Pina or Beppe. It was crazy. They were also super nice and asked us a million questions and laughed at my jokes. It was shaping up to be a great night.

the flat

Stefano's artistry

I had a really intense conversation with Maurizio who it turns out has the same model insulin pump that T uses. He got diabetes when he was nineteen and he started out using the glass syringes, which he recounted would break inevitably when he had to use them in the bathroom of a restaurant because he was out to dinner with friends, leaving him to choose between not eating or going home. He was telling us about the Medtronic camps he went to as a group leader and how a kid in his town has now got the latest invention which is the insulin patch that gets managed by a cell phone instead of a tube that inserts into your skin with a needle like T and him have now. We thanked him for being a trailblazer. His eyes filled with tears when he told me not to worry because he has had three kids and a grandchild, all healthy, and a deeply fulfilling life.

When dinner was served, I told F my usual thing which is that he should go brave the buffet and bring us back a plate of vegetarian stuff to share. He totally forgot that Italians, especially in the south, can't imagine anyone not eating fish. The pizza that I ate was rich and salty and then it was chewy and then I realized it was full of anchovies. That would have been not great, as it was, but when I tried to swallow I realized that a long sharp spear was stuck in the tissue in the back of my throat. I alternated between abject fear and making weird yelping noises. I tried hot water, honey, dry biscuits. I tried swallowing. I ran away from the nice hostess who kept proposing to give me the heimlech manouver. It was great. Eventually our original hosts offered to drive us home. F made me eat a loaf of bread on my full stomach and several handfuls of raisins and all it did was make me more miserable. I fell asleep and woke up at 2 AM with the bone in the exact same place. It wasn't until the next morning's cup of coffee that it dislodged itself, leaving behind a Game of Thrones type of exit down my esophagus. Emergency room averted, perĂ². 


This morning Mirella, who worried about me all night, brought us her HOMEMADE pasta alla norma which was so scrumptious that it gave new meaning to melting in your mouth. And I thought I would never want to eat again, but I was so wrong. I didn't even know pasta could be like that. She also drove to her friend's house who makes her own dessert typical of the region. It is pasta sfoglia fried in a ravioli shape and stuffed with ricotta with chocolate chips in it and is the perfect blend of salty sweetness. Sicily is a dangerous place, people. 

You don't understand how good this is.

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