Ora della Terra

Our friends C and A visited us on Saturday night for an Italian-themed Earth Hour event. We enjoyed the simplest of pleasures: sharing a meal and playing Scrabble by candlelight.

C is one of the most creative people I know, ever willing to play with the ordinary ingredients of life and turn them into something special. She knows well how to make stone soup. She has fun and it is infectious.

We started with bruschette: ciabatta sliced and toasted, then topped with chopped fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella. Molto belle coi tre colori di rosso, biancho e verde:

bruschette

The main course was pasta with a roasted fennel sauce. Il vino Pinot Grigio and a background soundtrack of frothy Italian pop music augmented the merriment and we even managed to sustain a decent conversazione in italiano.

We ended with caffè e ricciarelli – these are almond biscotti that are prepared well in advance as they require hours (even days, in some recipes) to sit out and dry in the open air before putting them into the oven. This makes them rather a nuisance in a small kitchen – there’s only so much counter space on which to shift the baking trays when one needs to use the surface – but they are well worth it in the end. Molto delizioso.

ricchiarelli

The meal ended with perfect timing for the start of Earth Hour, so E and A set up the candles, lay down the Scrabble board and turned off the lights. As non-native, non-fluent Italian speakers, we were compelled to bend the rules and use il dizionario (where we were saddened to learn that squishare is not a valid italian verb, no matter how useful when pressing garlic.) In any case, here’s what we managed:

scrabble italiano

I do believe I’ve just completed a classic blog trope: the description of a successful meal, illustrated with photographs like trophies.

I suppose what pleases me most about our little festa di Ora della Terra is the something-from-nothing nature of the evening. It evolved from the most casual suggestion to get together for dinner and required only a small amount of preparation, yet the outcome was an occasion more interesting and enjoyable to me than the overburdened ritual festivities of Christmastime and birthdays. I chalk it up as the highlight of my week, with my compliments to dearest C for bringing the stone for the soup, along with the candlesticks.

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