Wednesday 8 July 2009

Back With A Bump (To England From Fair Verona)

Luisa and Daughter at the cooking class, Verona

19 Year Old Daughter took me to Verona for a cooking lesson. Her friend's mother's friend won it on a radio competition, and one thing led to another, and I went along to cook gnocchi in Verona. We stayed in a medieaval villa, with every inch quietly muttering Taste, History, Style. The man who owned and ran it, having married into the Family, was multi lingual, slender, tall and straight off the cover of a Mills and Boon book. His knowledge of wines (the villa had so much land it looked like the size of Wales) and vineyards was staggering. He took us as part of our package, on a tour of some of the vineyards and I wondered goggle eyed at how some people can do so much and make it sound so simple.

I am back now, sitting in my studio wondering if it had been a dream. I can, of course, cook gnocchi now and will do so, at the drop of a hat. I can also cook a baked almond biscuit tart and tomato soup and the kind and lovely cook with whom we made great friends, gave me some Apple Jam and some huge sage leaves to take back with me.

Going over, the security at the airport was intense. Daughter and I removed all our potentially explosive shampoo, sun cream and deodorant from our hand luggage, and put them in seethrough airport plastic bags. Daughter was still stopped at security for having nail scissors at the bottom of her bag, and the said nail scissors were taken for a controlled explosion before she could say Ooops, sorry. We were asked many times to confess who had really packed our bags (Confess, hapless Traveller, your bags were packed by a man in a mask and an assault rifle) and suggestions cleverly made that someone had asked us to take an unknown package with us, if you please (I know we have never met before, but would you mind taking this ticking envelope in your bag to my Auntie in Afganistan? Thank you so much).

Oh but coming back. Our cooking teacher Luisa, ( in the photo to the right, took us to lunch at her house near the airport. You must, she said, take this rooted sage plant back with you. And this pot of Apple Jam. Daughter and I said we would never get it through Security as it looked suspiciously like a large clump of marijuana. And smelt like it too. Alora! cried Luisa, here is a brown paper bag to hide it in! You can hide it in your bag and they will never know! Daughter and I thought of the cells waiting for us in an Italian prison, and shivered. And, said the wonderful Luisa, here is a pot of Apple Jam I have just made. You must have it. Oh dear we said, it is over 100mls. Even Apple Jam is dangerous on an aeroplane if more than 100mls. Anything could happen. Luisa assured us that we had only to present ourselves to security a few minutes before the plane takes off, it is no trouble, the Apple Jam is delicious.

So Daughter and I went to the airport, driven by Luisa, with a bag smelling of Drugs and sloshing around with More Than 100mls Of Apple Jam. We thought we should get it over and done with, and went straight for security. We crept through and I was called aside. This is it I thought, Goodbye Cruel World, Undone by Sage and a pot of Apple Jam. But no, the security guard put his hand in my bag and riffling past the brown paper bag with the huge sage leaves and plants (Luisa was right, the brown paper bag was too sophisticated for not only the guards, but the x ray machine), pulled out the Apple Jam. Jam, I croaked in my best Italian. Of Apples, I said. The guard removed the lid, and gave it a sniff. He looked delighted, it was a very nice smell. He took it to his co workers and they all gave it a sniff and looked carefully at it, smiling happily. Not much was said, but what was said may well have been Oh these tourists have been at Luisa's. I must remember to get the recipe for this Apple Jam, my old mother keeps asking me. The other guard may have said Well, why not confiscate this pot, and give it to your mother? Simple.

However, we got the pot back before the Italian security guard could make up his mind and call his mother, and with huge relief, we arrived back in the UK.

So today, I have such boring stuff to do. It includes a filling at the dentist and a haircut. I do have tea with an old friend too, which is nice, but I have my PR homework to do too and that is so difficult. However, I have Apple Jam and Sage leaves to cheer me up. Hooray.

1 comment:

  1. Your apple jam sounds wonderful. Look forward to trying those gnocchi some time too. Glad you had such a good time - see you soon!