Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lunch with Gino

My favorite place to eat in Milano is not a restaurant, but at the table of my third cousin Gino.

When I arrived he had already been in the garden picking beans, lettuce, zucchini, parsley and basil for our lunch. We had decided that we would rest a bit before starting the preparation.

Above, fruits of the garden - romaine lettuce, basil and zucchini.

Gino lives in an apartment complex. His home is not that big compared to American standards; nonetheless it is elegant and has style.

Every time I visit the apartment there is pleasant perfume of delicate flowers in the air. I have not yet figured out what it is. Maybe it is the laundry detergent or the cleaning products that his wife, Sarina, uses. When a slight breeze blows through the scent drifts through the house like spring morning.

The smell takes me back to the age of 16, the first time I visited Milano and slept here. I wanted to keep the smell with me when I left. It is so refreshing, pleasant and clean.

After a pause we began the lunch ritual, which is he cooks and I eat. He always makes me a full plate of spaghetti with basil and tomato sauce. For better flavor, I add peperoncini, hot chili peppers in olive oil. He also puts out the left over’s from the previous day’s dinner, usually a meat, and cheese and salumi (cold cuts). Of course there is always wine.

Yummy, my plate of pasta with fresh sauce.

When the meal is finished, he makes two cups of espresso. We always discuss how the espresso turned out. If he made it right, it should be cremosa, creamy at the top so that when one pours sugar into it, the sugar should float for a bit, and slowly sink to the bottom.

Almost perfect espresso.

This time it was not perfect espresso, but good enough to keep me alert for my train trip to Firenze.


Lorie said...

I love the way Gino prepares food for us, he is so cute and makes sure we never leave his home hungry. And of course, Sarina checks up on him to make sure he was good host

BTW he is our second cousin, mom's first :)

Courtland said...

that espresso shot needs a photographer, eh?? :) love the posts, natalie! keep it up and we'll talk soon.