Relax Yourself Roberta, Let Us Make Dinner Tonight

3 Oct

Roberta is truly a one of a kind type of woman. She has taken the place of my Mother while I have been here in Italy. She calls me regularly to “check in”, she invites me over for weekly dinners consisting of several delicious courses, she buys my favorite foods when I visit, she takes me shopping and patiently awaits as I frequent several stores in search of a particular item, she even butts into my social life to ask about where I go, what I do, and whom I do it with, just like any Mom would.

She has also played a wonderful host to my father who is staying at her house for the week. Each night she spends hours in her small 6 x 2 foot kitchen somehow managing to produce the most delicious and creatively made dishes. She sets a beautiful table for dinner, spending time engaging in tedious activities such as folding napkins into complicated folds. She even whips up fancy desserts like it’s nothing.

After dinner she then spends hours cleaning up but refuses our pleads to help!

But tonight my Dad and I decided to make dinner for Roberta for a change, our one request was that she sit down, relax, and let us take care of the dirty work. My Dad and I talked about the wonders of an American breakfast, French toast, chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs, and Roberta eagerly replied that she wanted to try a typical American breakfast, the one problem was there was no time to make such an extravagant breakfast during the work, especially because Roberta has work early at 7:30 and I have school! So instead we introduced her to a very American concept and decided to make her breakfast for dinner.

So relatively speaking we had a pretty sound idea, we’d make dinner and Roberta for possibly the first time in a long time would just relax, the only problem was that with Dad and I in charge we unintentionally caused a tremendous amount of chaos and oppositely instead of relaxing Roberta remained eject the entire time with a fearful look on her face.

I guess you could say things were doomed from the very start. I read Roberta the list of the ingredients we would need for our breakfast for dinner, of course she had very few of the ingredients, which meant we needed to go grocery shopping and unfortunately she is the only one of us three with a car who is able to drive in the city, so although it was a cold bitter night and nearly 7:30 p.m. she was the one who had to bring us to the grocery store. After twenty minutes of searching for the right ingredients we finally managed to check out and continue on our way. It was only once we left the grocery store that we realize it was down pouring outside, obviously a sign (a sign which we ignored) after waiting for the rain to stop for 15 minutes we finally gave up and hurriedly ran to the car to continue on our way.

We arrived home wet and tired, but ready to cook, we told Roberta to sit, turn on the tv, and relax, we clearly had things under control ( the only problem was we didn’t have things under control at all), “Roberta how do you turn on the oven” “Roberta, where are the pans” Roberta where do you keep the sugar” Within five minutes Roberta was joining us in the entirely too small kitchen.

“go sit, relax, Roberta” We encouraged ten minutes later after we had managed to ask all our questions and locate all our ingredients. Side by side (or nearly on top of each other) sometimes managing to bump into each other is the entirety too small 6 x 2 ft kitchen, we peeled, cut, and chopped potatoes, and prepared the french toast mixture! Then suddenly my Dad accidentally elbowed a  saucepan filled with water causing the pan to spill not only all over the stove top but spread throughout the kitchen, down over the island and drawers, he was just reaching for paper towel to clean up the now very large mess when  suddenly everything went dark, the lights in all of the building went out, the tv was silent, and creepily the only noise was a sizzling which came from the still hot saucepans filled with half cooked food. Roberta wordlessly got up , reached for a flash light which she handily keeps nearby the kitchen (In Italy the power going out is a daily occurrence, unlike in American their apartment can’t handle the same amount of electricity that ours can)! Less than a minute later the lights were back and we saw Roberta standing in the door frame examining her now unkempt kitchen, I half wished the lights would turn out again!

We went back to working and things were going well, that was until I reached to put the sugar away but didn’t quite realize that I hadn’t fastened the top on securely, just then white sugar spilled all over the kitchen floor and partially onto the carpeted living-room floor. Immediately we looked at Roberta, who unfortunately had seen the entire mess! We threw our hands up in a surrender like pose, cautiously informing her that we still had things under control and that we would clean up the mess, clearly our message wasn’t too effective because before I knew it she had the vacuum plugged in and was vacuuming up all the sugar in the kitchen, with a third person in the kitchen and a vacuum, there was hardly room to breathe!

After the sugar fiasco I would say things were now running much smoother, of course there were a few scares such as when Dad forgot about the home fries in the oven and opened up the hot oven to a puff of smoke (turns out the home fries were just a bit crisp, like all good home fries should be). Then we left the bread in the mixture for too long and it began to break the moment it was placed in the pan. But those were just minor issues!

At last nearly two hours later at 9:30 we sat down for our dinner/breakfast.

On the Menu for tonight: French Toast, caramelized bananas, a nutella chocolate sauce, bacon, home fries, and orange juice, a typical American breakfast (except we substituted nutella sauce for maple syrup, I  would say we made an upgrade to the dish)!

Roberta seemed quite fond of her meal, although she found the combination of sweet (french toast, nutella, and bananas) with salty bacon and savory home fries to be a bit odd, but Dad and I thinking nothing of it simply told her to eat up and enjoy!

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2 Responses to “Relax Yourself Roberta, Let Us Make Dinner Tonight”

  1. Cecil N. Temple October 5, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    hmmmm, pretty interesting

  2. Franco October 7, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    Great Blog. You are hitting the main points of family food habits in Florence

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