Monday, February 22, 2010

Can A Dinner Begin A Journey?

Last night we spent the evening with our dinner/bridge group. The four couples have put together many fine meals. The hostess provides drinks and the entree, and the other three bring appetizers, salad and dessert. Our hostess, Mona, is Italian by heritage and I had asked her if she'd fix an Italian dinner.

After appetizers of stuffed mushrooms and assorted international cheeses, we were treated to a moist, tender chicken smothered in a rich tomato sauce, polenta, and perfectly seasoned fresh green beans. The red wine was one called Paisano that she said is an everyday table wine in Italy. A layered lettuce salad complemented the meal, and a rich chocolate cake and coffee brought it to a satisfying end. Or so we thought! Mona brought a tray of tiny liqueur glasses to the table and two bottles of liqueurs from Italy. We all tasted both and pronounced them smooth, warming and satisfying. A digestivo!

As we drove home later in the cold, on snowy roads, I began to think about a trip to Italy. We've talked about going there many times, and then another trip pops up and we head to Germany or the Czech Republic or somewhere besides Italy. I've pored over travel books that offer trips to various parts of Italy, but somehow we never seem to book the trip. Instead, we look at the pictures and read about the places we might visit, then move on somewhere else. Why? I have no idea, but last night's wonderful meal and hearing Mona talk about Italy has sparked my desire to go there once again.

Everyone I know who has visited Italy comes home saying how much they loved it. Maybe it's time for us to experience it firsthand. I have a feeling I would find much to write about there. I know a writer who is spending a full month in Florence, Italy right now. For her, it's an annual visit as that renowned city keeps pulling her back. Maybe a dinner can be the first step in a journey across the sea.

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