a birthday, few cakes and lots of up-hill walking after

Hello, I'm back.
It has rained for the whole time we stayed in Genova, 
only the very last day the sun was out and I took few pictures. 
As you see Genova is a very peculiar town, it has a seaside and a port, 
an old centre called "vicoli" or "caruggi" and an up-hill part along the mountains, 
basically it is squeezed between sea and mountains. 
Every time we go there we feel the existence of some muscles in our legs that 
we forgot about it. It was nice to catch up with family and friends, 
I must admit what I miss the most is to gather around 
a kitchen table and eat simple delicious food while chatting. 
As a stranger in this country I sometimes ask myself whether I'm strange or not, 
as often people remark that is not worth the effort to cook from scratch and so on
Back in Italy though no one question that. 
It reassures me that I'm not weird, it's just a matter of culture 
and surely I preserve mine when it's about cooking, sharing and enjoying good food.
The thing I love the most of my town (and Italy in general)
is that you find vegetables patches in unexpected places, 
like really up hill in a terrace tucked behind old walls 
amid narrow cobblers streets.

It was time for celebration as it was A birthday. This year we celebrated three times. 


C SATHAL said...

je sens que tu reviens chargée à bloc ! C'est bon, on sent toutes les bonnes ondes que tu as reçu !!
Je trouve que les photos de la ville ressemble à Marseille ^^
Je t'embrasse et bon retour !

alessandra said...

Hello Celine :)
I hope so! yes, Genova and Marseille are very similar! only Marseille has better weather, that wonderful Mistral wind and it's more vibrant than Genova.
X Aless.

Lollipop said...

it is a matter of culture...
and happy anita!
(what a lovely dancer on the cake)

alessandra said...

Leonor, indeed! thank you(for your words and for the dancer!).
I thought of you and my visit to Bruxelles when I put that little dancer on the cake :))

justine said...

What?! Who says it's a waste of time to cook from scratch? It's what life's all about!

Janis said...

How nice to go home for a while. Yes, I understand that Italian way of doing things and appreciate it too :^) Love Italy, love the people. xo

Patrice A. said...

what i love the most
is gathering around the table
eating and chatting
and laughing
we always do
our table is the centre
and i know the feeling of
being strange although i am dutch
and live in the netherlands
never been to Genua, only Milan
but will visit Venetie in september
so, so looking forward to

have a fine week
today we will celebrate
but not with such fine cakes

Patrice A.

eau de nil said...

happy days, dear Anita!

yes, we're also steeped in table culture
but in the political and financial mess too!

so good to have you back :)

alessandra said...

Hello all, how nice to be back!
Justine, I think it's all about priorities :)

Janis, I know you do :) You reminded me of that great Genovese bakery in S.Francisco, they sell the best focaccia I ever eaten in my entire life!

Patrice, Venice it's a gem, it's a very, very special place. Italy in all its splendour and contradictions...

Xenia, thank you, happy days indeed for my little girl! :)
Our cultures are very similar...

Polly (nice kind of blue) said...

Some people can't understand why we eat so late in our house, (I think they don't cook from scratch), but I'd rather eat late and have something delicious and satisfying that we prepared any day. Such a pretty cake :)


Happy birthday for Anita, and lovely pictures of your holiday! Cooking from scratch is the best and never give up your nice habits! They say that the last thing people traveling or living abroad are to change is their eating/cooking habits, and taking myself as an example (and now you) it is true! /maria x

Les Filles au Beurre salé said...

* Happy birthday Anita ! LOVE the pic 4 !!! *

Louise said...

What beautiful cakes! I would really love to see more of Italy.

Jo in London said...

Welcome back!
Looks like you got to see some precious sunshine in Italy.

alessandra said...

Thank you!
Polly, I understand people have busy life but I grew up with this idea that sitting at the table is the moment where all family members slow down and talk to each other :)
I also have to say that I have English friends who are real foodies and they will never give up the pleasure to cook delicious food and gather around the kitchen table, only they don't live near us. Said so, it's not a criticism against British people, but more my frustration of living in a town with people I probably don't understand ( British or not, and I don't mean the language).

Maria, yes I believe so too!

Louise you might like to explore the south of Europe in all its cultural and natural richness.

Jo, we only say a brief hello to the sunshine as it appeared only the very last day before we caught our flight back home...never mind :)

Minna said...

Late congrats!

Bichos da Matos said...

Don't worry, we southern people are like that, we care about food and cooking...we're insane! beijos and I'm happy for your Paris sale, bravo!

alessandra said...

Ay Catarina, thanks, you made me laugh...I worry too much! is it another southern people feature? X

WSAKE said...

such a wonderful post...
love the thought of extravangant gardening:) sounds so good!

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

I love the idea of stumbling upon an unexpected patch of vegetables.

Bohemian girl said...

Vegetable places tucked up high between the stones in the wall ... did you mean that it refers to how in your country people tend to leave things neglected? Or did you mean that it is actually aesthetic and that in Italy they have an exceptional sense for it? Sorry, for asking, I think in Italy you definitely have more "revolutionary" spirit than we have here and we would need it. Ok, lets leave this subject for now.

Table a centrepiece in every household - so nice, we also do not have that.

what is cooking from scratch? A question for google...

alessandra said...

Bohemian girl, no I mean the opposite, how (in their homes) Italian people care for decor, not so much on the streets(as they are full of dogs poo, though I admit it is improving, and rubbish thrown careless). You are right Italians have an exceptional sense of esthetic in-fact it is still one of the leading countries in terms of design and fashion. Italy is beautiful because since centuries the inhabitants had the tendency to beautify ( not really in the latest hundred years, when the most ugly developments and building were built for profit). These tucked and unexpected gardens are not a sign of decadence or neglect, the opposite, they are a sign that despite all some people still care.
Indeed, the kitchen table is the staple of every house hold as the kitchen is its heart. I was quite puzzled when I saw people eating on the sofa in front of the TV, I thought it was a joke as when people invited us for dinner only to eat sandwiches made on the microwave!... not to mention pasta with ketchup sauce, that is hilarious for an Italian! :D
Cooking from scratch is basically cooking with the raw ingredients to create a dish but also to me it involves the trip to the market, do the shopping choosing the ingredients... I hope in your country people do that! ;^)

Bohemian girl said...

I like in Italy that people do not tend to undergo large reconstructions while repairing houses and flats, they basically more add then destroy. Which is the opposite here. We like it (not me, though) like they do it in Germany for example: we will build all new and better. Yes, you are right, the little gardens and green plants, it is like storing one nice thing on the other.
Sorry for involving the revolutionary spirit, he.

alessandra said...

Magda, in a way is good, but on the other hand every time there's an earthquake all collapse and many people get killed. I think social structures like schools for example should be built from scratch (;) respecting the surrounding and be as much ecological and sustainable as possible, same for new housing developments. Sadly,I see this trend is not fashionable anymore, we had a hint of hope before the recession ( here in UK as well) and then lots of broken promises from politicians.
Not at all, I'm pleased you mention the revolutionary side of Italians, sadly we have lost that, Italians are most conformist than anything now...