Monday, October 15, 2012


As I stand here in my Italian kitchen eating and studying nuts in the fall sunshine, I am thinking that this is the kind of luxury an expat would understand. These almonds and hazelnuts were a gift from our neighbor in exchange for their having taken off our hands a few baskets of our white peaches. (Little did they know that this amounted to a double gift.)

Until now, I thought that almonds came in cans, and hazelnuts in chocolate bars. But here in our corner of Umbria, they come right off the tree.

When we shipped our half container of goods here, I happened to have included an olive wood nutcracker, origins unknown, that is proving its mettle.

Because the nuts emerge from my nutcracker at a pace that makes me savor them, I find that my normally impatient self has been tricked into compliance with the relaxed rhythm of the Umbrian countryside--the aptly named Home of Slow Food.

While buying an olive wood cheeseboard for a wedding gift, something made me get a little one for ourselves. It may be too small to be useful, but its markings called out to me. And now it's the third member of a harmonious trio.

These nuts are delicious proof that simple pleasures can be the best.

As for which of these photos is the best, you will have to help me decide.

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