A Tavola: Breakfast in Firenze

Every morning around 7:00 in casa Chellini, Teresa the all-purpose donna, housemaid, and scullion would knock on our bedroom door, ask “Si puo?”which meant, “May I come in?” and after hearing one of us answer, would enter bearing a wooden tray always set with the same objects: several thin slices of stale bread or dry toast, two small slabs of butter, a tiny pot of jam, two coffee cups and saucers, and a small pot of bitter coffee next to a little sugar dish,two tiny spoons, and a small pitcher of milk. Continue reading A Tavola: Breakfast in Firenze

The Tea That Saved Me… Sort Of

As I raise a warm mug to my lips, steam wafts over its rim and carries the citrusy scent of chamomile tea to my nose, a scent never failing to remind me of a very bad day. Decades ago, I was a student on junior year abroad in Florence, Italy. Enrolled in a class on the history of the Italian language I was supposed to attend at least twice a week, I thought at the time I had better things to do than sit in a dark, dank classroom in an old University of Florence building in Piazza San Marco. … Continue reading The Tea That Saved Me… Sort Of