Notes From Italia: The Best Ever Italian Meal

7:07 p.m. Sunday, November 30, 2008 We are in Torre Pellice in the Alps of Italy looking for an “appartemente” to move into near the end of December and we worshiped at Chiesa Cristiana Evangelica here in Torre this morning. Our plans were to return to the office kitchen after worship and stir up some pasta… but one of the elders at church invited us to his wife’s parent’s home for lunch. We, for this trip includes me, Susan, Rachael, Anna (our OM-Italia graphics guru/fellow language student) and Ashlyn who is a friend, a fellow lingua Italiana student, and a Dutchie (see note from August.) She and our crew have had some great spiritual conversations, and she and God are having a pretty neat conversation, too. And, she has never had a Italian meal with a real Italian family. (She asked me to fish around at church and see if we could get invited, for the record.) So, Hugo and Rosa have us over for lunch. For starters, do you have three or four hours in one stretch that you can devote to one meal???! And for the atmosphere… you need a great kitchen, a big casual kitchen table, and it helps to have a garden and an orchard in back. Hugo has a vineyard nearby, also. Here is the typical Italian meal — the bread, the wine (his vineyard) and the bottled water are on the table the whole time. First round (primo) is plates of veggies, olives, pickles, etc, and plates of sliced meats all around. Second round (secundo) is pasta, this time lasagna with all kinds of great stuff inside. Then, more pasta. Third round (terza) is cooked meats, maybe some more veggies and salads. By this time, you are two hours into the meal, perhaps more! Fruits and sweets follow (dolce), this time apples and tangarines. Yes, the apples came from his orchard. Follow with seconds of anything left in the kitchen. Cap it all with caffe’ Italiano all around. The best part of the meal? Oh, you might say the sweets, or the pasta, or maybe the vino rosso. But I’ll vote everytime for the conversation, the relationships, the laughter, the storytelling. An incredible experience. And a dying art in our world. To spend four hours around the table taking life to another level together. Early in the give-and-take, Rosa made it clear (to me, especially) “non parlate Inglese niente!”– so it all happened (for the most part) like it is supposed to in Italy. In Italiano. Hugo came to Christ out of Jehovah’s Witness, because someone shared time and words with him. Rosa said yes to Jesus from a Catholic background because Hugo wouldn’t quit reading the Bible to her. Her daughter and son-in-law? Both believers serving lovingly in a local chiesa. And our Dutchie friend perhaps saw a little more of Jesus living through his people… At least once a week, this could get to be a habit. Rosa invited me to come over every week. But just for caffe… but if life is shared over the caffe, I’m in! Signor Ricardo

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