All posts filed under: Stories From The Table

cicchetti at timon

The things I haven’t done

There are many things I haven’t done in Venice. Here are just a few: I haven’t written a novel My Italian is horrible My Venetian friends are nonexistent I haven’t ever managed to wake up early enough to go for a run at dawn These were all on my to-do list, but luckily I don’t really mind the fact that they remain unticked. Partly because a lot of these things don’t actually matter, but mostly because I’ve decided to give myself a break. No, I haven’t finished a novel, but I’m writing more than I ever used to. Everyday in fact – things that will never be published but that fulfil this hunger to record and to read back. My Italian might still be terrible but I’m having lessons and getting a little better everyday – no mean feat in a city that has no time for stumbling learners. As an unexpected bonus we’ve also come to appreciate the less-than dulcet tones of Venetian, and that’s something in itself. And while most of Venice treats Read More

Venetian food: a beginning

It’s probably safe to say that Venice beat Walt Disney to the title of “most magical place on earth” by over a thousand years. But like so many things, The Most Serene Republic is a city built on compromise. The first people to settle on these damp heaps of mud didn’t do so out of choice. They came here to escape the rather unpleasant chaps who had a penchant for coming down to Italy and setting things on fire. The islands we now refer to as Venice, scattered as they are throughout a shallow Adriatic lagoon, started life as seasonal refugee camps. It wasn’t until AD 421 that Venice became a permanent settlement, and even then, it was a destination for groups that had been driven from their homes elsewhere. It’s a place chosen by people who didn’t really have all that much choice left. And even after things got a little more permanent – mud and wood gradually providing the foundation for masonry and stone – Venice spent much of its history practicing its Read More

view from arsenale

There’s something in the air

If you put your head out the window of a Venetian apartment today, and inhale deeply enough – holding the breath in your throat and your eyes firmly shut – it feels like early morning in summer. There’s something in the air. I can’t put my finger on it. Something like salt and grass, and the faint hum of a day coming to a simmer – one that promises heat. Except it’s February at midday, and the sunshine that bathes my face as I lean on the windowsill is as bright and warm and whole as it’ll ever be. And that still means wrapping up in my scarf, hat and gloves. Yet somewhere in the sinews of the air, somewhere there’s still that promise of spring. Dom’s got in the habit of chuckling at me when we go out on days like this. He says that if someone created a word cloud of the things I say most often, “fresh” and “hungry” would be at the top. And he’s right, at least in these late Read More