One hundred and fifteen

Italian with the Italian

Luigi's poor man's Sangria (nectarine in vino)

As I said yesterday, I love being cooked for.  Having an Italian man cook a traditional Italian dish and take me out for Gelato afterwards was such a treat!  Luigi* cooked Spaghetti Carbonara and talked about the traditions his very Italian family has (he’s so Italian he remembers growing up and thinking it weird that every family didn’t make their own wine and cure their own meats).  Here are a few of the stories he shared with me:

Sunday Lunch

Sunday is the day where the family gets together and has a huge meal.  After Sunday mass, the family goes to nonna’s house (grandma).  No breakfast is eaten before or dinner after, because of the size of the meal and the length it takes.  It is served in five courses in the following order:

  1. Pasta dish
  2. Meatballs with sauce and bread
  3.  Salad – usually pickled peppers and olives
  4. Cheese, nuts in the winter (chestnuts on a special occasion) or fruit in the summer (usually melon or watermelon)
  5. Dessert, espresso, liqueur – in Luigi*’s family it is usually Kahlua or Sambuca
Wine is always served with the meal, liqueurs with dessert.  Sometimes a nap is required afterwards.

Cooking

  • Simplicity is important.  You don’t need to complicate things with too many ingredients.
  • The rule is 100 grams of pasta per person.  According to Luigi* “all Italians have a pasta scale”.
  • It is not appropriate to break the spaghetti in half to fit into the pot.
  • Recipes tend to be oral not written.  When Luigi*’s grandma explains how much of one thing to put into a dish, she gestures with her hands and says “this much”.  It’s all about the feel and the look of it, not the measurements.  It’s best to learn by observing than by asking.
  • There should be lots of salt in the water when boiling pasta.  There is a saying that Italians have that says the pasta water is salted enough when it tastes like the sea.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Luigi*’s recipe for two people

200 grams of spaghetti
2-3 eggs
1/2-3/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan
8 strips of bacon

Cook the spaghetti al dente (until there is a tiny spot of white in the middle of the strand – take it out of the water and break a bit off to see the inside) with lots of salt in the water.  Drain the pasta.  Beat the egg and parmesan together in a large bowl.  Stir hot spaghetti into the egg/parmesan mixture (the heat of the pasta will cook the egg).  Stir in bacon.  Serve.

*names have been changed to protect the identity of those involved (or because he hates his name on the internet)

And gelato for dessert at Gelato Simply Italian.  Yum!

Today

Great nana’s English scones.

Day ninety

The chillin date

The Suit took me to this to make me feel better

I showed up to my movie date half asleep, fighting a cold, hardly any makeup on and comfy clothes.  It’s been such a long week -working forty-one hours at the pub, while trying to date, see two concerts, go to my friend’s going away party, catch up with girlfriends and blog every day.  My body was not happy with me and starting to shut down.

I was late and disheveled when I showed up.  I was falling asleep on my feet.  The Suit was a perfect gentleman, as always, and took care of me from the minute we met up.  He already had the movie tickets bought, guided me to the theatre, where I sat down and he went and got us popcorn, Junior mints and a big Icee.  The Suit said I could fall asleep during the movie, if I wanted – that he would be ok with that.  Bridesmaids was the perfect choice, as it revived me with its gross-out humour mixed with romantic comedy/girlfriend comedy moments.

After the film, he bought us iced coffees and he walked me down to King Street, where we sat on some covered steps (it was raining by then) and talked about dating and the blog (he’s an avid reader).  We talked about how I was feeling, and I vented a little about some of the things going on that are driving me crazy.  It was absolutely the perfect date for how I was feeling and I thank him so much for making me feel better from start to finish.

How am I feeling?

I am pretty sick of dating at the moment.  It’s not that the dates aren’t good, or that I’m not having a good time while I’m on them, but it’s the planning and trying to fit it all into my life and work schedule.  And there’s a lot of drama involved – emotions are there.  I just want some time to myself to assess how I’m feeling and to fight off this cold that keeps trying to surface (I am not letting it!).

The other day while I was on the streetcar, I wrote a bit about my mental state:

“The more I date, the less I want to date.  Not just the less I want to go on dates, but also the less I want to be in a relationship.  I went into this month wanting to find a partner, and I leave not wanting anything serious from anyone.  Am I not ready to be in a relationship?  Or have I just not found the right person?  I do miss the intimacy of being with one partner and developing a relationship, but I’m very confused.  How can there be so many awesome guys and yet I don’t want to date?  Dating has almost lost it’s excitement.  It’s become normal and routine.”

I’m a little more positive now than I was those few days ago when I wrote this, but it’s important to show my ups and downs throughout this experience.  Time and rest will put a better perspective on how I feel about my month and want I really want, and I can’t wait for June 1st to arrive (31 dates ends with my 31st birthday).

Tonight

Another set-up by a friend, with an Aussie!  I’m actually looking forward to this one, despite the fact that he asked my friend whether I would pay…

Day seventy-four

The high-school-crush date

The Suit

I had the biggest crush in high school on The Suit – well, back then he was far from a suit: goatee, hawaiian shirts, jeans.  A grade niner crushing after a grade twelver.  When we almost bumped into each other at my pub a few weeks ago, we were both a bit stunned.  His crazy shirts have been traded for a dress shirt, a nine-to-five job, and a love of cruise ship vacations.  We are completely opposite from each other.  He loves rules, I love freedom.  But there’s something about an absolute gentleman that you have to love.  He insists on paying for everything (“I invited you out, so I pay” and “If a guy can’t afford to take a girl out to dinner, he can’t afford to have a girlfriend” – quotes from The Suit), he walks on the side of the sidewalk closest to the road to protect me from the cars should one jump up onto the sidewalk (although, wouldn’t that mean I’d break his fall, if that ever did happen…), he always plans for everything so all I have to do is sit back and enjoy the evening.

He chose a wine bar in Yorkville for dinner, knowing my love of wine.  He wore his suit and his pointy shoes (see below for photo) and I wore a dress and heels.  It’s my first fancy date this month.  It was fun to get dressed up and be among the dyed-blond, thousand-dollar-dress-wearing ladies of Yorkville.  We shared all the courses – a lovely plate of prosciutto, cheeses, olives, fruit and bread to start; pizza as main; and cannoli as dessert.  And a nice bottle of Ripasso Italian red wine.

After dinner, we headed to Milagro on Queen Street where my friend was having a going away party because he’s moving back to Nova Scotia.  I was a bit worried bringing The Suit into a room full of already tipsy restaurant workers, but he held his own.  He joined in on every round of tequila shots or sangria someone in the group ordered for the table.  He was lovely when one of the glasses of sangria came splashing across the table towards him by an excited hand-talker’s accident.  As the group went off to sing Karaoke down the street, it was our cue to part ways with them.  But not after lots of hugs and goodbye to my friend.

As the evening came to a close and as we said goodbye I thought of how funny it is that we are so different now, considering we came from basically the same place.  Yet, despite our differences, we get along quite well.  I’m fascinated by his rules (he has rules for everything) and he is fascinated by my lack of them.  I guess it’s true that opposites sometime do attract.  But I’m not sure how long before those opposites would drive each other insane!

The Suit's pointy shoes

Speaking of paying for dates…

The Suit sent me this article from the Toronto Sun this morning because he thought I’d get a kick out of it: “Website matches suitors and dream dates – for a price”.  A totally different way of paying for a date.  Whatsyourprice.com is an online dating site where less attractive people offer more attractive people money to go on a date with them.

What’s Your Price users are divided into two camps – “generous” users and “attractive” users. The attractive users – beauty being their currency – post photos and name a price they think a generous user should pay in order to garner the privilege of taking them out on a date. When a generous user stumbles upon someone that he (or she – but according to Wade, the vast majority of generous users are male) is interested in, they make a monetary offer for their time and the transaction begins.

Wow.  I’m almost speechless.  Read the full article for more information and the problems with starting a relationship by paying for it.  And read the blog section of their website (here).  Shocking.

Tonight

Clubbing.  Oh boy…