Yes you read the post title correctly. As part of getting to know each other ICCROM suggested to everyone before we arrived that we should bring some food type typical of our countries. Then at some point we would all cook for each other. Well 2 things have happened since this email was sent, first almost everyone at Ponte Bionco poles their food and eats in Kamil's room. Kamil is the representative from Israel. Second I was foolish enough to bring 3 bottles of maple syrup and 2 jars of Saskatoon jam. Now please tell me what could be more Canadian or representative of Saskatchewan.
So I being the fool that I can sometimes be decide to hold a pancake breakfast, the problem is location. According to the rules at Ponte Bionco we are not allowed to take food of drinks into the study room and we have already had a few complaints about being to noisey while in Kamil's room. So I try to arrange something with the ICCROM staff to be able to access their facilities on Sunday. This also does not turn out, so it is looking rather bleak regarding pulling this off. One night on my way home I just for fun ask one of the front desk clerks if I could have a party on Sunday March 18th at noon. I explained the plans and the next thing I know the party is on and now I have to do some serious cooking for between 25 -30 people. Oh a little bribing with a plate of food also goes a long way to help make things happen.
Barbara the representative from Vatican City says she will take me to the Metro to do the shopping as it is a large wholesale warehouse store, but you have to have a special card to get in and her husband just happens to have just such a card. Food purchased arranged then there are maps for what floor and room to head to for the different menu items. Yes I did say menu items. Pancakes and syrup, scrambled eggs, sausage, hasbrowns, freshly cut oranges and juice. Again I say what was I thinking! I have a 2 burner stove, no oven and now have to figure out how to cook all of this food.
The week goes on with our classes. We have been studying Management and Planning Context. The guest lecturer was Jane Thompson and Englsih woman who now lives here in Rome and is a PM working at Herculeneum. We are heading there at the end of April for 5 days. Anyway in between lectures and groupd work and arranging to do presentations some of the group is helping me plan the party. Friday finally arrives and everyone is shattered as usually and stumbles back to the residence. A number of us meet at Kamil's for supper and of course wine and then call it an evening around 11 pm.
A street close to ICCROM
Saturday arrives and I am enjoying a quiet day at home before heading to St. Peters to meet Barbara as she was working today. It is a beautiful day so I take the tram to the stop I normally get off of to head to class. Today I walk through the winding twisting tiny streets to reach the Tiber River and start walking. I could take the bus, but it really is beautiful out and I want to enjoy the sunshine. Walking along the river is so beautiful. All around you there is stunning architecture and history. I can see the Castel Sant' Angelo and for once I did not have a camera in my hands. First time I have left my apartment without one. There will be other days of walking and taking pictures which I will share with you.
The Tiber River
The trees are just starting to bud out and it really is a beautiful day. I arrive at my cross road and turn to my left onto Via Della Conciliazione and am staring at the Piazza San Pietro and of course the Basillica di San Pietro, or St. Peter's. It is about 1:15 so I stop at a pizzaera and order some piazza and a coke which I decide I will enjoy while sitting in front of the obilisc in St. Peter's square. I sit on the guard rail of a fountain off to the side of the square and watch the people as I enjoy my piazza. The tourists are lined up around the collanade to wait to access the church. I then decide that I have a few minutes to just sit and take in the whole site so I move to the obilisc and sit down on the ground facing St. Peter's. My back is resting against a bollard and there I am in one of the holiest sites in the world just hanging out. I must admit that it is a little sereal to say the least. Finally 2 pm comes and Barbara comes looking for me so that we can go shopping. First though we are heading to her apartment where her husband, Paulo is making pasta for us to have for lunch. Of course a meal like this is not complete without a glass of red wine. Their apartment is literally across the street front Vatican City. You can see the Papal rsidences as well as the apartments for some of the nun's, priests and cardinals. Pretty great view, even though the street is rather noisey due to the tourists. Lunch is amazing and Barbara is good enough to provide cooking supplies like a frying pan that is larger than 6 inches in diameter.
The shopping trip takes us first to a specialty shop where I can buy some baking powder. I am still not certain if baking powder is a foreign item or if it just called by another name. One item down and many more to go. Paulo is driving and I end up completely confused as to which way we have traveled or for that matter where exactly I am in Rome. Thank goodness I really don't need to know.
We arrive at the Metro and once again I am tasked with trying to shop in Italian, but this time I have an interpretter to assist me. Barbara and I rund around the store gathering food and other items required to feed 25 people. Paulo does their shopping and after about 2 hours we are finally done and ready to pay and head back to Ponte Bionco where I have to begin cooking parts of the menu for the next day. So how you pay is you stand in line as normal, but you do not put anything on the belt except small items and you do not do this until the person in front of you has completely removed their items and is leaving. Very civilized compared to the craziness that happens at Cosco. We get through the cash load the very tiny car and head to the Ponte Bionco. The street leading up to the residence is barely wide enough for 1vehicle and there are cars parked on both sides of the street and it is a deadend unless you live there to be able to open the swing gate. I am amazed at how easily Paulo manuvers through the traffic and up the street and we get parked in front of the hotel. the three of us start to carry in the food and I call for reinforcements. Kamil comes to help and take all the drinks to his suite. Mageda from Morocco comes and helps carry the rest of the food to my suite. Barbara and Paulo leave and it is now time to start cooking. It is afte 8 pm and I have 10 pounds of potatoes to get cooked on a small 2 burner stove this is not looking good. Time to call in more reinforcements. Kamil takes the first pot of potatoes with Emilia form Bulgeria and Monali from India and Megda from Morocco all taking pots of potatoes to get cooking for the hashbrowns. Please keep in mind that everyone except Mageda live on a different floor. I start getting the sausages prepared and cooked. Things are starting to come together 7 pots of potatoes later I can start to make the hashbrowns. Kamil calls and tells me to come for some supper as I am not to keep cooking until I have something to eat. Up I go to suite 509 the gathering spot and have a quick supper and visit with Kamil, Emilia and Monali. Time to take to last batch of potatoes from Kamil and start on the hashbrowns. This part of the cooking process goes very slow, as I can really only use the large burner because I have a normal sized fryng pan. Finally at 2 a.m. I crash. The sausages are done and delivered to suite 303, Emilia and Monali, the hasbrowns are done and ready to go to 509, Kamil and 209 Nida from Turkey. This is definately an international breakfast more than a Canadian one.
Sunday morning arrives way too soon and once again it is time to start cooking, this time I have to prepare all the pancake batter and start cooking the pancakes. Emilia arrives to offer some help and have a first taste, so far so good. She disappears to go and make me a coffee and arrives back with a surprise for me. Nida, Emilia and Monali have pitched in to get me the perfect Roman cooking apron for this event.
Gerry from China is the official photographer and he is not missing a shot for this party. Niramon from Thailand lives across the hall from me and is good enough to offer to cook the eggs while I continue to work on the pancakes. Food, food, food, everywhere you look there is food. I suppose this is a good thing. The map has been prepared by Emilia and Monali and slipped under everyones door last night. I think that we are ready and can actually pull this off.
The Food is moved to Bun's room as we found out that he had been holding out on everyone and has a massive terrace large enough for everyone to be in one place. The carefully planned party is now in one location and the food begins to disappear and everyone to have fun. At the end of the day there was a partial tray left of hashbrowns that the group as a whole donated to some Nun's who feed the poor near the Vatican. I think that this was a fitting end to a great day. Oh and we also feed 2 front desk clerk's, one of the tenants that wanted to know what was going on and also a maid that had to work on Sunday. The party was a complete success and I finally got my mind back and will not be doing such a crazy thing like this again soon.
Sorry for not getting the pictures to line up, but the program is just not cooperating either that or it is time for me to post this blog so that you can all have a good chuckle. I have to be up by just after 5 am tomorrow as we are heading to Florence for 2 days to meet with an expert in wood conservation. That will be for another blog post. I hope that you are enjoying, more to come.