Never Let Go

E alla fine arriva lei.

Regina indiscussa delle opere incomplete, campionessa olimpica delle frasi lasciate a metà, leader nel settore del “Ti voglio ma non ci provo”, esperta riconosciuta a livello internazionale del lanciare il sasso e ritirare la mano.

Passo per paraculo, per chi mi conosce poco. In alcuni casi lo sono pure, verso chi mi conosce poco. In realtà la mia inconcludenza è frutto della paura di essere quella di cui un giorno al telegiornale i vicini intervistati diranno “Aveva tante potenzialità ma non le ha sfruttate”. Anche altre cose influiscono, ma non divaghiamo.

Mi accendo con facilità, in preda all’innamoramento verso un’idea. Poi qualcosa si perde. Così è successo con questo spazio, nato in un momento in cui avevo urgenza di dire mille cose senza dare loro forma. In questi mesi il cervello non mi si è anestetizzato, si è frammentato più del solito, e non ho più avuto la concentrazione o l’esigenza di scrivere. Mo’ si riparte.

Ed ecco di cosa scriverò, prima di riprendere in mano tutte le bozze, iniziate ed ogni tanto limate, in questo periodo di assenza. Scriverò delle ripartenze. Non voglio più bozze nella mia vita.

Ripartire da zero è più facile che ricostruire. Finché lasciavo incompiuti tre, cinque, dieci articoli compravo un dominio e mettevo in cantiere altri progetti. Ero nella situazione, comune a tutti, di quando l’entusiasmo iniziale scema e ti senti sul piano inclinato per cui sai che ritornare in cima ti risulta più difficile (e noioso) che lasciarti andare e rialzarti verso una nuova sfida.

Riprendere un progetto significa guardarlo con occhio critico ma clemente allo stesso tempo. Sono spesso sulla difensiva riguardo al mio lavoro, ascolto e accolgo le critiche ma non reagisco bene, per la paura sopra citata e affini. Le uniche critiche che arrivano davvero al punto, quelle efficaci, sono le mie. Sono dell’opinione che sia necessario lasciar fare degli errori per imparare a non farli. Questo perché i propri sbagli, perché vengano riconosciuti, è necessario che vengano identificati come tali. Quindi per capire che qualcosa non va devi prima farlo male e riconoscerlo. Certo, sai che ammazzare è sbagliato, non hai necessariamente bisogno di andare dietro le sbarre per non farlo. Ma non sai a priori come gestire un gruppo, affrontare una malattia, educare un figlio, avere una relazione o imparare a stare al tuo posto. Devi poter tentare, cadere e ripartire.

Con le persone è davvero difficile farlo. Quando arrivi al punto di non ritorno, anche se hai capito i tuoi errori, qualcosa s’è rotto o comunque non hai più possibilità/voglia/intenzione di riparare. Non credo nella minestra riscaldata e con gli amici richiede una gran dose di fatica e maturità portare avanti qualcosa che si è incrinato.

Coi progetti che sono solo tuoi hai più fortuna. Ai progetti non devi chiedere scusa, non ti tengono il broncio se hai bisogno di allontanarti da loro e se li tratti male. E tu non serbi loro rancore.

Ta-dan! Non si diventa mai qualcosa, si è sempre in divenire. Allora perché è tanto difficile accettare i fallimenti, che spesso appaiono più pesanti da dentro che da fuori, e non prenderli invece come incidenti di percorso, a volte perfino necessari? Tanto vale anche piantarla di incolpare gli altri di come ci sentiamo quando sbagliamo. La verità è che agli altri interessa il giusto dei nostri successi e persino dei nostri fallimenti. Triste, nell’egocentrico mondo in cui viviamo, ma vero.

Riguardando The Breadcrumble posso dire di aver visto dove si poteva migliorare. Per chi leggeva le pippe psico-socio-filocose, rimarranno eccome. Per chi si è sempre chiesto se fosse un blog di cucina, la risposta è no. Ma ho deciso che condividerò lo stesso la ricetta che accompagna il post, evidenziandola alla fine, così che si possa fare “Skip”.

Anni di Internet e disturbo dell’attenzione saran pure serviti a qualcosa. Buona rilettura/cottura!

Piña Nel Crumble

Pina Colada CrumbleQuesto era un pretenzioso crumble di banane e mango con latte di cocco. Quando ho letto la ricetta, l’unica associazione mentale che il mio lato alcolemico ha prodotto è stata la Piña Colada. Perciò (e assolutamente non per risparmiare, eh) ho sostituito il mango con l’ananas e il latte di cocco con il Rum Malibu, quello al cocco, che gli ha dato quello sprint in più e che era già in casa. Nasce il Piña Crumble, di una facilità imbarazzante e dal risultato garantito.

Riscaldare il forno a 180°, tagliare a rondelle 4 banane mature, metterle in una ciotola e irrorarle con un po’ di succo di un limone perché non anneriscano. Tagliare mezzo ananas a tocchetti (va bene anche già tagliato della Del Monte) e mescolarli alle banane. Aggiungere 100 ml di rum e un cucchiaio di latte. A parte via di crumble: mescolare con la punta delle dita 80 grammi di burro ammorbidito con 80 grammi di farina, 100 g di farina cocco, 30 grammi di zucchero di canna e 40 grammi di zucchero normale per ottenere il composto sbricioloso. Mettere la frutta su una pirofila, ricoprirla col crumble, infilarla nel forno caldo per 25 minuti o finché non diventa dorata.

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In Florentia Veritas

It’s the second time I literally feel the urge to start writing when out of town.

This is how it goes: the thoughts form faster than I can even acknowledge their presence and I feel a spark ignite inside me. Once again, I was tossing and turning around in my once-arranged-for-the-sleepover, now current-status-updated bed and the light struck me but I could not really grasp what it was. Sure enough, I was reading a harsh, thought-provoking book, but I could tell it wasn’t related.

Although I am growing stiff and unfamiliar with the language, the one thing I knew is that this post had to be written in English. The reason is easily explained. Florence was my first link to America and has played the part up till now. Whenever I go there, English words are all over the place and I cheerfully adapt to this trend.

I’ve come to think that if I lived in Florence, I would definitely keep my English fluent.

Italian Style Burger

Hamburger “di Ciccia”.

I had a undecided start with this town. The first time I visited Florence was the hottest, most humid day one could possibly imagine. Late July, 2008. I was interviewing for my student exchange visa to go to Boston. Tourists flooded the town as if it were their last day on Earth and all they felt like doing was come eye-level with David’s muscular body. I couldn’t help but feel relieved when the day was over.

Some years passed after this false start, I have made it a habit to visit two lovely people I met in Florence every two or three months. Florence is not just a city, nor is it one of the three spots people feel worth visiting in Italy: the Three-Cities-Area (Venice-Florence-Rome) which pretty much sums up Il Bel Paese for foreigners.

Florence is a State in itself. A Florentine has a natural birthright, which puts him or her beyond all the rest. Something you cannot describe until you actually see it in action, but clearly visible to anyone who would notice.

I’ve always thought that places have a way of speaking to you. If you allow them to permeate your whole body and soul you end up feeling almost mesmerized by the feeling a city conveys to you. You’re twice rich. There’s nothing that puts you more at your place than going places. You feel ridiculed in your once firmly ideas and you start questioning them, feeling like they’re somewhat diminished.

As it goes, after two years of intense relationship with F-town, we are at a turning point. Florence is speaking with a softer voice, as if we’ve mutually grown to expect the other’s presence, but without having adopted me.

It’s a more mature kind of love now. Whenever I go I crave the food, the colors, the air, the harmony and I know my way round. I’m not going to Florence to breathe through my green (or reddish, or cream or whichever Florentine-colored) lung anymore. I’m not going there to be amazed or to escape. I belong there, as an external observer.

Like every old couple, we enjoy the time we spend together, but we know we’re too different to merge. So what I do is worship her. Whenever I go I pay my respects to an old flame, because I think Florence is there to be admired and caressed. She expects you to do that, like you would in a courtship process in which she would never, no matter how hard you try, give in.

Happy-Go-Lucky

Happiness is real only when it is shared.

Ta-da-da. I am going to start off once again with a quote, taking a leaf out of the person I once was’ book.

Raisin and Pine Nuts Potato Sweet Cake

Pacman: Raisin and Pine Nuts Potato Sweet Cake

The quote comes from Into the Wild, a movie I saw once and never even attempted to rewatch again. A peculiarity that is indeed very unsual for me since I’m used to watch movies and read books over and over again. It’s not that I didn’t like it, on the contraty I digged it. I loved it so much and at the same time I was – how can I put it? – affected.

Into the Wild is a tale of the rejection for a normal life, recounted through a personal journey to find a truer meaning to his life. Possibly due to just how much I could relate to Emile Hirsch character, Christopher McCandless, soon to become Alexander Supertramp. Back at the time when the movie hit theaters, I was getting ready for one of my most intense experiences. Sure, I was not going to burn 25 grands and cut off all relations, but trying to live alone on the other side of the world felt like an adventure to me.

Attributed to Supertramp, the quote is the climax of the movie and self-discovery journey itself. Right before passing away, when he realizes there is quite literally no turning back and he feels more desperate than he would ever have imagined, he has an epiphany. He thought he would find a deeper meaning to it all, by refusing to take part in a society he judged corrupted and hypocritical, only to discover that real happiness comes from functional, heart-warming connections. Exactly what he had shunned.

I envisioned what would happen after my return. I could almost anticipate that I would come back after a similar discovery, except for the fact that I would be a) hopefully not dead due to a toxic wild potato poisoning b) going back to an ordinary life with obvious needs for readjustement.

What happened instead is that I went back home with a heart filled with memories I could never have imagined and a fridge magnet reading out:

True happiness lies within you.

The magnet is now hidden on the bottom of a metallic shelf, whereas the first quote still pops up triumphantly in any profile of my online being.

As it turns out, real life is all about compromising. Duh. I know, it’s not so much as a breakthrough piece of information. Still, I am pretty sure I am not the only one who finds it hard to balance relationships. So you have to work your way into adapting yourself.

I have been struggling all these years to find a resolution between the two opposite takes. Truth be told, I still have no clue. My deepest nature, my core, is much more inclined towards the first quote yet there are times when I really cannot include other people whom I love in my own picture of “looking for happiness”. Very often I am tempted to go Alexander Supertramp again and restart it all over. The real challenge behind all this is that you have to let them know you care about them, hoping they’ll understand your burn out, or just your needs.

One day I’ll find the winning streak and balance or I’ll die trying. Hopefully not after a wild potato intoxication. In the meantime I’ll use potatoes to find balance in a sweet recipe. Enjoy!

Sweet 16

Establishing who you are as a person can be tricky. I’m not talking about whether you like meat or if you like a little sugar in your coffee. I am referring to sound principles, a.k.a. your core beliefs.

I choose what to believe in. I don’t have a specific religious faith I feel like I belong to, even though if you happen to be born and raised in Italy, you were 99,9 % likely baptized and all that follows in Roman Catholic paths designed for young people. Here are some of my pillars, concepts that sum up the experiences, people and places that have made my journey so far.

I believe that if you do something right, then somehow it fits. There’s someone/something bigger than us that has the wider scheme. There has to be. I like to think that, I just don’t think it’s up to me to be wasting time giving HIM/HER/IT names or trying to have other people convinced that whatever they do, they should be doing it because of something they were told to do. Nevertheless, I deeply respect religious people, because there’s some entity they name, talk to, gather on behalf of, and eventually can resort to when everything falls apart.

Ironic as it may sound, I have always been surrounded by fervently Catholic people. I have been diminished so many times, in my not-knowing-how-to-define-it spirituality, but I hold no grudge. I loved talking to most of them about religion, even when we argued. I stick to what I think. I believe that whatever comes your way, you have to try to become the best you can be. There’s never a second chance to get the first one right. We screw up, and as long as we’re humble enough to say it out loud (possibly, to the people who suffered or were involved in our misdoing), that’s fine. As long as next time we screw up, just a little less.

This is the life we get. If Hindu religion is right, well then, the more, the merrier. Since we don’t know for sure if we get another shot and are actually better off as rats or snakes, this is the only sound chance we have. As far as I’m concerned everyone is free to believe in heaven, in reincarnation, in Karma and so on. Basically, whatever gives them hope.

I believe there’s always something more than meets the eye and that everyone can be a better version of the persona that they are letting other people see. I have never, not once, been wrong. Yet. There was always something more to people I met than they were letting on. Where I’ve been wrong is when I thought there were more positive sides worth seeing in the person. On the other hand, sometimes I mistrust people because I don’t value them enough or I cannot read “through them”. Those were the times when I loved to admit that I was wrong in the first place.

Chai Shortbread

Spice ‘n Butter up your life: Chai Shortbread

I believe in forgiveness. I am not Mother Theresa, so it’s not that easy. I believe in a deeper meaning associated with forgiveness, that only comes after one develops the ability of letting go and is possible if said one is programmed to feel human sympathy. Read: we ALL screw up. Sympathy for the Devil (inside us).

I also believe in numbers. Yes, it’s stupid, yes, it’s superstition. No, I don’t have a logical-mathematical intelligence, so that’s even pretty strange. Anyway, I do. When you choose what to believe in, you end up seeing patterns in casual things. Mine include two numbers, my numerical yin and yang.

I believe in change, but this comes as no surprise. This is the salt in life. Or the spice. For a little of that, look on your left. Enjoy!