The Best Thing I Ever Ate

If you are a Food Network junkie like us (The Gent and me) then you probably know the show, The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Well, this is what tonight’s blog post is about.

In 2008, my husband and I took a Mediterranean cruise for our honeymoon. We landed in Rome, Italy (which just happens to be my other dream city, besides NYC) and just landing in Rome could be another blog post all by itself because 1.) I am terrified of flying, and 2.) it has always been my dream to go to Rome, Italy. But I digress.

We landed in Rome and took our cruise ship to four Greek Isles; Istanbul and Ephesus, Turkey; Naples, Italy; and Sorrento, Italy.

I would like to share with you about the Best Thing I Ever Ate. Actually I had two meals that were the best thing I ever ate; one in Athens, Greece and the other in Sorrento, Italy.

This blog post is about the meal in Sorrento, Italy. One of our excursions from the cruise ship was to a little country side Italian farm in Sorrento. Now this was not like any farms you might see around Alabama. No, this farm was compact and on the side of a mountain. They had lemon trees, olive trees, goats, a couple of cows, chickens; which meant this farm did a little of everything. They made their own wine and lemon liquor. At one time I believe they even made olive oil too because they had an old press on the tour of the farm. However, they do make their own fresh mozzarella cheese. I have proof.

This is Maria (pictured left) making the cheese. She didn’t speak a lick of English so we had Suzanne (pictured right) as the interruptor.

At this point of the mozzarella cheese making demonstration, Maria has already separated the curd from the whey and is getting ready to knead the curd and begin the stretching process.

I loved the fact that the kitchen was set up on an outdoor patio. It was a lovely scenery and I did not want to leave this place. While Maria wasn’t able to communicate with us due to the language barrier, she certainly understood why we were all gathered around watching. Suzanne did a fine job of interpreting and explaining the process.

There was one word that Maria understood and voiced at the end of the demonstration. When we all held up our cameras to snap photos of the finished product, Marie held up the mozzarella, smiled at us and said, “Cheese!” We all roared with giddy delight and applauded with appreciation.

Out of all of the excursions from the cruise ship, I would have to say this is one of my most favorites.

This was the finished product and our lunch that day at the farm. Absolutely the best thing I ever ate and I think about it often.

The photo below was our lunch table and I loved the fact that I ate the best meal of my life with strangers. Gives a whole new meaning to breaking bread.

I really wish I could remember the name of the farm and find it on the Internet. But I’ve looked and looked and cannot find it on Google.

What about you? What was the best thing you ever ate?

It Is Done

Back several months ago I decided to sign up for the 2011 Memphis Writing Workshop put on by my online writing friend Susan Cushman. Part of the workshop was to submit a 10-page creative nonfiction piece for the group critique session. Well, I hem-hauled around for forever on writing my 10-page essay. I mean I knew what I wanted to write about and I know I had to have bored the snot out of my writing group with the same ole stuff every week.

First, I had to get my brain to wrap around what exactly this creative nonfiction genre was all about. I mean I had a notion of what it was but since I had never taken a stab at it before, well, I was apprehensive to even try.

Weeks went by, turning into months, and I managed to write a page here and there but nothing cohesive. So last night, now that we are down to the wire, the essay is due September 2nd, I finally sat down to try and piece it all together. It was late and I was getting frustrated because I felt the deadline looming. I knew it was my own fault for procrastinating. About midnight last night I decided to give it up and go to bed.

Apparently a good night’s sleep was all I needed. Well, that and a pumpernickel bagel from Brueggers with plain cream cheese this morning for breakfast. I sat down in front of my Mac and began again. This time, however, I was all into it and it flowed and things started coming to me and before I knew it, I had eleven pages written.

I know it needs to be edited and tweaked and I have gone through it several times already. I’ll leave it alone for a day or two and then go back through it one more time before I submit it to the workshop director. To me, my part is done. I wrote the essay. That’s all I wanted to accomplish, so far.

What comes out of the workshop is just icing on the cake. I am looking forward to attending the workshop next month and learning all kinds of things pertaining to writing. It will be my first “traveling” workshop. In other words, this will be my first workshop away from home.

Remember when the Alabama Writers’ Conclave came to Huntsville last month and I was so nervous to attend because I had submitted my 10-pages of my novel manuscript for critiquing? In the end, my manuscript disappeared and I wasn’t able to get a face-to-face professional critique? I have the same kind of nervousness with this creative nonfiction workshop coming up too. But I don’t care because I am happy I did the work (writing) in the first place, so to me, my part is over. I realize I have to carve out some time to critique the other attendee’s pieces before we all converge in Memphis the 23 – 25 of September. That’s not a problem. I can do that part. I also realize that I will have to sit eyeball to eyeball with a professional while they critique my work. I can do this too.

At any rate, the point I’m trying to make here is that I am so relieved to have finished my 10-pages.

Oh, and by the way, I got a big envelope in the mail yesterday (August 27). It was from one of the professionals from the Alabama Writers’ Conclave. In the envelope was my 10-page manuscript with her edits and a nice apologetic note. Other than the regular suggested edits for grammar, punctuation, and flow issues, she also wrote on the first page, “Very, very promising!” I was like a kid who just received a gold star on her “What I did for summer vacation” essay in the 4th grade!

At any rate, it’s been fun so far.

Snark Be Gone

So, did you hear the news about Gawker and Salon? Their traffic is down and an analyst on the news this morning said exactly what has been on my mind for over a year now. He said, “they are wall to wall snark driven,” or something to that effect. I so totally agree. This has been a topic I have wanted to write about for a long time now. Enough with the snark.

What is snark? Researching Google, the results came back telling me that it is a combined word made out of “snide” and “remark.” I see it everywhere, all over the Internet.

Having to be in close proximity with face-to-face snarky people on a daily basis, the snark everywhere else grows old, with quickness.

This news story, on Fox News, lists seven dying websites. I am surprised they have Blogger listed as one of the dying breeds. The article puts the blame mainly on social media and I used to believe it too. However, being a long time blogger myself, I want to balk at that reason. OK, so I am a resurrected blogger. Yes, at one time I got lost in Facebook and Twitter too, abandoning various blogs. But now I realize this is where it separates the girls from the women, so to speak. I am a blogger and want to continue to write on the Internet, on my blog. So I have formulated a plan to stick to blogging.

Part of this plan to stick to blogging is to drop the snark. I tried so hard at one time or another to keep up with the Internet snark but it was not for me. It felt gross quite frankly. Being snarky is not my forte and it is not in my nature. I have finally accepted this fact.

There are folks out there who brag about being snarky. They think they are clever but it has really become such a turn off to readers. Snark made its debut and had its 15-minutes of fame. But now, the core of people who are on the Internet for long haul blogging realize the model for success; intelligent writing.

Be thoughtful. Write intelligently. Play nice. Snark is so over and so yesterday. I’m glad to say good-bye to the snark.

But Carol, your tag lines reads, “Pushing Sass, isn’t that a form of snarkiness?” To this I say, I reckon you are correct. I really don’t like the tag line myself and I’ve been trying to think up a new tag line. Does anyone want to chime in with an idea for a new tag line?

New RSS Feed

I switched my blog’s RSS over to Feedburner. See the little orange RSS box to the right? That will let you subscribe to my new RSS feed.

If you currently have me in your news reader, would you mind updating the feed URL? I apologize for this inconvenience.

Of course you can also sign up to have the blog delivered to your inbox too. This is a new feature on the blog. I didn’t think anyone used these anymore and we shall see if this one gets used or not. I reckon I need to build up my readership first, though, huh? 😉

Well anyway, thanks.

Did you see the news about Gawker and Salon? Yes, I’ll definitely be blogging about this later. The topic has been brewing in me for over a year now.