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Missives from Miss Molly: A taste of traditional Tuscany

their view of the parade
"their view of the parade" From thisismolly photostream at flickr.

man and ox
"man and ox" From thisismolly photostream at flickr.

bigne con crema di funghi
"bigne con crema di funghi" From thisismolly photostream at flickr.

Drawing near the end of Miss Molly's cooking adventures at the highly improbable —but ever-so-upscale—Montali (a vegetarian restaurant and inn in Umbria, Italy), we watch our young heroine dine on Tuscan traditions, discover that co-worker Sara is a closet drunk and ponder the takeaways from this summer of sweat and searing stoves.

Ciao regazzi,

I know it's been a few weeks since I wrote last. I can't remember too well where left off. I’ll start by saying we are in a really, really busy week. Not only is the hotel full, but we have reservations from outsiders every night as well.

And to top it off, we have five to six people with special diets, like one is strictly kosher, meaning we had to buy separate plates, pots and pans and knives and utensils etc. Which isn't so bad, but we also have one who can't eat onions, and one who is allergic to eggs and alcohol. It gets confusing as we have to make four separate dishes that are the same but with restrictions.

It’s time-consuming and we only have five burners on the stove. So far, so good, though. We just have to repeat to our chef and to ourselves exactly what we are making over and over and over again.

I just repeat my usual mantra of "This will make me a better cook. This will make me a better cook." I’ve said that to myself for so long now, I can see an improvement in stressful situations.

Last Sunday, there were only two people on the book, so the chef gave everyone a half day. We split the day into shifts, and Eva, Josh and I took the morning. We went to Citta' della Pieve, and they were having some celebration of some medieval thing and were doing so by having a parade. After that, we drove to Toscana and had a "traditional Tuscan meal".

It was a nice day and even nicer to hang with my coworkers on a social level. Thank god we got the morning shift, because if I had to spend the day with Sara, I would have died.

I know, I know... I liked her a lot at first, but everything went downhill when I heard her straight-out lie to the chef to cover her ass. If there is anything I can't stand, it's someone who lies.

That was a while ago when we realized Sara drinks a little too much. She went out one night, drank way too much, told the chef she only had one beer and didn't know why she felt so bad and she got sent home. And then she broke a glass, didn't sweep, and blamed it on Judit the next day when chef lectured us about leaving shards of glass on the marble countertop. Plus, she gets wasted drunk at work. But I digress.

Eva, Josh and I had a really nice time and I’m glad I got to hang out with them. I’m really going to miss Montali when I leave. It’s hard work, but I like working for the chef and think she and Alberto have done a really cool thing. I’m glad I took this opportunity and really, really hope to do something like this again in the future.

I’m trying to figure out what exactly it is that I am taking away with me, but haven't come near a conclusion. I suspect that will happen in retrospect.

I also feel like when I return to New York, I will be starting all over again there, too. At first that scared the hell out of me, but now I am looking quite forward to it. Some people will be there, some won't. And like everything else in my life, the only constant is me and my family.

Ciao for now,
Molly

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8.24.2006

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