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Missives from Miss Molly: 20 Questions & Limoncello

their view of the parade
"bitter greens with caramelized cippolini vinaigrette and fresh figs" From thisismolly photostream at flickr.

man and ox
"gelato in Tavernelle" From thisismolly photostream at flickr.

man and ox
"i love this place" From thisismolly photostream at flickr.

Miss Molly, a cook I worked with at Tabla in New York, sends along one of the last few postcards she'll write from her summer-long post at the ever-so-upscale Umbrian restaurant and inn, Montali.

This note finds our dear Molly winning at Alberto's homegrown Quizbowl, reveling in kitchen-slave solidarity and falling in love with the world.
Ciao!

Okay, only one or two more left. Work has steadily slowed, which is nice. As of the past few days, the only special diets we've had is the kosher family (the koshies) which like I said before wasn't so bad to do, because we can make everyone's meal kosher, but they left today.

Anyway, so we come back from siesta on Tuesday and right away Alberto starts undermining the chef in front of everyone and immediately afterward starts asking me stupid questions like what the capitol of Iceland is. Our relationship is more or less built on sassing each other and his wanting to see how far I’ll go with the patriarch of the Montali kingdom, and usually it's fun, but it also usually does not come out of left field. So when I answered, he acted all shocked that a stupid American would actually know such a thing, and then he starts asking me exactly what they taught us in school history-wise, and I haven't been in school in 9 years, so in that moment all I could remember was Mr. Alderson’s American history class when I was a junior in high school. I told him I didn't really remember. He can be a real pompous jerk sometimes.

Too bad for him that I couldn't care less about what he and his nationalist ass think about me and my mouth and brain. Plus, I didn't have to pay someone money for three years to be my spiritual leader to learn the same things I’ve learned spiritually by working in a kitchen for three and half years.

So later that evening I’m plating this dish, putting sauce around the ring molded rice to be exact, and Alberto starts freaking out at me to not get sauce on the rice. He kept trying to tell me this way to do it and I didn't understand what he was exactly trying to say and for him to show me how he wants it done so I can follow is movements.

He said I didn't understand because I wasn't listening. I finished fine, and his anger only affected me because it was on top of other girl problems I started having about three hours before. Plus, I’m not one to totally freak out. It’s just annoying. And he is the boss, and I do work for him... I just sucked it up like a good cook should do.

When we arrived at the castle after work and Jaro handed over the keys, he gave my hand a squeeze and i just remembered how good it felt to have the human contact that I so often isolate myself from, and it was his way of saying it was okay. And I was okay, before that, but it was still just nice.

Uuummmmm what else? I was better with Sarah this week. She still gets annoying. She's one of those people who take one sip of alcohol and her whole personality changes. Mostly I feel bad for her. I’m learning to be tolerant, of her and other things that annoy me. I don't want to be one of those people. The boss seems to think she is really passionate about cooking and to quote him exactly, "since she's Italian, she already had a really good palette. Italians can tell with their mouth all the technical aspects of cooking."

This made me realize I need to travel around Italy a lot more and meet new Italians because I do not want to go back to America with this tainted version of Italy as my last impression.

Josh is his same gloomy self. Too proud and a bad attitude. Someday he'll have his ass handed to him and he'll learn. Maybe he's just been at Montali too long. On a positive note, he has some pretty decent music which he so graciously put on my computer. Also, when I’m not put off by his constant know-it-all cynicism, he can be insightful.

Ester started spreading rumors that boss was having an affair with Judit. A few people believed them for about a week, and when she said something after that about Eva, we knew she was lying. About once a week, Eva comes over to me and Sarah's apartment after work and we sip Limoncello and maybe a few Coronas. It’s pretty fun and we do the stereotypical girlie thing like talk about the drama that surrounds the 10-person team at Montali. It gives me a sense of sisterhood, something I only really feel when I go see my girls out in California. I need to be more open to that when I get back to New York.

At night, I sit by my window because I can watch the people walk by around the castle. I usually let the breeze cool me off after 15 hours in a hot kitchen and listen to music or watch the Golden Girls. And I always get that familiar overwhelming feeling of love. Like I love Eva and Jaro and even Josh and Sarah and Janko. They are fun to work with and we have a good time and I feel lucky to have that in my life.

I am lucky to feel sad that I probably won't ever see these people again after two weeks because that means they have touched my life in some sort of special way. And the chef tells me weekly that she is going to miss me a lot and how she is going to open a nice bottle of wine on my last night. And Josh and Jaro and Eva say we are going out to party on my last night. And I feel celebrated and loved and happy and sad and thankful... The last time I can distinctly remember feeling this way was when I was 14 and my mom threw me a surprise birthday party at "Hungry Burger." It just feels so good... and I didn't even have to pay a spiritual advisor who will eventually leave his body to learn all this!

On a lighter note, I just wanted to note that I’ve never felt such beautiful clean rain in my life before, and to document that all last week we had a thunder storm pass through almost everyday for about two hours followed by beautiful sunsets and clean, clear skies. The other thing I wanted to note, was the color of the eggs we have here. They are so bright orange; Like if they were a Crayola, they would be red-orange. I am posting a picture of one of the yolks, but I don't think it shows the true intensity of the color.

Okay, I think that's all for now folks. I’m getting my hair done next Thursday.... just cut and a few highlights, but it's by someone that doesn't speak English and I don't speak Italian, so we'll see how it ends up. Stay tuned!

Love, Molly

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9.07.2006

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