During fall, as the leaves turn from vibrant greens to warm tones of crimson and gold, we can’t help but be reminded of the of the upcoming winter season. And while most of us shudder at the thought of blistery, cold weather, shorter days and longer nights, it is nights like the one I enjoyed last night, that not only bolster me from the cold, but remind me that everything is just the way it should be.
Last night, we spent the evening with our friends Kevin and Mia, who prepared a fantastic dinner for us. Mia prepared the starter, which was a lovely bruschetta, topped with loads of tomatoes, herbs and garlic. It reminded me so much of the bruschetta at our once favorite Italian restaurant here in Berlin, which, unfortunately, closed a few years ago. Thankfully, one bite of Mia’s bruschetta transported me back in time, to a seat at our once favorite restaurant.
Kevin prepared a wonderful salad of fennel and radish and also made an awesome spaghetti alla puttanesca, which as I understand means “whore’s spaghetti.” There are many interpretations on how the dish received its name. I asked an Italian friend of mine about what he knew of the dish’s brazen name. He told me that an angry husband named the dish that his wife often prepared for him with ingredients from jars and cans, because she often didn’t have time to go to the market since she spent that time with her lover. Although the tale that I’ve heard most about how the name came to be is that it was the dish that women of the night prepared from cans they had in their pantries because they had no time for going to the markets for fresh ingredients. However the name came to be, I think everyone can agree that its flavors match its bold, brash name. What I loved most about the dish that Kevin cooked up, aside from its name, was the kick and heat that the dish packed. The spiciness of the chilies provided us with instant warmth, which was welcomed and necessary given how cold it was outside. And we finished the meal with a wonderfully creamy and silky pannacotta, which Kevin also prepared. It was so nice to spend a quiet evening with good friends, good food and good wine.
While some us us loathe the thought of staying in more due to colder weather, shorter days and longer nights, I think its important to find and appreciate the balance that the change of seasons bring. It’s the opportunity to be cocooned in the warmth of our homes with our close friends and family, bolstered from the chill by a good hot meal and comforted by good conversation and wine.