This summer we’re going back to my dad’s house in Italy. It is there where we lose track of the days, eat lots of local cheese, let the kids swim late and look up at the stars without ushering them into bed on time, where gelato is a daily treat, and picking vegetables from the garden the big activity of the day. To say that the house is in the middle of nowhere suggests that “nowhere” is on the map. And this place is not. You might have your Under the Tuscan Sun fantasies met, but you also might meet a wild boar on your walk to collect porcupine quills (my favorite activity there aside from cooking…and aside from sitting with a glass of Ripa, the local wine, next to my husband as our books splay open on our laps and my dad splashes in the pool with the kids).
So why on Earth would we leave that place and schlep all of our kids plus the one we’re taking with us? Because an hour long drive on s-curvy roads followed by a six hours train trip, a ferry ride, a walk through hot winding maze-crazy streets sounds great, right? Probably not. Unless, of course, the destination is Venice. You know how sometimes you see a family and think “Who are they and why would they do that?” We are that family. We’ve taken four kids under ten to Morocco and ridden camels and mules and navigated crowded markets inBuenos Aires.
We exploit our frequent flier miles. And so, next week we head to the middle of nowhere…and then Venice.
We’ll be snacking on these:
Curried Sweet Sunflower Seeds
This is one of those non-specific amounts of things – apologies to those who demand exact measurements. Like trains in Europe and service in Italy, it is what it is…allora!
2 cups unsalted, raw sunflower seeds
glug olive oil
handful brown sugar
few dashes curry
dash ground cumin
Oven to 300. Heat everything except seeds until sugar has melted. Add sunflower seeds and turn to coat. Spread coated seeds on parchment-lined tray and bake, turning now and then, for 20 minutes. Let cool completely. Break apart and snack on or sprinkle on coleslaw or summer salads.