One of my favorite Christmas shows is (for some weird reason) any of Nigella Lawson's Christmas episodes: Nigella's Christmas Bites, Nigella's Christmas Kitchen, Nigella's Christmas whatever. I search for episodes every Thanksgiving weekend and set them up to record so I can watch them later in December. Over the years, fewer and fewer of her Christmas episodes have been airing, and this year they aired the same episode twice and that was it. (Bastards.)
Two weeks ago, I was watching the only episode that I would get to see and was shocked to find myself crying--CRYING--halfway through. It wasn't an unhappy day--no one was more shocked than me as I sat alone on my couch in my empty house while listening to Nigella croon about the virtues of canned chestnuts. (Also, you can buy canned chestnuts? Why didn't I know this?) I was immediately like, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME AND WHY AM I CRYING WATCHING NIGELLA???" when it hit me: I love love loooooooooooooove all of these episodes because they remind me of Christmas in Rome. All I needed to hear was the word "chestnuts" to set me off.
This is how my mind works--all of this happened in less than two seconds:
- Watch Nigella.
- She's not American.
- She is distinctly European.
- She says "chestnuts" while making a soup.
- I think "oooo, I need to get chestnuts from that vendor on Campo di Fiori" like an automatic reflex, the same way I think to myself, "Goddammit, I need to remember to buy some goddamn milk at the Giant today."
- Then I think, "Crap, I don't live in Rome."
- Then I think, "Crap, it's Christmastime and I'm not in Rome."
- Cue existential angst and foggy past life memories.
- The End.
|Assisi--I've looked at this image a thousand times and never noticed the tiny shrine set in the center of the wall on the far right.|
|I've looked at this one a thousand times as well and never noticed the wheelbarrow is full of succulents.|
I think what I miss the most though is the nighttime. I'm not a night person. Honestly, I don't even know if I'm a morning person. The lights at night in Rome are weirdly and warmly familiar. At times, they feel creepily too familiar--the glow of the street bulbs are a distinct shade of yellow that I've never seen elsewhere and yet have seen a million times. I can only imagine them in the winter, and while I know they exist in the summertime too, I can't picture them.
|The noise of the traffic whirs by ... I could listen to it all night.|
|Madonna of the Tiber lamp|
|Image found here--the smell of the chestnuts is glorious. They fill the paper cones for you and they're so hot you can hardly peel them, but you do anyway because once they get cold the magic is gone. Plus, my fingers are typically numb so peeling the chestnuts (even though I can't feel what I'm doing) brings the feeling back.|
|Image found here|
|Image found here. (Every time I see this shot on my Pinterest board, this teeny tiny little voice in my head goes, "There I am!")|