Archive for March, 2009

Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish, Quarter Pounder, French Fries, Icy Coke, Milkshakes, Sundaes and Apple Pie!

Ciao Bloggisti!

I was about to go to bed but decided to go on Dlisted for one last dose of dirty gossip. BIG MISTAKE! Now I’m going to have nightmares of Pharrell Williams dancing inside a Paris McDonald’s, begging for apple pie at six in the morning. And no, I’m not on drugs. But thanks for asking!

If you don’t believe me, have a look for yourself:

Now, I love Pharrell but that song & dance number was a superfail. And unimpressive. I mean, this is a man who’s worked with Madonna and all he got was “just breakfast”.

Poor guy! Who can blame a traveller for craving a taste of home while in a foreign country. Us expats can relate to Pharrell’s predicament. I once cheated on my beloved Tim  Horton and ate a stale Burger King donut in Milan because I was just that desperate.

I’d love to hear the bizarre cravings you’ve had on holiday or while abroad.  Have you ever sung for your supper?

Oh, and if you’re interested in “just breakfast” take a look at my friend Pickle Pea’s blog. I want that toast now!

 

One more thing before I forget, I just wanted to announce the winner of the giveaway. It’s NYC/Caribbean Ragazza! Congrats and I hope you enjoy the book!!

26 March 2009 at 1:00 am 5 comments

Festivus – Masala style!

Ciao party people!

My name is Linda and I would like to welcome you to Milanese Masala’s one-of-a-kind, extra-special, supercalafragilistic (etc., etc.) contribution to the Ultimate Blog Party. Please, have a drink on me! What’s your poison?

drink-march-april-2008

I had such a blast at last year’s party and made so many new blogging buddies that I decided that I couldn’t miss out this time around. A big thanks to the ladies at 5 Minutes for Mom for organizing the shindig.

For those of you new to Milanese Masala, basically it’s the rantings and ravings of a Canadian expat working mom in Italy. I talk about life in the Boot, from food to music to politics and soccer and much much more. If you want to find out more about me you can read my party post from last year’s UBP or the article I wrote for the Toronto Star a while back.

This year I thought I’d celebrate in a different way. I wanted to do a sort of Festivus, you know, the Costanza family celebration from Seinfeld.

Life ain’t easy these days for moms, or anyone for that matter, so if you’d like to do an Airing of Grievances here’s your chance to lash out. And for all those Supermoms out there, you can regale us with stories of your Feats of Strength. For example, I have eyes in the back of my head, I can tell the exact consistency of my son’s poop even before changing his diaper just from the smell and I can make a mean Carbonara.

And speaking of Italian food, I’m giving away a $30 care package of local delicacies for the Ultimate Blog Party so don’t forget to choose my yummy prize.

As for my picks, I wouldn’t mind the following International giveaways: 37, 49, 1, 51, 55 and 63.

So come on and celebrate Festivus – Masala style! Can’t wait to read your comments.

A presto!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

21 March 2009 at 11:44 pm 9 comments

Addicted to DVDs

Ciao Bloggisti!
Ah! Exercising in the great outdoors, breathing in the fresh sea air, at one with Mother Nature…
Photo credit: mikebaird

Photo credit: mikebaird

BOOOORING! And dangerous. You could trip and fall down a cliff, or get cooked by those nasty UV rays or worse still, get bugs in your hair and teeth. Nah, not for me!
Sour grapes? Ok, maybe just a little but the truth is, I just don’t have the time to get out there and jog. And the idea doesn’t really appeal to me in the first place. The only way I’d run is if I was being chased by a bear wielding a large mallet. So how’s a working mom supposed to get in shape before the summer? DVDs baby!
I decided to order a couple of simple workout DVDs that I could do from the comfort of my family room. Since I’m a lazy slob at heart, I wasn’t sure I would have had the discipline to actually wake up a few minutes earlier every morning to exercise. But except for a break when the kids and I were sick, I’ve surprised myself and stuck to my regimen. The DVD I’ve been using the most is 10 Minute Solution – Target Toning for Beginners. It has five 10 minute workouts focusing on areas like arms, thighs, abs and “glutes”. I only do 10 minutes a day because of my tight schedule but I find the workouts effective even if the chipper blonde instructor sort of annoys me. When I have a few extra minutes I also do the Pilates Weight Loss Workout for Dummies but the pace is a lot faster than your classic Pilates course. Let’s hope I’ll be ready for that “prova costume” but don’t expect me to post pics of me in a bikini! Not gonna happen!!!
I could, however, post some shots of me and my guitar.
guitar-feb-2009
Nice, eh? I’ve also decided to go the DVD route with this baby. I bought the  Learning Guitar for Dummies book and DVD and while I find it difficult at times, it’s clear and teaches me basic chords and styles. I don’t know if I’ll ever be good enough to play a Beatles song but it keeps me busy. Like I didn’t have enough to do!
p.s. There’s still time to leave a comment for the book giveaway! You have until midnight (ET). The winner will be announced next week.

p.p.s the Ultimate Blog Party starts tomorrow!!

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19 March 2009 at 10:51 pm 2 comments

Blogiversary and Book Giveaway!

Ciao Bloggisti!

It’s a very special moment for me. This proud mammina is thrilled to celebrate my baby’s 1st birthday with y’all.

cake-2

Yes, Milanese Masala is a year old! Well, to be honest, the actual blogiversary was a couple of weeks ago but (surprise, surprise!) I didn’t get around to writing this post till now. Maybe it’s the change of season, maybe it’s my latent narcolepsy waking up again. Whatever it is, I’m just too exhausted to stay up late and write like I used to in the early days.

In honour of her birthday I’ve decided to give the old broad a facelift. It’s just what best friends do. You like? It’s still a work in progress but I think it’s much easier to read. I plan on improving my photos and start putting myself on a stricter schedule but I ain’t making no promises!

I guess now I should take the customary stroll down Blogiversary Lane,  look back, take stock of the past year, etc, etc. What have I learned? Well, that I’m a touch crazy to have decided to embark on a blogging career considering that a) I already have a full-time job b) we moved into our new house 2 years ago and still have a garage full of boxes to unpack and c) I have two little ‘uns, one of whom is a terremoto toddler who leaps small cabinets in a single bound.

So why in the hoo ha did I start blogging in the first place ? Truth be told, despite my busy life, I really love writing and I thought what better outlet to spew my senseless ramblings in than a blog. Plus, it would get me in the habit of writing regularly (or so I thought). I was also muchly inspired by my pal Joanne at Frutto della Passione. She’s taught me so much and helped this tech numbskull out on many a occasion. Thanks Jo! And of course, there’s a great community of expat bloggers that I wanted to get to know better. I “met” so many cool people because of my blog and for that I’m grateful.

Now, on with the shoe…

To celebrate my blogiversary I wanted to subject you to a meme that I did on FB. Some of you have probably already read this but for those who haven’t, it’s a way for all you newbies to get to know me a little better. Here are 25 Random Things About Me:

1. I believe humour and music can save your soul…

2. … so at the ripe old age of 30-something, I’ve decided to learn to play the guitar! Funny, eh?

3. I am slow at everything except driving.

4. Yet I was picked to be a part of a 4×100 relay team in Gr.8

5. I’m crazy for cats. They are the smartest, coolest, calmest, most beautiful animals in the world.

6. I’m a plant killer. I love flowers and gardens so I’m hoping to change my homicidal ways.

7. There’s nothing sexier than talking to a man who’s actually listening to you. A sense of humour don’t hurt either.

8. It’s terrible but I love gossip, from reading it to doing it. All harmless but it’s a bad habit I hope to kick.

9. I’d like to be a writer. Of some sort. I think.

10. I used to throw cutlery from our 6th floor balcony when I was a toddler.

11. My 2 yr old is obsessed with dinner knives. Coincidence?

12. I once sang The Greatest Love of All in an audition for a high school musical. I vaguely remember people chuckling during my heartfelt performance. I didn’t get the part.

13. I’ve had a love affair with the city of Paris ever since I first went there at 16 and did everything possible to live there, which I finally managed to do at university.

14. I think dictionaries are cool

15. Is there anything better than hugging a baby/child who’s just woken up, all toasty and warm?

16. If you want to ride in my car you have to listen to music. My music. Unless you’re a kid which means you can choose from either Raffi or Sharon, Lois & Bram.

17. If I had the chance to meet one famous person it would have to be Paul McCartney.

18. I’ve been married twice. To the same guy. Still waiting for that engagement ring, though.

19. I’ve been to India five times.

20. I used to have straight hair when I was a kid. My hair started going all wonky at puberty. I was so desperate to fix it I even had two perms when I was in high school. No joke.

21. I love lists. I love it when a plan comes together. I absolutely hate it when they don’t, especially if it’s due to somebody going back on their word.

22. I’m a terrible procrastinator. I really should be doing something else instead of writing this list.

23. I used to collect dryer lint.

24. My people can’t dance. Well, that’s what my father used to say.

25. I really wish I could have heard him say that to his grandkids.

I am also commemorating the blogiversary by doing  my very first giveaway. Yes, you read right! I am giving away an autographed copy of renowned novelist and translator Tim Parks‘s latest book, Dreams of Rivers and Seas.

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As Jane Shilling of the Sunday Telegraph says, Dreams of Rivers and Seas is “a love story (or rather several love stories), an oblique and engrossing mystery, but above all a story about language and its limitations.”

If you want to win a copy of the book, all you have to do is post a comment from today (17 March) till Thursday 19 March. You can leave any comment you wish (be nice!) but it would be nice to hear  about your experiences with language limitations or even read what you have to say about the meme or even do your own. The winner will be chosen randomly from all those who posted comments. I will send the book anywhere so all you international lurkers can start speaking up for a change!

Can’t wait to read your comments!

p.s. Don’t forget about the Ultimate Blog Party 2009 at 5 Minutes for Mom from 20-27 March. I’m doing a giveaway there too!! Yes, la sciura è impazzita!

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17 March 2009 at 1:57 am 10 comments

C’è Crisi???

Ciao Bloggisti,

Sometimes I like to read CNN.com to gawk at Anderson Cooper but also to get caught up on U.S. and international news. Except for one story on Canada’s Hot Spot (a joke, right?), today it seemed like it had one issue on the brain: the financial crisis. Here are just some of the headlines: “Madoff – I operated a Ponzi scheme“, “What to do if you’re laid off“, “Democrats to Obama: Hurry up and fix economy“, “Artists face tough economy“, “Track unemployment and foreclosures“. Pretty grim stuff.

The Italian papers are just as pessimistic, even if Berlusconi insists that the media is exaggerating the importance of the current crisis. Is he right? Is he messing with us? To be honest, I really don’t know. What I do know is that times are tough for everyone. There are people here who say this is the worst the economy has ever been but others who are confident that the hard times won’t last long, that the banks are strong and our money is safe. I am no Alex P. Keaton so I can’t say who’s right.

Perhaps Bugo‘s C’è Crisi holds the answer. It’s a tongue-in-cheek song about the financial crisis and what we should do about it. Should we be angry and scream about it or simply… do nothing?

Have you been feeling the crunch? How should we act/react? Is the media exaggerating?

12 March 2009 at 11:38 pm 3 comments

Eating guitar strings

Ciao Bloggisti!
I have to be quick with this post because I’m home sick and so are the kids and they’re finally having a nap, which means I have about 30 minutes to write if I’m lucky. So here goes!
I’ve had guitars on the brain for a while now. As some of you might know, I’m a huge Beatles fan and after watching their Anthology documentary, I got the itch to start learning the guitar again. I half-heartedly began about 20 years ago when my friend Justin (who now happens to be a successful guitar teacher in Manchester) sold me a little acoustic guitar.  But being the impatient and undisciplined teenager that I was, when I didn’t start sounding like a young George Harrison after a month’s playing, I pretty much gave up. But in my old age, I decided to start anew, hoping that my willpower would have built up by now. I convinced to the hubster to buy me a brand new acoustic guitar for my birthday, I bought the Learning Guitar for Dummies book and DVD and now I try and practice when the kids are in bed, praying that my pathetic rendition of Frère Jacques won’t wake them (or the neighbourhood cats) up. It’ll take a while to actually play decently but I’m proud of the callouses on my fingers.
Guitars were also on the menu of the latest restaurant I had the pleasure of dining at in the centre of Milan. Well, to be honest, Da Giannino, L’Angolo d’Abruzzo,  actually served up spaghetti alla chitarra, a square-shaped long pasta made from a stringed tool called chitarra (literally, a guitar). You can read more about this wonderful Abruzzese dish in my pal Joanne’s Frutto della Passione.


(Have to take a quick break. One of the “monkeys” just woke up and is screaming for me.)

(Ok, Monkey #1 now is on the sofa watching cartoons. I’m safe for a few minutes yet!)

Anyway, Jo happened to be at the restaurant with yours truly and raved about how authentic their spaghetti alla chitarra was. And if she says so, it must be true! I also was lucky enough to try the spaghetti in my tris di primi, a sampling of three different types of pasta. As well as the spaghetti, there were giant ravioli called schiaffoni (big slaps!) and little green gnocchi, all fresh, all delish!!
lindas-birthday-2009-028

Tris di primi: spaghetti alla chitarra, schiaffoni and green gnocchetti

Some of my commensali had another speciality from Abruzzo, roasted lamb with potatoes. The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender, flavourful yet not gamey, a result that’s often difficult to achieve when cooking lamb.

lindas-birthday-2009-031

Roasted lamb and potatoes

I, however, opted for one of the dishes I just have to eat whenever we visit our friends in L’Aquila, Arrosticini. They’re succulent skewers of grilled mutton which, traditionally, should be eaten by holding the skewer with your hands and pulling the meat off the stick with your teeth. And that’s exactly what I did! I don’t know about you but I get a visceral pleasure from eating food with my hands, however messy it can be.

lindas-birthday-2009-034

Arrosticini

These arrosticini did not disappoint, all washed down with a house wine (which I failed to note) served in lovely, hand-painted ceramic jugs.

All in all, I was thrilled with my dinner. The food was great, the service fast and very friendly and best of all, it was extremely affordable.  We paid about €25 each, which included pasta, main course, dessert, wine, coffee and some deadly liqueurs. Prices like that are a rarity in Milan. So next time you’re in town and you’re hankering for a taste of Abruzzo , give Giannino a call. And please do call in advance because the place is literally an angolo,  tiny and always, always packed.

Da Giannino – L’angolo d’Abruzzo

Via Rosolino Pilo, 20 – Milano

Phone: +39 02/29.40.65.26

Opening hrs: Tues – Sat 12:00pm – 11:00pm, Sun 12:00pm – 3:00pm

(Phew! I did it! Monkey #2 is still fast asleep. It’s a good blogging day!)

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5 March 2009 at 5:31 pm 4 comments


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