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Macaroni & Cheese, from "Home Alone"

It’s December. So let the celebrations begin! My Christmas imagination is made up with movies and songs, just as my ideas of love and friendship. There are movies that, seen billions of times since my childhood, during Sunday mornings in pajamas, or during long afternoons spent in front of the fireplace, have helped to create my own Christmas atmosphere. Speaking about songs, the first that comes to my mind is Wham!’s Last Christmas (1984), closely followed by All I want for Christmas is you (1994) by Mariah Carey. Just two notes of one of these songs and I’m thrown into my snowy dreamy Christmas.

Speaking about movies instead, there is a scene that is etched in my memory, the best scene in terms of romance and Christmas spirit. The film is Untamed Heart (1993). The scene? Marisa Tomei wakes up and finds a beautiful Christmas tree in her room, at night surprise staged for her by the sweet Christian Slater. And then, since I was a child, if I have to find another movie that for me represents Christmas, I can not think of at anything else but Home Alone (1990). Inexplicably, since then, I really want to taste a properly done dish of macaroni and cheese, Kevin McCallister’s lonely Christmas Eve dinner, celebrated with one of the most famous quote from the movie:

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Smoked duck breast & pomegranate salad

The Middle Ages is one of my favorite periods in history. I still remember that my high school Italian teacher used to tell us that was absolutely wrong to define dark that era, because it was in that very period that the culture was reborn, in abbeys, castles, and the first markets where trading resumed slowly.

Now you would consider me a crazy person, but suspend for a moment any judgments, especially the historical ones… when I saw the pictures and the colours of this pomegranate and smoked duck salad – a magret de canard fumé that comes straight from Paris, a gift from my parents – I thought: this looks like a medieval dish! There is meat and fruit (it is a medieval habit to mix them into the same dish), there is a sense of long nights in dark castles in front of a fireplace, the wind blowing outside, the Lady of the manor housing a pilgrim, seasons going by…

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Raw Salmon and the praise of lightness

I am back from the swimming pool, I feel good, I feel light, I feel satisfied. I walk with a more confident step, lighter than usual, the  swimming bag on my side holding me back with its weight, bringing me back to earth and, by contrast, making me appreciate more the lively dash I feel in my legs. I get into the car, turn on the radio and on the way back home I search for a song to inspire me, something cheerful, light, not to burden my mood but to put wings to my thoughts and my dreams.

Everything I do brings me back to this word, a concept that goes far beyond its literal meaning: lightness. Vague memories from high school bring back from the mists of time the first chapter of Six Memos for the Next Millennium by Calvino*, Lightness.

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Citrus Jelly

Until recently, jam and preserving time was the late summer. Big baskets of warm and fragrant fruit, thin-skinned and glossy, sweet and full of good premises. Peaches, apricots, plums, but above all there were blackberries, queens of jam, picked one by one from the brambles down the field, one in…

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