My relationship with fashion is very peculiar, it began with a charcoal gray little dress I should have worn for an event in the Escada store in Florence a few years ago in one of my previous lives, immediately after the University, when I was an intern in a PR agency that dealt with events for luxury brands (do you remember The Devil Wears Prada? same thing, more or less, but set on the Florence Lungarni). Well, back to that dress: I had brought it wrapped in cellophane to prevent contamination, but when I wore it for the evening in the shop dressing room I found a nice grease spot right on the front.
At that point I should have realized that everything, even the fate, was driving me into the kitchen. It took me a few more years but eventually I found my natural environment. That night I wore my office oversized comfy gray trousers and a sequined top that had a reason why under the dress but definitely not over that kind of trousers!
A few weeks ago I was contacted to take part to Firenze4Ever, an event organized by LuisaViaRoma – an historic Florentine fashion store – for the launch of the 2012/13 autumn-winter collection. This year, food and fashion were associated, as Italian excellences, in a single event to present the new winter outfits in unusual contexts, but certainly more congenial for me: Florentine trattorias and restaurants were the backdrop to coats, pants, and sometimes deliberately exaggerated and eccentric t-shirts.
They asked me to cook a wintry dish – I chose delicious and homely apple fritters – in the Florentine trattoria Coco Lezzone, and this was the easy part. Then I was supposed to wear a dress of the new winter collection – a dress, a fashion dress, me, a more than curvy model… this is the point were I got anxious. This is a sore point, though I tend to think at me as a rational adult, and it still gives me a hard time: the relationship with my body. When I realized I was supposed to wear a high fashion dress, the first thing that came to my mind was the size, surely it would have been a problem finding one for me.
Even though I pay attention to my diet, my work, my passion for food, my curiosity and my constitution lead me to be soft and Mediterranean, so to speak. It is not an excuse, if I went to the gym every day maybe I could be more lean and toned, but I always find something better to do… so I thought that perhaps, maybe, for me it is not so important to be as dry as a ham, and that if I pass over a few curves, so can do the others.
Or perhaps, more likely, given that others will surely pass over and not weigh me with eyes the first time they see me, I should finally get over it and take as a fact that the world is beautiful because is varied, some are fit, some less, the important thing is to smile, outside and inside, with your lips, eyes and heart.
I arrived to the LuisaViaRoma store smiling to give me courage – and listening to Bruce Springsteen to boost myself – but it was all easy, fun and new. Although I was the odd one who took photos of a wonderful piece of beef carpaccio rather than the last branded t-shirts, I didn’t feel out of place, and the make-up session was fun and instructive, another good chance to learn to value what we have. Then came the dreaded moment of the choice of the dress, I was assigned even an assistant, and eventually, once we stated that mini dresses, second skin t-shirts and skinny jeans were not my cup of tea, we opted for a beautiful Antonio Marras coat. The style of the embroideries of the coat refers to the traditional head scarf people wear in Sardinia. I am even more proud to have worn such an outfit with a cultural meaning and a story behind it.
Oh! let’s not forget the recipe! the apple fritters recipe is one of the first recipes I published here, but I always forget how good and simple they are, crunchy and sugary outside with a soft fruit filling. I look at them, lightly dusted with sugar, and I realize once again why I like to eat, I bite on them with satisfaction and pleasure, loving each moment, when the sugar crunches under my teeth, when the apple slowly melts on my tongue till the very end, when I lick my fingers clean.
It ‘s a matter of enjoying life and taking pleasure from it, and I enjoy life with all my senses!
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- 2 Golden Delicious apples
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 2 tablespoons of lager beer
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- peanut oil for frying
- sugar to decorate
- Beat the egg in a bowl, add a pinch of salt and the flour and pour in the extra virgin olive oil and the beer: if needed, add a tablespoon of water to make a smooth but not too liquid batter. It is supposed to cover the apples, not to slide off!
- Peel the apples, core them paying attention not to break them and cut the apples into horizontal slices, 1 cm thick.
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. The right moment to fry the apples is when the oil starts to smoke, as grandma says. Dip the apple slices into the batter and deep fry them until cooked through and golden on both sides.
- Transfer the apples into a plate lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle the fritters with icing sugar and serve them warm.
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[Photo by LuisaViaRoma]