My friend and fellow writer Michelle Tarnopolsky, the talent behind Maple Leaf Mamma, wrote to me this week to say she’d nominated me for a Liebster award. The idea is to recognize new blogs you follow and help foster their readership, to answer a few questions about yourself and your blog, and keep it going. This is the awesome side of the social/digital media age, if you ask me. Here goes:
Why did you start blogging?
Contrary to a common misconception that holds blogging to be a frivolous activity for folks who can’t ‘make it’ in professional writing, I believe blogging is a natural outlet for anyone truly serious about and committed to writing. It’s not a hobby. It’s not for money or fame. It’s simply the means to do what a writer must—write. My two blogs provide me the writing ‘prompts’ I thrive on while allowing me to share what I’m into—cooking and foodways, travel, local history of the Tuscan village I live in, the joys and complexities of life as an expat in Italy.
If you could eat lunch anywhere in the world, where and what would you eat?
Why isn’t this question number 1?! Seriously, I’ll try to say this as humbly as possible: most days I’d prefer to dine at home, on a meal I’ve prepared with my own hands to be enjoyed with my husband on our backyard terrazza. Otherwise, a Provençal style summer picnic— assorted chèvre cheeses, olives, and pates, perfect bread, melons, apricots, and berries, and a Côtes du Rhône vin rosé—anywhere in the Haute Provence countryside.
Whom, what, where does your blogging inspiration come from?
From everyday minutia, where life’s beauty, mystery, and humor reside.
How do you handle a stressful day?
Honestly, not well. I hate stress. Nothing makes me more unhappy than a hectic day at work, commute problems, feeling behind on stuff. To deal with stress, I don’t think I do anything very original or novel. I just do my best to keep things in perspective, take care of myself, remember what’s important to me. I do spoil myself everyday with good home-made food and worthwhile wine. That helps.
What do you hope your children will remember about you?
I don’t have children. If the feline species were capable of long term memory, however, I’d say I hope they remember I was a constant champion of their kind.
What is your favorite recipe?
Impossible to say. I have dozens of favorites.
What is your favorite quote?
“There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.” – Kazuo Ishiguro
What projects are you working on right now?
Mostly just trying to post regularly to The Bittersweet Gourmet and give some form and focus to my myriad food-related interests, and continuing research on WWII history in my area (Gothic Line battles, partisans in the Mugello, Italian women in the Resistance, Nazi retaliations). I’ve been working on a novel for about six years, about a friendship between a thirty-something American woman in Florence and an elderly Tuscan woman who was a partisan. I pick that up once in a while when I’m not sure what else to work on.
What is the best thing about you?
I say what I think.
Will you follow the bloggers that you nominate?
What makes you giggle?
The Italian word tarzanelli.
Eleven facts about me:
1. I am a sucker for a cat in need. Strays, injured or abandoned cats will always receive my help.
2. I was continuously enrolled in college from age 18 to age 31.
3. I didn’t know my grandparents, maternal or paternal. I’ve always longed for and even coveted that relationship missing from my childhood and young adult life. I think this is why I am drawn to old people. I love being around them, talking to them, listening to them.
4. I was a vegetarian for many years.
5. I learned to speak a second language at age 30.
6. I’m a member of and volunteer at Gotica Toscana, an historical association and museum in Scarperia, a few miles from where I live, dedicated to WWII history in this part of the Mugello.
7. I have the worst French accent you’ve ever heard.
8. I make the best garlic bread you’ve ever eaten.
9. My favorite cocktail is the Bloody Mary.
10. I have a love-hate view of religion that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to reconcile. I love the good that religion is able to bring out of us—hope, faith, love, generosity, community—and hate how it turns us against each other, divides us, and at its worst fosters violence and prejudice. It’s something I think on and try to ‘work out’ almost every day and, come the end of every day, am still torn about. I always will be.
11. My surname comes from Jülich, a town in Western Germany. All American Gulicks trace their lineage to Hendrick Van Gulick, born in the Duchy of Jülich in 1625, who emigrated to New York, (then the Dutch settlement New Amsterdam) and died in 1653 in Gravesend, Long Island.
I nominate Tillie’s Tuscan Table, a blog by Patti Rucidlo, cook, dog-lover, writer and friend.