Before I even wrote a single word of text, my mind-reading cousin Giovanna has already commented to let you know who created the latest piece of art to dock in the MAXXI’s courtyard:  Pier Luigi Nervi, 1972 in ferrocemento, a strange iron-cement.  (Yes, this boat does float.)  Initially, i intended this post to be about contemporary art but it is about time I wrote about Giovi.

Giovi is a kind of half-younger sister, cousin and full-time counsel (legal, love and life) who  I see on an almost regular basis, when boyfriends, physical and mental well-being and children’s schedule permit.  When I first moved to Rome, I used to see her nearly every day.  In fact, I used to be fed by either her, her mom, my amazing zia Graziella, or La Nonnina every week.  (Not to mention the times they took care of me for tonsillitis, heart-break and invented colds just so I could sleep over.)   My days were perfumed with freshly made ciambelloni in the mornings while the afternoons and evenings merely a bontà of savory goduria. What I am trying to say is that I had, and still have, the privilege of an amazing family of amateur chefs  just around the corner.

Where as Graziella is notoriously vague about her recipes- “just a little of this and a pinch of that” is what she answers when asked “Ma come l’hai fatto?!”, Giovanna is precise and focused.    And also a chatterbox.  Thank goodness, because she is finally revealing and testing recipes at Burro e Alici, her new blog dedicated to cooking. She’s a novice to the blogger world, yet old behind the oven, so check out the blog- give her tips on format– and try her recipes.  She writes up traditional Roman and other regional recipes as well as her own inventions.

Here’s my mental soundtrack every time I see Giovanna: click on either video for classic 1940s Italian swing.  Maybe its because she sang it to me every day when she stayed with me in Los Angeles, and every now and then in Rome? It is just one of her very subtle methods to infuse me with my birthright Italian-ness, along with her never-ending list of schifezze italiane that I am more than happy to eat in order to maintain citizenship.

(lyrics at 0:42)