Tag Archives: fall

Cows in central Turin

Notes from my extremely glamorous life: Surprise cows! edition

Torino remains delightfully odd at times. On Saturday I was walking towards Piazza Castello when I heard a loud clanging at the top of the hill. What on earth…? It was a parade. With cows.

In other news from my extremely glamorous life:

  1. It’s been warm enough recently that gelato still seems like a reasonable idea even without my autumn resolutions. I had some yesterday. I’m pretty sure the serving sizes get bigger as the number of customers drops. At least, I felt like I was eating this cone of gelato for a loooong time (yay!) and was totally sugared-out afterwards (boo!)
  2. A non-grumpy hot beverage review: I can taste lemon & ginger tea!!! Am resisting the urge to stockpile.
  3. Daylight savings ended here yesterday, and I’m trying to make the most of the few days where that means “yay sunshine in the morning again” before the winter darkness sets in properly. Mind you, when I say “make the most of it”, I mean, “lie in bed and think isn’t it nice that it’s light outside, but I still don’t wanna get up.”
  4. On the other hand, the sun setting earlier means I get to watch the sun go down over the Alps every afternoon from my desk. Today my view was of a pale pink-orange sky marbled with clouds, softened by the haze, with a sharp silhouette of the mountains in dark grey beneath.
  5. I was struck by an apple-pie making mood last week, which made me roll my eyes slightly at how ~*seasonally appropriate*~ I was being, but it did lead me to discovering this recipe, which if were better at handling pastry would probably be perfect. As it was, it was only slightly structurally unsound and it only almost collapsed under its own weight and only a little bit of the pie ended up all over the table when it came time to serve it up, so I’ll call it a win overall.
Canal near Chivasso, Italy

Autumn resolutions list

Last week was blessed with plenty of perfect late summer/early autumn weather, with warm-but-not-hot days and brisk nights, and long afternoons with melancholy light. I had to travel to Milan for work twice, and both days I couldn’t stop staring at the view from the train window across the fields of eastern Piemonte and to the alps, which are still bare of snow this early in the year. These are the sorts of days I think of when you say autumn, which feels a bit silly because autumn here is mostly overcast days and drizzle. But even if my ideas of autumn are more often ideals than reality, I do love the season, especially in these early days before the winter darkness gets too close.

Here are some things I would like to do this year (this list is short partly to keep things achievable and partly because a good chunk of the weekend time I’d usually spend on planning/writing a blog post was spent on working on items 1 and 2 — at least I’m getting started on my resolutions early!):

  1. Continue eating gelato regularly until it gets too cold to reasonably stand around outside with a cup of frozen stuff in my hands. Once it stops being so hot I need gelato, I have a terrible tendency to forget about it, which is daft.
  2. Find a tea and/or tisane I like. More to the point: find a tea I can smell well enough that it doesn’t feel like drinking hot water. Experiments so far suggest fruity tisanes work, but I would love to find a more traditional tea.
  3. Get out of Torino at least on a day trip at some point. Maybe go for a walk somewhere? Go to Liguria and enjoy the beach without the crowds?
  4. Collect and press some leaves.
  5. Work on my stew/casserole skills. I don’t have a good go-to stew recipe, and it will be a challenge to find one without onions, but there must be something out there!

(I’m impressed with myself: only 60% of my ideas about autumn revolve around food, if you take this list as representative. I would have imagined more like 90%.)

Archway in Giardini Reali, Turin

Signs of autumn

I grew up with hot summers and mild winters; autumn in Perth mostly just means the evenings get longer and it becomes bearable to be outside in the middle of the day. For me, chilly mornings and hazy light and falling leaves still feel like something out of a story book, something I never quite believed existed.

Will I ever get over the 'let's make everything pretty' architecture? Probably not.

Also, will I ever get over the ‘let’s make everything pretty’ architecture? Probably not.

So I’ve been doing autumn things, like getting in as much gelato as I can before it’s too cold, and making plum jam. Buying fruit for that, I had the opposite problem at the market to usual — normally I’ll ask for half a kilo of something and the stall-holder will try to sell me at least a full kilo, if not two. Buying 4kg of plums, on the other hand, I had to hold up fingers and very clearly enunciate quattro chili, to the great amusement of the seller who probably couldn’t imagine why the strange foreign girl wanted so much fruit (I counted 48 plums went into the saucepan, plus those that I ate fresh).

Actually, most of autumn seems to be about food: plums and fichi d’india and mushrooms. One of my lasting mental images of Torino is from the first autumn I was here, walking into the fruit and vegetable market at Porta Palazzo in the middle of the afternoon, with golden sunlight that you could almost touch and stalls upon stalls of produce, with so much of it completely different to what was available a few weeks prior. It was one of those moments where I marvelled about where I am now, having done nothing to deserve any of it.

I had another moment like that the other night, it was a drizzly evening and I took the bus home, looking out the window at the lights from the shop windows reflecting off the paving stones of the street. I was listening to my “you listened to this as a teenager”  playlist on my phone, and I realized that actually, going home to my cozy apartment in a beautiful city was more or less exactly what I daydreamed of as a teenager. Which  was a good thing to realize, I think: it’s my birthday in a few weeks and I find it very easy to ask my self so, what do you have to show for yourself after this many years?? And this year I have an answer. I am literally living the dream! And it has nothing to do with achievements or goals met, which is a relief.

What was supposed to be a post mostly about jam-making has turned rather introspective… But then, autumn does seem to be the season for spending time thinking, doesn’t it?