Sunday, October 18, 2009

Guest Post-Nancy

Nancy is my husband's step cousin's wife. She and her family live in Cairo, Egypt while her husband, Andrew, attends the American University in Cairo. I actually meet her husband in my undergrad program at BYU. I was shocked when I showed up to his home to meet the new family I was going to inherit and realized that I had already been there a year before for Andrew's mission farewell party.
Nancy blogs about motherhood (she is seriously a supermom) and her adventures in the Middle East.  She's got a lively two year-old with another one on the way!

Lemon Gelato

I was introduced to the world of gelato when I was seventeen years old. I lived a sheltered life, I know. My mother was sent to Germany for a conference and I accompanied her; we made a stop in Northern Italy before the conference, meeting up with some cousins and touring around the Milan area, just for fun. And why not? We were in Europe.

It was my first time in Europe—my first time out of North America—and it was both thrilling and intimidating. I believe it was my mother’s first time “on the continent” as well.We were happy to have my cousin Craig around to be a guide of sorts, both cultural and historical.

He had travelled to Europe a few times before and was, at the time, majoring in anthropology. Later he would go on to pursue a master’s degree in classical studies, specializing in the Roman Empire. Or something like that. He knew a lot; we didn’t.

While making a stop at the Duomo in Milan, he spied a gelato stand and suggested we all take a break from walking around in the hot June sun to get some.

“Lemon,” he said simply, “Get lemon. It’s the best.”

So I got a single scoop of lemon gelato. And it was divine.

I have tried other flavours since then—many, many other flavours—but nothing compares to the zing of lemon gelato. It’s the perfect combination of bitter and sweet.

My husband, ironically enough, was the one who encouraged me to branch out. The irony being that although he can’t claim the title of “World’s Pickiest Eater,” he is definitely in the running for it.

We spent our honeymoon in Italy, the land of gelato. Unfortunately we got married in December, which meant that our honeymoon was also in December, which meant that there weren’t many gelato stands around on the street. But we sought out gelato every opportunity we got, and it was fairly easy to find since my husband served a 2-year LDS mission in Italy and was familiar with Rome’s gelaterias.*

As a safety, I’d order double scoops. Strawberry and lemon. Pistachio and lemon. Pineapple and lemon. Vanilla and lemon.

Every other flavour was terribly disappointing. Without fail I would find myself grudgingly spooning a melting puddle of “other” into my mouth while pining for more lemon. So I started ordering a double scoop of lemon. That way when my first scoop of lemon was gone I still had my second one.

He mocked me, of course, but he’s since come around and realizes now that there is no other flavour of gelato—lemon is all there is. There is no second best. There is no second choice. It’s lemon or nothing.

There is a place just a few blocks away from us that sells gelato. We try not to go there too frequently for obvious reasons. Our daughter once requested “pink” gelato so we let her order a scoop of strawberry since we try not to brainwash our children about what gelato flavours are best. And then? She bummed little bites of lemon gelato from Andrew and me instead of eating her own.

Eventually Andrew traded bowls with her so that her neglected and melty strawberry gelato didn’t go uneaten—the stuff’s not cheap! He looked so forlorn, sitting across the table from my daughter and me—us in our zesty, tangy, happy, mellow-yellow lemon world; him in his mundane and depressingly-pink strawberry world. He’d sigh every now and then, wishing, I’m sure, that he could be enjoying his gelato as much as we were…

Have I mentioned yet that I’m pregnant? Or how much I wish I was enjoying some lemon gelato right this very minute?

There’s a place just a few blocks away from us that sells gelato. Why am I not there?!

*Disclaimer: I swear I did not marry my husband for his knowledge of gelato.

3 Grass Lovers:

ixoj said...

I'm in almost total agreement: the lemon really is superb, and unless I have a hankering for something chocolate (which means Bacio flavor is a must), lemon never disappoints!

Diana said...

I don't know I've ever had Gelato. Nor, have I been to Italy. And, I don't have a two-year-old daughter. Nancy, do we have anything in common?

Nancy said...

Well, Diana, we both have brown hair, we both married nerds who have a lot of common relatives, we both have been to Utah and to Washington.

I think we have a lot of common ground that we haven't covered yet.