Trofie Wife believes that it was the Romans who developed indoor plumbing, and apparently their descendents haven’t improved upon Italian bathing amenities since Caesar’s time.
If you recall from our earliest adventures, when we arrived in Arenzano, we were just on the cusp of the central heating function being turned on for the winter. For about three weeks, we had to endure long waits to warm up the water in our boiler, which our ever-present landlady assured us would wipe out our savings should we leave it on a second longer than necessary or deign to actually make the water hot as opposed to lukewarm. We were relieved when the heralded central heating did arrive, even though it took a while to get used to the schedule of when there would (and wouldn’t be) ample hot water. Well, with mid-March now upon us, our days of central heating are waning (in New York, the heat gets turned off in mid-May, so hopefully this schedule means that spring does actually arrive earlier here, although hearing the wind whistle and the tree outside the church-side balcony sway a bit too close to the apartment, I am left to wonder…).
Roughly two weeks ago, Martello awoke one morning in need of a cleansing and noticed, to his shock, that the heat was off. Without enough time to get the system running, he endured a painfully cold quasi-shower and then shivered off to work. Trofie Wife, with a bit more time on her hands, decided that she would get the boiler boiling so that she could take a hot shower. As I cannot quite reach the lever (even on a chair), and Martello was already gone for the day, this required quite a struggle. I finally managed to nudge the lever over to the side with a broom, but for whatever reason, the water just would not properly warm up and flow (pipe delay?). Cold, smelly, and covered in conditioner after being a bit too optimistic about the temperature, (the central heating had turned back on magically, but because the levers had been turned in the boiler direction, the hot water was delayed even though I had nudged them back into heater position) I was forced to resort to what I imagine were tenement-era bathing conditions. I heated water in our electric tea kettle, poured it into a large pot (I omitted the usual tea bag and honey), and then finished the job. I was cold, wet, and mopey for at least 30 minutes following the execution of this solution. (And never fear, I was sure to thoroughly wash the pot.)
Despite the great psychic pain that being so cold and wet caused, as evening (and Purim) approached, I managed to find the strength to make more cookies. Haman’s Ears are supposedly Italian Jewry’s answer to hamantaschen. Essentially fried, lemon-zested dough, covered with vanilla-infused zucchero velo (confectioner’s sugar), they are more reminiscent of a Chanukah treat. Needless to say, it took us quite a while to get through the large batch, but they were tasty (next time, I’ll have to add the suggested rum and perhaps find a way to incorporate chocolate…).
I’m happy to report that while the central heating is still playing mind games with us, we have decided to risk our net worth on warm showers and are plugging in the heater before we go to bed each night.
Baci e gelato,
Martello e Trofie Wife