"It's unhealthy to eat alone," Fiorella says. She welcomes guests to the table with an innate sense of hospitality. Another plate or three or four, what's the bother? At a summer dinner, Marco looks down at the row of plates and says, "It's good to have at least twenty at dinner," and he's right. - Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun
Diane Michlig and I invite you to a midsummer night's Italian holiday feast and conversational salon at Diane's intimate garden patio within Legends Fine Crafts Gallery, downtown Menlo Park, Tuesday, August 15th 6 p.m. Guests of honor include artist-couple Stephen and Jacqueline Osborn (current works will be on display).
If you are passionate about digging deeply into the locali soil and being engaged in a fertile Silicon Valley renaissance and cross-pollinating among the agriculture/gastronomic, arts plus technology communities, please request an invite at c r o s s r o a d s d i s p a t c h e s -at- gmail -dot- com. Your significant other is certainly warmly invited (after all, lovers and muses inspired much of the Renaissance beginning with Dante and Beatrice). Limited to first 20 guests.
Ferragosta, August 15th, is an Italian holiday originating from 18 BC "when the Roman Emperor Augustus declared that all of the month of August would be dedicated to the Feriae Augusti, a series of festivals and celebrations that paid homage to "Diana, the Goddess whose task it was to oversee the woods, the phases of the Moon, and Maternity" and "celebrate Vortumnus, God of the Seasons and therefore of the ripening of crops, Conso, the God of the Harvest, and Opeconsiva, who personified the abundant harvest. In short, the Feriae were a celebration of fertility and maternity."
These long summer Mediterranean days often has me dreaming that the defacto capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose, is poised and sitting on the cusp of where Florence was perhaps in the year 1492, and given enough passione and clarity dreams manifest into the world as marble Davids, and concrete Googles (this Friday San Jose Mercury News thought the same possibility too):
"Both in country and in town, according to humanist precepts, Lorenzo [de' Medici, ruler of the Florentine city-state during the Italian Renaissance] established a convention whereby there was no pecking-order in the seating at meals: those first to arrive either took the 'highest' seats, or simply sat where they chose. In addition to scholars, translators and philosophers whom he subsidized and encouraged, he also gathered around him such cultivated men as the book-dealer and chronicler of his times Vespasiano da Bisticci, the musician Antonio Squarcialupi, the painters Botticelli and Ghirlandaio, the sculptor Bertoldo, now a relatively old man who was the last surviving pupil of Donatello; and, towards the end of Lorenzo's life, the difficult, fiery, teenaged prodigy, Michelangelo. He provided a forum for all these artists and art lovers and under his aegis they flourished." - Il Gigante: Michelangelo, Florence and the David, by Anton Gil
Shopping list: Ripe fruits in the farmer's markets including lusty heirloom tomatoes (pineapple, brandywine, etc), figs, white peaches and fresh basil, Bravo Farms cheese, Bay Bread roasted garlic loaf, Spenger balsamic vinegars, Saratoga Chocolates, variety of iced and hot peach black and oolong teas...basta?...
Ferragosta, at first, baffled us as a holiday until we began to understand it as a state of mind. We, gradually, have entered this state of mind ourselves. Simply put, ferragosta, August 15, marks the ascension of the corporeal body and soul of the Virgin Mary into heaven...But the day itself is only a marker in the month, for the broader meaning of the word is August holidays and a period of intense laissez-faire. - Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun
Bonus: The coalition of Silicon Valley CEOs and cultural organizations, 1stACT.org, includes in its reading list Carl Honore's In Praise of Slowness: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed (2004) saying:
Canadian born, London-based journalist, Honore, goes in search of balance and illustrates how changing the pace of life is changing the face of commerce. This book is a useful augmentation to reading on creative economies and particularly adds to thinking about cultivating your distinct advantage within a community whether it’s a village of hundreds or city of millions.