Rainy Day Writing

Writing, Reading, Inspirations and Aspirations

Random Thoughts: David Sedaris; Travel, French Attitudes and Italian Food; Regularity; Life

I’ve been reading “When You Are Engulfed in Flames” by David Sedaris. I love how he makes me laugh out loud.

I wish he was my friend and I could call him up and just listen to his witty little observations of the world and his exaggerated stories of the people he runs into.  We could laugh at our crazy selves and at the absurdities of the world around us.

I could use a friend like that these days. Of course it would be expensive to speak to him, all the way from the U.S. I guess I’ll have to make do with my brother Phil. He makes me laugh out loud too, and he’s just on the East Coast. He doesn’t answer his phone much though, so I have to wait for him to call me. I’m waiting Phil! It’s been, like, for-ever.

Apparently, Sedaris lives in Normandy, or did when he wrote the book. I wonder what it’s like to live in Normandy? Are the people serious and depressed because of the history of the place? Are the French serious and depressed in general? Is that why they drink so much wine? What’s it like having a real President?

I hear conflicting stories about the French from people who travel to France.

My brother Joe worked in France a few times and loved the French attitude of “If we don’t get it done today, there is always tomorrow”. I like the lassez-faire attitude also. Don’t sweat it. Life is too short for deadlines. Let’s go get drunk.

My niece just came back from a week in Paris, and reported that the people were very friendly and helpful. I can’t imagine not being a lovely person living in a city with such beautiful pastries and so much art.

But other people claim that the French are haughty, especially to Americans. My response is- who could blame them? I’m sure they are thinking “Anyone who is happy scarfing down a Big Mac and feeding their kids Chicken McNuggets must be an idiot.” I couldn’t argue with that. Especially if they are gobbling that fast food in Europe.

DSC_0409 (2)

When I was in Italy, I was very happy. Exhausted, constipated, dehydrated, and always looking for a public restroom, but happy.

Every morning I drank a couple of perfect macchiatos and ate one or two sfogliatelle–light and fluffy yet somehow crispy pastries filled with vanilla or chocolate pastry cream. It made the stewed prunes so much more tolerable.

In the afternoons I usually had a gelato or a cannoli, sometimes both! The food was dreamy. It made up for the deprivations of drinkable tap water, free public restrooms, and regularity.

Granted, there were a few mediocre meals, usually grabbed as I was heading out to a sight I wanted to see and ducked into some nondescript side-street shop. I was hugely disappointed a time or two. Italy’s version of fast food convinced me that fast food is an oxymoron. If it’s not good in Italy, then obviously it just sucks overall.

But then there was the winery near Montepulciano that served a chick pea soup drizzled with olive oil that was so unctuous, who knew chick peas could be so delicious? And the wood fired Pizza Margarita in Perugia, recommended by our guide. The thin crust was smoky, and crispy on the bottom, but still had a soft bite beneath the judiciously applied sauce, mozarella and basil, topped with that ubiquitous and perfect drizzle of quality olive oil. And the absolute melt in your mouth roasted pork dinner in Florence or it’s sister Porchetta sandwich I ate standing in the doorway of a trattoria in Pisa, pushed up against tourists and locals huddling together under the awning during a serious cloud burst. One of the best sandwiches I ever ate. And I don’t even like meat that much.

I also noticed there weren’t a lot of obese people in Italy, even though the food portions were not skimpy, and everyone eats well. Perhaps it’s all the walking people tend to do. I certainly ate enough to gain a few pounds. But didn’t. In spite of the irregularity. Am I being too repetitive?

All in all, I think the Italians and the French have the right idea about things. Life is too short to eat bad food. Food is not something to be scarfed. It’s something to be savored.

As is good wine. And incredible art. As is life. Time is not of the essence peeps. Living is.

©2018 by Ilona Elliott

Me and Cosmo

The Author (on the right)






  1. Ah, those Italian memories! My wife and I spent a nice few days near Montepulciano, where the idea of just living came to appeal to us. Wandering from hill town to hill town was a delight. And the food (mostly the simplest food) was spectacular!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We cerainly ought to borrow that wisdom!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve enjoyed your unfiltered impressions of France and Italy, here. On the rhythms and beat of life but especially of the food (of course, which as you illustrate is distinctly part of those rhythms). Now I’ve got a classic case of the mid afternoon munchies. Hope you’re doing well downstate, Ilona.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey TF! So good to hear from you. Glad you got inspired (to eat) by the post. We are fine down here. Been wondering how you all were up there in the big city. Happy to know you are well. Am I missing posts by you or have you been off blog for a bit?


      • I backdated a couple ditties (from a few months ago) and published them that way…… so you haven’t technically missed anything. I’m really looking forward to getting into a rhythm on WordPress.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Something happened to my notifications for my followed blogs. I need to get that back so I know when folks post…Take care TF.


  4. Amen to that! I’ve become so frustrated by bad food—both bad for you as well as poorly prepared. I’ve practically stopped going out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know K. We have a few restaurants we frequent, usually for lunch, that do a good job. They are generally spendy though. But we would rather pay a little more and do it a lot less often than eat crap. Hope you are well K!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m nostalgic for foods of travels past now. Food in Italy and Greece, *kisses fingers*, “Mwahh!” *Flourish gesture!”
    (Let’s hope that translated.)

    I ran into someone once who told me he didn’t understand why people made such a big deal about food. They spend so much time thinking about, talking about and debating where to go to eat. He didn’t get it. I didn’t get him! Though, he was a handsome guy, I knew some women could overlook his apparently absent tastebuds. It wasn’t me.

    Even a steady diet of Sedaris might be hard to take—I’d feel the need to match his wit and humor and would no doubt end up hanging up on him when the pressure got to be too much!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: