The traditional espresso machine…

imageLike a good Italian, I owned a Bialetti Moka Express that I bought in Italy. I say, “owned,” because like a good mother I gave my little espresso machine to my daughter when she went off to College.

Shopping for my new Bialetti felt like car shopping. You know what you want, but every store you go to doesn’t have the exact size, color, price, etc. It’s exhausting, but you are determined NOT to go home without the car, or in my case, the espresso machine.

My efforts were fruitless – no one had the Bialetti brand! I was frustrated and we know what happens when we get frustrated and tired.  YES, we make “wrong choices!” That is what happened to me.

I stumbled on an espresso machine called, “Forever.”  As I picked it up, every thing inside me was saying, “NO, you can’t do this!”  Keep shopping and find Bialetti, stick with Italian tradition, but laziness took over. I was done, no more shopping.


My “Forever” brand coffee maker.

In my defense, I “did” examine this Forever brand. On the outside, it appeared to “look” like the Baletti Moka Express. I unscrewed it, so I could see how it felt. I admit, it felt inferior like a “generic brand,” but I convinced myself that generic could be good and this machine was cheaper!  Why buy a Mercedes when you can just as easily get around town in a Honda, right?  It seemed so logical.

The reviews on Amazon say the “Forever” brand is fantastic! I am here to say that it has never worked 100% AND worse look at the discoloration of the coffee machine. Every time I made coffee I cringed and wondered if I was getting aluminum poisoning. Amazon says this is made in China. The Bialetti is still made in Italy.

SO….I went out and bought the Bialetti!  Why did I wait so long?  I don’t know!

I am so happy. I looked up to Heaven as the cashier was ringing me up and said, “Ok, Nonina, do you see?? I’m buying the Bialetti and I will have some biscotti in memory of you to celebrate our Italian tradition! I REALLY miss you!”

P.S. Just so you know, you NEVER use soap to clean your espresso machine. My goodness, my grandmother really yelped when I tried to clean her Moka Express with soap… she didn’t speak English, but it was clear to me from her huge eyes, quick hand movements and loud Italian voice that I was about to “ruin” the espresso machine. Phew, she stopped me in the nick of time.

P.S.S By the way, it is with sadness that I tell you that Mr. Bialetti died in February, 2016. Here is the article from the New York Times, February 20, 2016.  At the end of the article it says that his children cremated him and put his ashes in a large model of the Moka Express. It sounds like the genie in the bottle, right. Even better, if you were to rub the espresso machine, you’d be able to discuss your three wishes with Mr. Bialetti over an espresso. Brilliant plan!

Swedish Pancakes

imageToday I thought of my ex-father/n/law who is in heaven. He was 99 years old just shy of turning 100 when he passed away a few years ago!  He was from Germany and loved breakfast. His favorite place to go for pancakes was “The Original Pancake House.” We would often go every weekend after church. A family ritual for Opa. His favorite pancakes were the 49er pancakes. A nice memory.

Oh, and in case you are wondering HOW I ended up at The Swedish Club, it’s because I received an email from a Midwestern Meetup Group inviting fellow Midwesterners to come out and meet new people while enjoying some Swedish pancakes.

imageUnfortunately, due to tough parking, I was 30 minutes late. The line for being seated was so long that I was too shy to go through the line asking, “Are you a member of the Midwestern Meetup Group?”  It wasn’t going to happen. Maybe if I had had a megaphone and made a Midwestern joke, but I hadn’t been prepared for such a crowd.

Inside they had a small band with the members dressed in traditional Swedish costumes. It reminded me of being in Italy and Munich when the older generation gets up and they know all the ballroom dance steps. It was very nice and felt family oriented. Their traditional outfit style reminded me of pilgrims or the Amish. I wanted to take a picture to share with you, but I did not feel it was appropriate.

imageMore pancakes. I work with two Ukranian Technicians and their mother’s often make crepe style pancakes, but instead of making them sweet, they add chicken or a vegetable and roll it up. Last week one of them shared with me a chicken crepe. He told me when he was young his mother made a lot of dinner dishes using these thin pancakes.

So, here is to pancakes, memories of Opa, AND being open to new adventures!