verb ǀar-ẓi-go-go-là-reǀ
                1. to let your mind wander, to muse, to daydream

Cinnamon &
   Thyme Tea

To sooth the sore throats that are so common during  flu season, I gather a few springs of thyme from our windowsill plant (which is nearly bare now) and add them, along with a piece or two of cinnamon bark, to a small teapot filled with water. After bringing the water to a boil, I let it simmer for at least 20 minutes before drinking. (Alternately, let it brew for a while & then reheat.) The cinnamon lends just the right dash of sweetness for my taste, but you may like to try stirring in a spoonful of honey.


A few notes on the images at left ...

Pomegranates are one of my favorite things about this season. I would love to create a pomegranate-themed Christmas tree one winter. (I wrote about my fascination with pomegranates in Seeds of beauty, a past Arzigogolare entry.)
    Florence was blanketed with over 20 cm of snow the week before Christmas. (The photo shows the snow’s delicate undulation along the roof tiles.) Many people were stranded for hours when everything on wheels came to a halt, but all that weekend we heard joyful yelps ringing through Pitti ‘Beach’ as it was transformed into a sledding hill, with plastic bags and bits of cardboard serving as impromptu sleds.
    Breathing in the scents of ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves as I open the spice box is another winter pleasure. We put my collection of large copper cookie cutters (which hang along a kitchen beam most of the year) to good use making gingerbread cookies. I’m always amazed at how long the process takes, from mixing the dough to chilling it, then cutting the shapes and baking them . . . and, finally, decorating the cookies. The eating part seems to go a lot faster!
    It may not be very environmentally-conscious to have a Christmas tree, but it’s an indulgence I can’t seem to let go of. In fact, ours is still up - minus the ornaments - and we hope to go on enjoying it as long as possible before finally recycling the trunk and branches. (Firewood, Anyone?)
    I’m always impressed by how beautifully lit Florence’s streets are during the holidays; a simple outing becomes a festive occasion (the photo is looking up along Ponte Vecchio). While the decorations and lights come down right after Epiphany, we continue to brighten our evenings with extra bursts of light (pictured are a garland of stars and a cluster of candles arranged on a cake stand).
    The tall golden bread in the lower right corner is the traditional sweet, dried- fruit-studded panettone. We did not make this one (I have yet to overcome my reticence with recipes requiring yeast, and panettoni are so easily available here), but I snapped this picture to capture the circles of the wooden chopping board, the sink and the pot sitting within, and the panettone before slicing it.../../2010/1/26_Seeds_of_beauty.htmlshapeimage_17_link_0

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