104 Slices
Medium 9781609520847

The Rice Man Cometh

Lavinia Spalding Travelers' Tales ePub

LAURA FRASER

The Rice Man Cometh

In Italy, she learns the meaning of mastering risotto—and herself.

Every once in a while, a guru crosses your path, one who can reveal meaning and mystery. We have to be ready for these moments of grace that can stir the soul—or in my case, the risotto.

Gurus don’t usually announce themselves. You wouldn’t expect, for example, that the driver who picked you up at your hotel to take you to a winery in Piedmont, Italy, would be a guru. But life is short, and you never know just who is driving your car, so you might as well ask a few questions.

Angelo Fornara, a friendly and outgoing man, was surprised I spoke Italian, and for the first moments of our forty-five-minute drive, we exchanged pleasantries. Then I asked him where he was from.

“Vercelli.”

Vercelli may mean nothing to you. If you are not a devotee, like me, on a quest, the most you may know about Vercelli is that it is a handsome city of about forty-five thousand people in the Piedmont’s Po River Valley. But to one who is searching to understand the mysteries, “Vercelli” means much more. It means carnaroli. It means, to a lesser extent, arborio. It means, in short, risotto. The best rice and the best risotti in the world come from Vercelli. People there have been stirring risotto since medieval times, when the Arabs brought rice north and some enterprising Italian flooded the Po River Valley and planted a few hectares.

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Medium 9781609520847

We Wait for the Sun

Lavinia Spalding Travelers' Tales ePub

CAROL BEDDO

We Wait for the Sun

Fury is more tolerable than fear.

Everyone in the village is congregated at Bahar Dar’s dirt airstrip, each of us dripping sweat in the hot afternoon sun. But not one of us is thinking about searching for shade. We’ve come out of respect to witness Flora’s coffin as it is loaded onto an Ethiopian Airlines DC-3. Tropetas is leaving with her, and we don’t know if he will ever return. The elderly Greek couple has run our village bakery for decades, and now Flora will be buried in the Greek cemetery in Addis Ababa.

Tropetas beats on his chest as if it’s a drum. He’s worked himself into a sweat that soaks the hair on his head, absorbs into his cotton shirt, and flies off his body with each successive strike of his powerful fists.

Four men dressed in Ethiopian Airlines khaki uniforms push a rolling luggage carrier across the bare red dirt. On it is the coffin, a simple, ordinary, plywood shipping crate bizarrely festooned with colorful airfreight tags—yellow, green, blue. The tags are in constant motion, cheerfully waving and bobbing about in the mid-afternoon wind coming off Lake Tana, as if celebrating a festive birthday party rather than solemnly mourning a tragic death.

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Medium 9781609520847

The Saffron Rabbit

Lavinia Spalding Travelers' Tales ePub

AMBER KELLY-ANDERSON

The Saffron Rabbit

Nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should.

—Julia Child

You are late,” my landlady’s granddaughter Ana announces as I top the stairs, my lungs on fire from sprinting through the streets of Madrid. Ana and her grandmother, Señora Valentina, hover near the door of my apartment. In her hand the elderly woman holds a raised polished black cane, which explains the insistent rapping I heard echoing through the stairwell during my five-flight climb.

“I’m so sorry,” I reply in English between gasps. My hands fumble with the keys, tremors still coursing through me from the adrenaline of the past hour. That Señora has a key and could have opened the door herself is a thought I keep to myself.

The key slides in the lock; however, the door is old and opening it requires lifting the knob while twisting the handle and pushing. It’s a skill my roommate Kaylie and I have mastered over the past several weeks—succeeding even after too much sangria—but today I can’t seem to find the correct combination. The women watch my struggle in silence.

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Medium 9781609520588

Traveling to Mary

James OReilly Travelers' Tales ePub

AMY WELDON

Traveling to Mary

Wandering through London, a young scholar finds inspiration for life and love in warrior women of the past.

At the foot of Westminster Bridge in London rides a bronze woman bent on war. Drawn in a chariot behind two rearing horses, she sweeps her arms vengefully high, clutching a spear and beckoning some Fury from the air. She is Boudicca, Celtic warrior queen. In 60 AD, after Roman soldiers flogged her, then raped her two preteen daughters in front of her eyes, she did her damndest to kill them all. “Let us, therefore, go against them trusting boldly to good fortune,” she shouted to her troops. “Let us show them that they are hares and foxes trying to rule over dogs and wolves.” Boudicca nearly beat the Romans, but when her defeat became inevitable, she poisoned herself rather than accept it. Now she guards the entrance to a bridge, a place of crossing, of something new on the other side. In this city, pressed by a dying first love and the soft clamor of ancestral voices at my back, any bridge might be the bridge I’m looking for.

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Medium 9781609520809

Prologue

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Prologue

Keaton always said, I dont believe in God, but Im afraid of him. Well I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me is Big Bird.

Verbal Kint, in The Usual Suspects, 1995

Parishioners believed he could heal them with his hands. As a kid, I knew my father was different, and it had nothing to do with the fact that he was a preacher. His legs were shriveled down to bone and he walked funny, sometimes with a cane. His face beamed. He forgot to eat. He liked Maine, because the rocky terrain reminded him of home. He and my mother came to the U.S. from Korea after the war. At first, there were four of us, and then there were five: my father, my mother, my brother, my sister, and me in the middle. My older brother and I fought mean and hard, locked in a death match from the day I was born. Oblivious to the slugfest, my baby sister sat back and let the adults admire her. She was the pretty one, and could never figure out why I was so furious all the time. She was born with grace. Predictably, her Korean name, Young-Mi, means flower. Mine is Young-Nan. It means egg.

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