What a Beautiful Day among the Vineyards in the Region of Asti
Gabriel drove us there in the last week of 2007. Joanna and I had flown to Europe, arriving in Frankfort, Germany on Christmas Day, then on to Torino where Lydia's family picked us up, my seventieth birthday. The next day or so we drove through those gorgeous hills and valleys. The destination was the Abby of Saint Mary of Vezzolano. There was no snow, but it was so cold. We walked from the parking area and toured the Abby. It is such a picturesque setting. It was a very long walk and I was so cold.
There was a warm looking bar a couple hundred yards or so up the road. We eventually walked there and had lunch. Yesterday when we parked by the bar and walked down the long sidewalk and road, it was still the same distance, but not nearly so far ... I am so much improved from those five years ago. I do give God praise, with some doctors and medical science.
Normally we would have driven down into Torino at the English Speaking Church of Torino for the Sunday service. But yesterday was their vacation day, so we went the other direction. Lydia had prepared a wonderful picnic lunch. Gaia and Carys had asked me to help them make an apple cake for their parents anniversary lunch - dinner / picnic. On Saturday the Girls started harping on the need for me to help them make this cake for their parents anniversary. They were determined!!! I had never made an apple cake before, but neither had they. So Carys, 5 years and Gaia, 7 year and I stepped in where "angles might fear to treed." Gabriel found the recipe on line. The cake is called:
Fall Sweet Treat: Apple Cake
2 Cups of Sugar
1 Cup of Canola Oil
2 Teaspoons of Vanilla
2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3 Cups Flour
3 Cups Chopped Apples
[ There were a few hitches, but we worked through them. We added some olive oil to
complete the cup of Canola Oil. We skipped the Vanilla, we were without. The Italian
Baking Soda is different than in the States, we doubled the amount. We used 2 Cups
Rice Flour, but didn't have enough Farro Flour for the third cup, so Gabriel brought out
enough Wheat Flour to finish the ingredients.]
1. Preheat oven to 350' This must be USA stove heat. Gabriel helped set the oven by
2. Beat eggs in mixing bowl. Gaia and Carys each broke an egg into their small bowls and
whipped them up to perfection.
3. Add sugar, oil and vanilla.
4. In a separate bowl combine cinnamon, baking soda, salt and flour.
5. Slowly add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until dough has formed. (We each stirred
6. Add chopped apples to dough (if you don't have a kitchen-aid mixer with a dough hook, then
it is best to mix in apples by hand as dough becomes very thick.) ( I can attest that's true.) (The
Girls took turns turning the apple peeler. I cut the apples into quarters and sliced the quarters into
thin slices, then the Girls each took a quarter and sliced then cross ways into other thin pieces.)
7. Pour into a lightly greased bundt cake pan and cook for 45 - 60 minutes. (We needed a bit
more than 65 minutes. And we used a large round glass baking dish.)
Recipe from the kitchen of Selma Horan
For our picnic lunch we shared a trapezoidal shaped park on a rather steep incline with folks at other tables. Saturday night the Girls had glazed the cake with white, yellow and blue icing. Carys put yellow in the middle for the Sun. Gaia drizzled blue around the sun for the sky. My contribution was white around the edges for the clouds. And the glaze was something of a flop, since I had never paid attention when Lilly was glazing her fabulous cinnamon rolls those years ago. So the glaze was rather granny.
After the meal of Cake and Watermelon, Lydia had a wonderful Bible Story on a blanket near the table. With puppets she told the account of Jesus in the home of Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. Luke's Gospel tells the story: Luke 10:39-42 ... " Mary ... was listening to the Lord's word, seated at His feet. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparation; and she came up to Him, and said, 'Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.' 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things 42 but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.'"
Having relaxed, eaten, enjoyed good fellowship, we loaded our lightened picnic basket and climbed back into the car for the short drive down the hills to the bar overlooking the Abby. There among the summer throng we found a table and had a toast with coffee on the porch. We admired the sight and beauty of bees working and the smell of lavender along the rail fence.
In a leisurely stroll we observed the ancient varieties of apple in the orchard behind the Abby, ambling downhill toward the front entrance. It is claimed that the Emperor Charlemagne ordered a Church built on the site in the year 773 a.d. Part of the old foundation dates from 1095. The current building was begun in the late 1200's a.d. and completed sometime in the 1300's a.d.
I don't know about all people, but the beauty I see each day gives me plenty of reason to praise and honor God, as Lord of All.