I thought I'd post a picture of this Fanfan I keep talking about, and of my little girl Guenevere. Here they are. The Fanfan photo's from the trip we took to Italy for the wedding of our good friends Mauro and Vanessa. Mauro is padrino to Johnny. In front of me is the best plate of Bucatini all'Amatriciana I had in Rome. Mauro taught me how to make it, though the real thing calls for the jowls of a pig, and I don't quite know how to find those in Beijing, so I just use Hormel bacon. But I don't skimp on the Pecorino Romano by substituting mere parmesan. Mauro also taught me his carabonara recipe, which rocks.
Some time ago, following that trip, I wrote something in that's Beijing that pissed off all these Italians--and many of my non-Italian friends--for the perceived dis on Italian cuisine the column represented. I probably deserved part of it, but let me say in my defense that I honestly do love Italian food, and made it clear in that column that we were traveling on a tight budget and were therefore limited to primi piatti. I do know that there's a world of great Italian food in the segundi range, but hey, at the time we just couldn't afford to venture into that territory. We had another kid on the way. And for the record I'm ashamed of anyone, irrespective of how good the food is where they come from, who won't do their honest best and sample as much of the local cuisine as they can when they travel. There, Fanfan gets full marks.
What can I say? Guennie's absolutely the apple of my eye, and if I've spoiled her a bit, so the fuck what. Believe me, you'd be putty in her hands too.
She's in pre-school now, which for an American would seem sort of strange as she wasn't even two when she started. The school she's at isn't exactly prestigious, but hey, we've already plopped down a year's tuition so we're gonna keep her there until that's up in September. Aside from bringing home every cold virus prevalent in Beijing in any given day, I think it's been great for her to get socialized, and learn to be a hypercompetitive overachiever like all proper Chinese-Americans.