Thanksgiving Thoughts

We are just about at the end of this year and tomorrow will be Thanksgiving Day.
At this point, I would have to use a French expression “Les jeux sont fait, rien ne va plus” meaning “the games are done, nothing else will go”. No, I say no to this, the games are not over yet. Maybe some people have not produced or achieved what they had in mind for this year, and if that’s the case, I would have to say it was not important for this year.

The games are not over yet refers to the challenging games that will start next year. It will be the year of Venus. The planet Venus will dominate the Universe, it will fight the influence of Mars until it gets defeated. Venus, being a female planet, will fight all negative influences by bringing beauty and love. Next year women will do exceptional things, the truth about what is happening in the world will be revealed and we will start living in harmony. It’s not going to be an easy year, beauty and love will be our ammunition.

Calling all Women….! Starting this Thanksgiving, prepare a beautiful Thanksgiving table if you celebrate this holiday, if not, prepare a nice dining table every time you eat from now on. Get dressed as beautifully as you can every day, leave the exercise clothes at the gym and wear clothes that will highlight your beauty, personality or quirkiness. Raise your emotional vibration, raise your feminine conscious, let the world know the wind of femininity is coming.

Women are mothers, they represent the earth, they are grounded. A woman giving birth under a bombshell, knows she is still living a beautiful moment in a brutal reality and knows people will help her in that act of giving her baby to the light. Woman are the beginning and the completion of everything.

With our Venus power, next year we will get rid of the dark and ugly only with beauty. As I have said many times, beauty will multiply when you show what is it to those who live in the dark.

Many people did not make it this year, I am thankful I am still alive and kicking, I am thankful I have the power to think, read, write and create beauty. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Ciao,
Valentina
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Copyright © 2021 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an art lover, author, and a lifetime designer. Often people describe her as “the colorist” as she loves to color her clients’ world and loves to create the unusual. Currently, she consults on colors that will enhance clients’ personalities and are in tune with their lifestyles. To add harmony and peace to the homes, Valentina creates atmospheres using proper lighting and creating fantasy rooms instead of typical rooms looking like furniture showrooms. She is the author of six published books, two of which are on design subjects and colors. Amazon and Barnes&Noble 

Celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau

Autumn is full of warm colors and flavors, it is one of my favorite seasons, I was born in October and naturally aligned with this season. The land abounds of earthy food. I remember walking in my grandfather’s land through rows of tall grains swaying in the warm winds ready to be harvested. His vineyards were my favorite places, full of beautiful fat grapes hanging off old branches with foliage rich of jewel colors. I knew at a young age, one day I was going to like wines and it didn’t take very long. My parents gave me a taste of wine diluted with water every time I asked for it. In Italy, it is common for kids to taste life in small bites at a time, it makes them feel grown ups.

My appetizers with Beaujolais Nouveau

For the last seventy years, the third Thursday of November has been declared the day of the Beaujolais Nouveau. It’s a celebration of the new wine, made in the South of France as a way to be thankful to nature for a good harvest and people’s dedication to hard work. I remember the day of the harvest of our local Puglia wines, the workers getting together with my grandfather and my family to celebrate in the vineyards singing, eating, and drinking. The celebration of new wines is the same everywhere there are passionate people about wines. It was a happy time for everybody, and I didn’t even understand what was all about, I just knew I wanted to be there in the middle of the fun.

Beaujolais Nouveau grows in a region right under the Burgundy area, made of Gamay grape, very fruity, with a purple-pink coloration, it is always served slightly chilled. It’s a “fresh wine” with low tannin, easy to drink especially in the company of friends. Look at how Japanese people enjoy this day of celebration. One woman in this video says Beaujolais Nouveau is good for the skin and relaxes her.

Well, all the wines do that. Wines are works of art for a relaxed lifestyle, they express emotions, the flavors of the terroir, and express personal experiences, in fact, not every one tastes the same thing.

So very little is going on these dark days, let’s take what we can, let’s celebrate peace, life and love. Let’s be in the light and in nature with all that brings us excitement. Ciao.
Valentina
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Copyright © 2021 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is a designer who cooks. She has a deep interest in food that led her as an autodidact in the studies of food in history, natural remedies, nutrition, well-being and learning food of the world. She wrote two books on Italian regional cuisine and a few others on color theory and travel. Valentina says colors and food, style and beauty are indivisible. She lives by this belief. Robert Taitano, a friend and business associate says:
Valentina – an International Professional Interior Designer is now giving you an opportunity to redesign your palate”.
Get your copy of Valentina’s books on Amazon and Barnes&Noble

A Dinner Story | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

San Vito- Bari, Italy

I was born on the sea, the Adriatic sea to be exact, on the limpid blue-green sea waters, salty, crispy waves, grottos, inlets, natural rock formations where crustaceous live and various blue fish are happy swimming in and out.
The food staple for people born on any sea is fish. On those parts, it is very common to be invited for dinner and be served many courses of fish.

Years later I moved to USA, a meat eating country, the search for fresh fish for my daily meal stopped abruptly. I go to grocery shops and I can smell the foul fish odor as soon as I enter the shop. I get closer to the fish counter and the smell gets stronger, the fish is covered with a ton of spices to camouflage the foul smell. I wonder who buys that fish!

I used to order fish plates in restaurants and after a few times returning the dish to the kitchen, I stopped ordering fish in restaurants. Fresh fish smells exactly like the sea, if it stinks has been dead for days or weeks! Just remember that.

Now, I know the reason why when I am invited to someone’s home, the main dish is meat, often chicken, boring, colorless, tasteless and tiring chicken….what’s so exciting about chicken! If I must brag about meat, only one time, in Texas, I was invited to a bison steak dinner and it was the best steak I had in my whole life!

One day, one of of my Californian friends wanted to organize a cooking class in her huge home for her girlfriends fit for a triathlon. She asked me to cook something special, good and healthy from my native Italian region. I told her that where I came from the staple food is fresh fish and she agreed to it. I went really out of my way to please her and her friends, drove for hours to the coast, where I knew one fisherman who could assure me the freshness of fish, and cook one blue fish for each, baked with some vegetable in a cartouche.
The reaction from the women was awful, when they open the cartouche on their plate, saw the fish head and screamed as I had put some kind of horrific thing in front of their eyes. Those women didn’t know anything about fish, how to source it, how to cook it and neither how to eat it.

They exclaimed the fish was dead, I asked them if they usually eat meat alive. They said it was cruel to the fish, I asked them if it is not cruel to kill animals, including chickens, and if it isn’t even more cruel to wear leather jackets or sit on a leather sofa. They were shocked to hear these comments. I am not in tune with people talking nonsenses, I have no patience for them and I tell it as it is. Humans have eaten meat and fish since the primordial time. If you don’t like it, don’t eat it but don’t push your beliefs on me.

I also knew my friend was not equipped with the right tools to eat fish with, thus I brought my silvers to her for that occasion and made her look good. Silly me! I should have made a chicken dish to leave everyone satisfied and convinced that they had not eaten a dead animal. Live and learn.

Fish knives


These are the fish knives needed to separate the flesh from the bones if any, also used to eat a fish fillet. Never a regular knife is used for fish. Only in high end restaurants, these knives appear on the table along with other interesting flatware.

If you invite people to your home for dinner, always ask the guests what they do not eat and if they are opposed to something you have in mind. My friend agree to a fish dinner because she had been to my native land, she knew how good and fresh fish is over there. Luckily, my dessert was a hit. Of course give people sugar and they will be super happy. Ciao.
Valentina
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Copyright © 2021 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer/consultant, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking and travel. Get a copy of her books on:
Amazon and Barnes&Noble





Teatime | Valentina Cirasola | Designer

At the end of last month, I organized a teatime chez moi, it was about time to see some humans after a year of distancing. It seems I have put my body on an energy-savings mode. In fact, I just got around to post this short video on my YouTube channel after the teatime event two weeks ago.

Teatime is a precious time to spend with a few chosen friends. Setting a nice table to go with tea and small morsels is a way to show your friends you care for them and want to catch up with life or their latest news, help them with their challenges if any, or just want to spend some quiet relaxing time with them.

For a successful teatime, only a few things are needed. Good food all made in small bite-size and an exciting conversation with lively people are a must, the rest is all that frills that help to make a nice teatime experience, such as a theme for the table setting, the right colors to go with a selected theme, background music, and a pleasant atmosphere from good lighting.

You can choose any theme for your teatime table. The idea is to group items in the same theme without being too much of a matchy-matchy. I selected a botanical theme, thus some of my teacups are floral and some have some nature elements (ladybugs). My plates have grapes embossed in the glass, and some plates are shaped like shells. The wood napkin rings are carved as shellfish and courtyard animals. The runner is designed with birds propped on branches. I added the fresh flowers and mixed them with the dry flower composition.

This is a small example of a theme, they can be selected from any subject once likes. Go ahead, invite someone you have not seen in ages. It’s still February, in most places in the world is very cold, a warm delicious tea and morsels at teatime will make you feel like a human again. Ciao,
Valentina
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Copyright © 2021 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

My Mask

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer established in 1990. Often people describe her as “the colorist” as she loves to color her clients’ world and loves to create the unusual. Currently, she consults on colors based on clients’ personalities and lifestyles, she creates atmospheres using the proper lighting that is going to add harmony and peace to the homes and she helps clients creating fantasy rooms instead of typical rooms looking like furniture showrooms. She is the author of six published books, two of which are on design subjects. Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Winter and Tea | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

As the cold weather approaches my relaxation drinks change from very chilled white wines to warm teas in the afternoon and red wines at night with dinners. Prosecco remains my most favorite bubbles throughout the year. Although tea is my winter drink, tea is the most popular drink in the world and every country has its own way to prepare it.

tea time treats
Tea room at Teatime, Palo Alto, CA

In England, King Charles II popularized tea in the 17th century. It was in England where I learned about “the agony of the tea leaves”. I didn’t know much about making tea, I didn’t know tasty, natural tea doesn’t come into those little bags sold by the box in the supermarket. I had never been to a high tea accompanied with a display of finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, There is a certain quality in loose tea leaves, they are agonized (the proper words) with care or steeped, if you will, at 100º for 3 minutes, then poured in individual cups. The aroma of tea leaves swirling in hot water is inebriating, all the flavors of tea leaves are released for pure enjoyment. Most British drink tea with a small shot of milk or sugar, rarely they take it with a lemon slice. Milk goes in the cup before tea only when the vessel is a cheaply made brand, otherwise, with expensive teacups, the milk goes after the tea. Teatime is always an occasion in England, all the bite-size morsels sure make a pleasant moment of the day. Once I tried loose tea leaves, I didn’t go back to tea bags and the bite size treats are always there.

Teatime, Palo Alto, CA


In the souks of Tunisia and Morocco, I learned that tea is a traditional drink handed down from generations of men from grandfathers to sons and their sons. The male of the house prepares tea and serves it. I was there in the Summer, their delicious tea was made of mint and loose black tea leaves served with sugar and always warm, no matter what the temperature was outside. There is nothing more refreshing than a warm drink in warm weather! The water and the tea leaves boiled together in a vessel over the charcoals, then the golden color drink was served in glasses decorated with golden designs.

Souk in Hammamet, Tunisia

In Japan, my experience with tea was totally different. I was fortunate one of my friends took me to a tea ceremony and experienced something I had heard about it for so long. The tea room is considered a sacred place. To enter the area for the tea ceremony, I had to bend down and pass through a small door opening.
I was told the opening is made so low to make the guests feel humble and respectful towards the master. Sitting on my knees as the local Japanese do was impossible, westerners’ legs don’t bend backward. The tea ceremony happens in silence, it is a moment of body/mind relaxation and concentration on enjoying tea only. The tea master is always a graceful woman dressed in a kimono, who, with slow movements of the hands, prepares matcha tea for her clients in silence, other than saying the very few courtesy words, she speaks nothing else. Matcha tea is definitely an acquired taste. It’s very earthy, salty, and foamy on top. Many people rever this tea, I must be sincere, didn’t have enough time to appreciate it. The tea ceremony was exceptional, the master made me feel very special.

Arima, Japan – Tea ceremony room
Arima, Japan – Tea ceremony Zen garden

The tea ceremony room in Arima, Japan, was surrounded by a calming Zen garden, well maintained and very beautiful. My long time friend Chieko was so happy I wanted to experience her culture, I did the same when she went Italy to visit the country.

My friend Chieko and I after the tea ceremony

Tea is a social drink, it brings hearts and people together, everyone feels freer to talk about even intimate businesses when in front of a cup of tea, but that’s true about food in general. People become convivial and loosen up around food. It’s easy to forget hard moments in front of a carefully made cup of tea. Ciao,
Valentina
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking, and travel. She never gives up trying new things and doesn’t fear failure. Some years ago, Valentina became a TV producer/host producing shows under her label: Valentina Design Universe. The goal of her shows is to entertain, inspire, and inform, while she is living her passion.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble


It Was This Way | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

How many times have I seen this in my youth? This bucolic view is about slow cooking, cooking the natural way on the fire with natural vessels made of clay or iron. The aroma of slow-burning wood filled the air inside and outside the home. We had to wait fairly a long time for the food to be cooked, we sat by the crackling fire, with a glass of wine, roasted chestnut,s and warm nuts to snack on, we talked about life matters or told jokes and waited. Nothing was rushed. The Autumn and Winter were like this. In the Summertime cooking took a different style, it was often in the open space, and grills were arranged on a stack of stones under a canopy surrounded by green cultivation.

Potatoes cooking in a clay pot – Photo by Domenico Cafarchia

Many of my friends, thinking I miss the life I had in the past in Europe, keep in touch through pictures of food they eat daily. They know when they send me these pictures the thread to my roots doesn’t break and I love it.

Potatoes cooked in a clay pot – Photo by Domenico Cafarchia

These in the photos are common potatoes cooked in a clay pot, covered with water and some spices to flavor the potatoes during the cooking. The spices can be rosemary, thyme, and sage. The lid goes on and the pot is placed in the hot fire pit, not directly on the fire. At the same time, other food can cook in various clay pots all together in the same fire pit.

This wasn’t really my daily life in Europe, I lived in bustling cities, the same hectic lives everywhere in the world, but I had plenty of people who had homes in the country, including my grandparents and some relatives. Visiting them was like stepping back 100 years, but it was familiar, so peaceful and restoring. I searched endlessly for that atmosphere once I moved away.
Today, I have a fireplace in my home, it’s not fitted for cooking, the city has so many rules and regulations, they even regulate how many bites we must eat 🙈. However, sometimes I go off track and I allow myself some of the ancient pleasure. Cooking potatoes in a clay pot full of water and spices is one of the few innocent things I can do. The kitchen smells heavenly.

This is a time to give thanks for everything we have and for our lives. Some people did not make it this year to see Thanksgiving. Let’s appreciate our family, friends, and supporters. Thanks to everyone around the globe who is a part of my community. I send you love and peace. If you are in the United States and celebrating, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. My table and food will be spectacular. Ciao,
Valentina
Amazon Author’s Page

Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val_Pink

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer, author of 6 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking, and travel. She never gives up trying new things and doesn’t fear failure. Some years ago, Valentina became a TV producer/host producing shows under her label: Valentina Design Universe. The goal of her shows is to entertain, inspire, and inform, while she is living her passion.
Get a copy of her books here: Amazon and Barnes&Noble


I Had A Dream | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

Ah… figs…red inside, dark on the outside, that sweet, round and comforting taste I remember so well. Around this time of the year, that sweet taste takes me far away in time, in the company of people who are no longer in this world.

My father and his friends got all the kids up early in the morning, prepared our breakfast, got us all dressed cozy and warm for the woods, and out we went to pick fresh figs. The life span of figs is very short, thus we went often to pick figs until they lasted. Hundreds of fig trees filled the vast land cultivated with olive trees, walnut trees, and other fruit trees. We got closer to the figs and embraced the tree first. It was fun and lovely, I felt the earth vibrating, my young friends told me they felt the same vibrations, so, I was not imagining.
The adults picked the figs up high in the tree, us kids harvested those close to us. In the morning, figs were very cold and had drops of dew on it. We grabbed the baskets, covered the bottom with the large fig leaves, and gently aligned the delicate figs.

(Click on each photo to view it larger)

lasseter-winery-unsplash

Lasseter-winery-Unsplash

After we filled our baskets, we sat down on the grass, leaned on the fig tree, and started to peel the figs, cut cheese, added prosciutto slices, cracked almonds, and ate them until our heart was content. We lost our bearings for a few hours, we were in heaven. It was life’s greatest pleasure! We listened to the adults talking adults matters, it was fascinating, and kept eating in silence.

aliona-gumeniuk-unsplash

Aliona-Gumeniuk-Unsplash

 

We spent a few hours eating and drinking warm stuff until the sun started to get too warm for the figs.
We had to remember to take home at least a basket full per person, otherwise, our moms would have not let us in the house.

The tastiest fruit of Summer is also one of the agriculture erotism, I think! After the figs I ate in Puglia, I have never found a similar experience anywhere else.

I woke up, it was a dream, I was there, in Puglia, under our usual large fig tree with my father. Ciao.

Valentina
Amazon Author’s Page

 

Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Valentina Cirasola is a designer, author, TV producer, and a storyteller by nature. Stories told through shapes, lines, forms, and colors are very important to her design career to convey ideas that contribute to the making of a personalized home, reflecting the life’s experiences of people living there. As an author, she writes non-fictional books, about practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, travel, and cooking. Find her books on Amazon and Barnes&Noble

 

A Day Painted In Dull Colors | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

I woke as usual at 6:00 am, actually, a strange yellowish-greyish light in my bedroom woke me up, I thought the lights were left on somewhere in the house during the night, or some UFO had landed. The yellowish light came from outside, the garden was infused with darkness I have never known before, like a noir film. It wasn’t the usual spunky daylight of a day just starting at 6:00 am, and neither was the light of a falling day. It was just dark, grey, and flat, like a winter day, but it felt oppressive as if something was about to happen. As the day progressed, the sky became more yellow and surreal. My flowers have lost their colors, my lemons don’t look yellow, the birds are sensing something is going on and are not singing. I thought this is the way it would be if the sun leaves this earth. No, wait, it would be totally dark. My 5+ mile walk in the park by a lake was full of questions of the day, what if this, and what if that? I was in a total silent nature almost the whole time I was walking. A hand full of people were walking, biking, or exercising, they all had their heads down carrying who knows what kind of weight. It was a strange feeling.

This playboat is usually full of small children, it was deserted today.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

Boat at Shoreline

Playboat at Shoreline

The ducks usually make noises, fly around, and play in the water. Today, they were still on the quay and bunched up together in silence.

Ducks

Ducks

This is no filter effect, the pathway today looked just like this.

Pathway

Pathway

Some people are saying things like “it feels like Mars”, or “something will happen”. No human has gone to Mars yet, how would they know what it feels like? We still have vegetation and we will still eat real food today. The waters of lakes and seas are still there. The succession of day and night will still happen today. Nothing is going to happen, no Armageddon is in the plans of some divinity. Maybe someone will flip the wig today, but someone flips every day regardless of the strange light, the smokey air, and the effect of the cosmos on our psyche.
This is the result of all the wildfires here in California, even though I strongly believe most of these fires are arson, that’s another story.
Perhaps it is a good time for me to make yellow muffins from my lemons and brighten my day. Ciao,
Valentina
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Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Valentina


Valentina Cirasola is a trained Italian Interior Designer in business since 1990. Being Italian born and raised, classicism, stylish and timeless designs have influenced Valentina’s design work. She will create your everyday living with a certain luxury without taking away your comfort. She loves to restore old homes, historic dwellings, she focuses on remodeling including nature as a harmonious expression of her designs. Check out her books, one of which is on the subject of colors: ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, Second Edition.
Amazon and Barnes&Nobles 

 

 

 

 

One Day On A Titanic | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

A few of the astrologers I follow say this year is a time for morphing into something new. Dictionary.com defines morphing as “undergo or cause to undergo a gradual process of transformation”. I am sorry, this sounds too contrived and forced on all of us. Perhaps it is happening, but for right now I like to think of a transformation that needs a little adjusting.

Part of my transformation has been to eliminate all things no longer serve a purpose. Every day, I take an area of my studio and my house and edit it heavily. Today I was into photos, the types we used to print on paper, that filled up either boxes or albums. I have mine in albums very neatly categorized and dated. Many will be copied and put on my computer, and many will be burned this winter in my fireplace.

I found a peculiar ticket, a Boarding Pass to board the famous Titanic. This was a nice story I lived in first person.
One day the exhibition of the Titanic came to San Francisco, I decided to go with a friend.

 

Titanic Boarding Pass

Titanic Boarding Pass

 

As soon as we boarded the ship, we were given a pass each with the name of a real passenger on the back and a short story of why that person was on the ship.
The back of my boarding pass said it was for Mrs. Elisabeth Hocking (Eliza Neads) age 54 from Cornwall, England. She sailed from Southampton on April 10, 1912, to reach her son George who emigrated to Akron, Ohio, where he found a nice job and wanted his family to emigrate there as well. After the death of her husband, Eliza decided to make a change in her life, and at the time she was traveling with a few members of her family. She was in the second class of the Titanic.

Titanic Boarding Pass Back Side

Titanic Boarding Pass Back Side

 

Everything was recreated as if we were boarding the famous ship.
We saw the real luggage people took on board, the real dresses of survivors, the dining room was recreated to perfection, the grand stair, the rooms in various classes, the sounds, voices, and music on board of the Titanic were spread all over the exhibition and felt real.

The atmosphere was pleasant, especially hearing over speakers, people eating at dining tables and some of their conversations acted out by actors. It was pleasant to hear the rustle of beautiful women’s dresses walking or dancing at the tune of Waltzer.

We read many stories published at that time about the “unsinkable ship”. Apparently, the builders saved money by using less expansive steel.

The narrator told stories of some of the passengers, what they did in real life, and how they spent their last hours, some of them bickered the whole time, some fell in love.

I admired the décor of the salons, the woods, the stained glasses, the chandeliers, the silver tableware, and the entire style of the turning of the century. Well decorated and high style surrounded people in that era.
We even had a taste of a few foods prepared for the voyage, but something in the air was not quite right, we went to visit a tragedy… It was hard to enjoy it without thinking of the fate that awaited those passengers.

I had the boarding pass of Eliza, she survived and made it to Ohio.
The person named on my friend’s boarding pass did not make it.

Exiting the exhibition I had an odd thought. I came to America as an immigrant too, and even in a fantasy exhibition like this one, I was given a ticket for a survival female. To these days I am thinking of that. Ciao, Valentina
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Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

Valentina in RED

Valentina Cirasola is an interior-fashion designer, author of 5 published books, a storyteller, and a blogger of many years. She has conceived a few new books of various subjects to which she is working simultaneously. Her books are non-fictional practical ideas to apply in the home, fashion, cooking, and travel. She never gives up trying new things and doesn’t fear failure. Some years ago, Valentina became a TV producer/host producing shows under her label: Valentina Design Universe. The goal of her shows is to entertain, inspire, and inform, while she is living her passion. Her books are on Amazon and Barnes&Noble

Dinner In The Renaissance Style | Valentina Cirasola | Designer and Author

Finally, I have reunited with some friends again! Months of lockdown will be a memory soon. Some of my friends missed my theme dinner parties and I did too. I called some of them to ask if they were up to a Florentine Renaissance dinner and they were almost at my doorsteps the moment I hung up the telephone. If it was winter, I would have asked to come dressed in a period costumes. Theme dinners are things for tourists, some would argue. Well, I am a tourist in my life. I was a native only once in the city I was born, all of the other places I have lived, I have been a tourist, trying to absorb the culture and learning as much as possible of what is offered to me. People who are invited to my theme dinners, get a plot in advance or a subject I want to base the evening conversation, and plenty of time to research or to get prepared, just in case they are not familiar with the topic.

For the Florentine Renaissance evening, I prepared on the subject of table manners of that time period. I wanted a light and fun subject that everyone could follow and maybe add their own interpretation. The theme dinners turn into an evening of culture.

Today we set dinner tables more or less all the same way, a charger plate at the very bottom of the stacked plates that will be used during dinner, then a series of glasses situated according to the progression of wines/water served, tableware on both sides of the plate, the napkin can be a floating item, meaning it can be placed at the left side of the plate, on the plate, or in a glass, depending on how creative the host is. The center of the table usually is decorated with a centerpiece and the addition of bread/crackers, wines, and water. Some people display these items on a side cart and not on the table. Some people go to the extreme of setting a table with paper plates and plastic glasses, just to have a simpler cleaning up time afterward.

(Click on each photo to view it larger).

 

Renaissance_Table

                                                       Renaissance Table

In the Renaissance, a dinner table looked much different than what we are used today. In the most affluent homes, the table was covered with a fabric that diners used as napkins to clean food oils from their hands. The plates called the “trenches” were pieces of levigate wood on to which food was served. The men took out the knives concealed in their britches, cut pieces of meat, and nibble at it from the tip of the knives. They also cut pieces of meat for the woman sitting next to him as a good table manner. The hands were the best tools, diners used them to eat and touch food until Catherine de Medici invented the fork. Pewter goblets were largely used for drinking vessels, for both water and wines.

The food of the entire dinner was propped on the table at one time, for people to choose what they wanted without following a progression of food as we would do today. Dogs and animals circulating around the dinner table received bones and leftovers from the diners. As far as the body needs after drinking and eating, it was acceptable to use the corners of any room away from the dining area. Wow, at least they had a bit of decency!

The stories of my Renaissance evening went on pleasantly, corroborated by the original de Medici House’s music played in their courts. I have an infinite music collection to satisfy the ears of any music lover.

To stay in tune with the background music, I set out appetizer dishes printed with musical notes. I did not want matchy glasses, but I wanted large wine glass goblets. In the center of the table, I put a set of three antique spice containers for the aromatic salts I make and I encouraged the guests to use it. They tried all the salts and were very impressed. On my table, there is always a bread basket, sometimes filled with different types of bread. The textured cover was a rough Shantung fabric I often use as a tablecloth.

The food in the gallery sums up the dinner, some were in the preparation mode, some were already made.

 

At the end of the dinner, guests left with a small gift of my aromatic salts.

Aromatic Salts

Aromatic Salts

I hope we can all pick up the social life we had before the lockdown and I hope to inspire others in designing a beautiful life, made of moments to remember and talk about. It is so very important, now more than ever, to add whimsy in our life, laughs, good food, wear colorful clothes, and read books made from the heart. We are here now, life exists, let’s make something extraordinary. Ciao.
Valentina
Amazon’s Author Page 

 

Copyright © 2020 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

 

RenaissanceCostume

It’s my hope that through my writing and my stories I am enriching your aesthetic sensibility towards design, style, and inspiring you to live in beauty. I love to encourage my clients to show their personality through their home décor, or the clothes they wear. I have loved my profession as an interior-fashion designer since 1990. I am here ready to offer consultations on-line if you need it. Check out one of my books on the subject of colors, ©RED-A Voyage Into Colors, Second Edition.
Amazon  and Barnes&Noble 

 

 

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