As mentioned in Part Two: Inspiration, my co-worker and friend keeps a blog, Positively Anna. She turned us all onto a popular undertaking: a life list. Sort of. As many life/bucket lists are out there, this variety of list provides short term planning. 101 things in 1001 days. This is 2.74 years. For me, lists have always been helpful. I have my to do’s at work and at home. They keep me organized and moving forward, and there is an awesome satisfaction and accomplishment to crossing something off.
Earlier in life, goals were lofty and vague. I want to be married by this point, have this many kids by this age, have a stable career where I am making this much money, and be doing exactly what I want to be doing. Or, “I just want to be happy.”
Maybe the variables weren’t considered—because we didn’t know all the variables. How many jobs we go through (mostly because we don’t find the right job, but a lot of wrong jobs), how much time we would spend with significant others before getting married (or the fact that it’s completely acceptable to just never get married), relationships that don’t work out (an important part of learning how to be in one), unforeseen commitments and responsibilities, travel, higher education…the list goes on. But the point remains: a lot of us feel disappointed in certain experiences even when we do reach them, or devalue ourselves for having not done more. Especially when the film most likely to win the Oscar for best picture this year is about 20 year old billionaires.
A point is reached in your twenties where you know you need to do more checklist items before major responsibilities creep in and become obstacles, but you are encumbered by the pressure of knowing the decisions we make at this phase of life will absolutely impact the rest of our lives. Not picking the right answer has never felt more…heavy.
So how to lighten the load? You are much more likely to accomplish tasks when you set benchmarks and goals. For example, if my goal was to get more sleep, I’m much more likely to actualize it if I say, “I’m going to get 7 hours of sleep per night on weeknights, and I can start this by making sure I am in bed reading every night by 10:30 for one week.” There is a starting point and a plan of action.
This 101 list helped me break down these goals for the upcoming future. Some items on my list are experiences I want to have, and some are just small things that I’d like to do. The small things add up, and are meaningful, or might even simply shape the kind of person I want to be. Rather than feeling so scattered, I’ll be able to look back on this list and see all of the things I accomplished, no matter how big or small. There is nothing on the list out of my hands. Each goal is reachable and something I can set myself up to do without help from anyone else. It’s a kind of independence and capability that makes me feel like a grown up. And to feel good about what I have done, not what I haven’t.
On my list is to create my own signature dessert. I was inspired by an evening at Da Silvano in New York. I was instructed by our sweet waiter, David, (a member of the Da Silvano clan) to order Rihanna’s favorite dish, and I figured if this is where Rihanna turned for comfort food, it’s good enough for me. After eating the best pasta I think I’ve ever tried, the Taglierini Contadina, we had to take the dessert recommendations as well. We already ordered two dishes, when our waiter said that if we liked chocolate, we had to order his mother’s signature dessert. Any Southerner knows that when someone tells you their mother has the perfect recipe, they are probably right. Three desserts it was.
The chocolate souffle, created by David’s beautiful Italian mother, Violetta, was so good, I had to find out the story behind it. She was kind enough to correspond with me and provide great advice for weeks. Inspiration for her desserts come from her family history, in support of her daughter’s charity, new creations for she and David’s gluten alergies (so common these days, and so smart to have found a tasty alternative!), and of course, for Da Silvano. The common thread is they all come from a place of love, and tell a nostalgic story that threads a family together. I thought to myself, “I want that.” And so it was added to the list.
Below is Violetta’s complete story. You get a complete sense of her passion and sparky personality!
I received an email from my son David telling me how much you enjoyed the “chocolate soufflé.” Thank you for your compliment! David told me to write a little of my baking. He said you are curious about my background.
I hope you are not going to be sorry you asked. I love to write. I now am writing on an iPad, and it is behaving very strange and is capitalizing everything. Oh well, here goes, I am going to include photos too, of which I am very proud of myself!
By profession I am a Shoe designer. I designed for I.Miller (you probably never heard of them, but ask your mom, she wouldknow). After 15 years, I then designed for Delman Shoes that was part of Bergdorfs and met and designed shoes for Jackie Kennedy. And so on, and so on and so on!
My love is also to Create in The kitchen. My background in cooking came from my Neopolitan grandparents. My grandfàther Michael Camerino was one of the Most Famous Chefs in all of Italy. He was comissioned by The President Of Argentina to go and teach The argentinians To cook Italian food. My Mother was then born in Argentina. He was then asked to go to New York To open one Of The first Italian restaurants. (see photo of restaurant). My grandmother taught me all The secrets of cooking when I was young that my grandfàther taught her. Especially all the Neopolitan specialties. I was her sous chef starting at The age of 5.
We lived in a 2 family house….My Parents went to work and I stay with My grandparents until my parents came home.
I am married To pharmacist and have 4 grown children. David you met and I don’t know If you met My daughter Marisa Who is married To Silvano? Marisa is a cartoonist for The New Yorker and Glamour Magazine. she also writes Grafic novels, one being, “Cancer Vixen.” She now has 2 benefits a year for St. Vincent’s for free mamograms for uninsured young ladies. Of which I do all The cookies and Chocolate. And all the cookies are all decorated with CHOCOLATE. Love Chocolate!!!! See photo!
My Father came To New York To follow my mom. He Left his family and profession. His family were nobles. His Father was a Barone and grandfather a Count. One photo you will see “La Torta Caprese” which I made for the restaurant.
My son in law loved it. We then thought to make it into individual servings, and that is when I put the chocolate on top and Silvano called it choc soufflé. And Yes! The original recipe is originated from my family. It was brought back because my son David and I cannot have gluten, so I had to go back to my grandparents treasured recioes and find ways to have great food without flour. I make great cookies, called pizzelle with rice flour. Had to stop making them because I couldn’t stop eating them.
I am very fortunate that I can go to the restaurant and teach the chefs how to create wonderful desserts. I absolutely Love it.
And I am honored that you asked about me and what I do. Hope to meet you soon, Violetta