American Heritage

Since today is the Fourth of July, I have spent some time thinking about what being an American means to me, and especially what I would like to give to my children from that part of my heritage. Being a little distant gives me a different perspective, and allows me to separate out the good from the bad a little better. It also allows me to focus more on the ideals and less on the sometimes disappointing present reality.

Today I told Axa about how the United States wrote a special letter to the King of England to tell him they were their own country, and then about the Revolutionary War. We’ve been talking a lot lately about WWII, because there’s a castle up on the hill above our town that was bombed by the Germans during the war to intimidate the residents. Axa was very interested to learn about the bad man who took over Germany and told the Germans that everyone else was bad, and wanted to be in charge of everybody. We also just began reading The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, so she understands that the children were sent into the country because Hitler was bombing London too. And we were just in London two weeks ago, so she knows where the King of England and the Pevensies lived. I can see how it is easy to explain history to her as a story (she loves stories above all else).

And I love that living in Europe, it will be so much easier to visit the places where the significant events in Western History occurred. Even the Middle East is much more accessible. The one thing that is difficult living in Italy is finding books in English. We borrowed C.S. Lewis from Carla. I think we may just invest in one of those Classical Education curriculae that come complete with all the books.

Today I made burritos for lunch and peach crisp for dessert, which was suitably American for us. The missionaries were over, and we invited Carla up too. So we probably had all the Americans for miles around at our little Fourth of July celebration.

After lunch, Carla brought up the chocolate chips for the cookies I’m to make tomorrow at the Isola di Mondo event (I had convinced her to do chocolate chip cookies instead of pancakes, since I thought they’d be better than old pancakes. She asked me how many cookies I thought they would make. I kept a straight face. She had bought eight packages. But each package contained exactly 30 grams of tiny chocolate chips (actually, some were tiny chocolate pieces, not chips, giving me the impression that she had completely bought out the store). All together, it was enough to make a little less than half a batch, using the authentic Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe. I think Tony may be correct that Italians are thin because of their portion sizes.

I sent him out to get me a chocolate bar to supplement the chips. We’re taking our broiler pans to cook them in, since cookie sheets are a non-item here. Hopefully that works out alright. They’re a little dark. But the only other possible pan I have is an oval baking dish, and I could fit about three chocolate chip cookies in that (an Italian-sized batch). I’ll report on the event tomorrow. I’m sure it will be a smashing success.