by Melinda Gallo

A flurry of snow and hot bagels

This morning, luckily, I went to the Co-Op grocery store to buy some food. It was freezing cold, probably about 30F, but the sun was out. The little slivers of sun that I felt on my face didn't warm me up at all. After I walked the mile home with two bags of groceries, I thought my hands were going to fall off. I even tried to warm them up by running hot water on them, but that just made them hurt even more.

Living in Florence :: A flurry of snow and hot bagels

I went back out about 3PM to get a massage (it's a slow work week for me) and it was still cold. I only had to go across the piazza di Santa Croce. When I was leaving the building at about 4:30PM, it was snowing lightly. I looked up at the church as small snow flakes floated in the air.

By the time I was in the middle of the piazza di Santa Croce, there was a huge flurry of snow. Some people were jumping around in the snow and taking pictures, a group of Spanish tourists were singing a soccer hymn (Ole, ole, ole, ole...) under the Dante statue, and a few others were trying to keep their umbrellas open so as not to get too wet.

I took a few photos and only one turned out (the one shown here). I tried to capture just how windy it was and just how much snow was in the air.

By the time I got home, the snow had died down a bit. There was a little on the rooftops around us, but within an hour, it probably melted. I couldn't tell for sure, but the sun set and it was dark outside.

I love to cook. So much so that we hardly ever eat out these days. Now because I'm still on my cooking/baking binge (I made banana bread on Sunday and fudge last night), I have decided to make bagels. The one thing that has happened to me is that if I can't buy something, I try to make it. I love home-cooked cakes, pastries, cookies, and breads. I guess I got this from my mom who absolutely loved to make them all (except the bread). We used to have holiday celebration dinners where she'd make six different types of dessert. And, we never had a store-bought package of cookies in the house (unless my sister bought them).

I tried to make bagels last week; I bought fresh lievito (yeast), which is readily available, and got an Italian recipe. I think that was my mistake because it just didn't seem right. I might not have kneaded the dough enough, but the bagels just tasted like rolls with holes in the middle. They weren't a complete waste. I did make egg salad and we used the bagels for the bread.

I got a package of yeast this time and followed an American recipe that I found on the Internet. I looked at a few of the recipes and this recipe looked fairly straightforward and seemed correct in its ingredients.

I followed the instructions to make the dough, kneaded it with beaters that I bought last year, which came with kneading utensils. After six minutes, one minute too early, the beaters stopped working. I only bought them for about 12 Euros, but they had been working well for me although sometimes I did smell burning.

I let the dough sit, made little balls, put holes in the dough balls, put them in the boiling water (a minute or so on each side), and then put them all in the oven. My recipe only made six of them and it wasn't until I got them out of the oven, let them cool a little, and pulled out the Philadelphia cream cheese (yes, they do sell that here!), did I know for sure that they were very tasty! I was already full from dinner, but the bagel was my dessert. Dave tasted part of mine and seemed to like it too.

So, next week I'll be making cinnamon raisin bagels for us as soon as I find some decent looking raisins. I'm not a big raisin eater, but I know I don't like the yellow ones or the ones that look hard, which I keep finding here. So, hopefully when I go to the market tomorrow, I'll find some "fresh" raisins for the bagels.

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