For so many years, my summer days were busy from dawn until dusk with our B&B in Italy. Our breakfasts were legendary; every day would bring new local specialties to the table for our guests from Israel, Tunesia, America, Canada and 17 other countries. Fresh baked bread, home made jams, fruits and vegetables from either our garden or our neighbors'. Local cheeses. Every day - for months at a time. It was wonderful; it was exhausting.
My life orbited around food and cleaning. The heat was sometimes overwhelming to the point that breakfast service and room cleaning would be followed by two hours of sleep in a darkly shaded room. In between, I'd attempt to write, or make pots, or do whatever I could to balance out my days.
It was, in many ways, a straight forward, simple existence. We worked hard - harder than we ever worked in our lives. But it was satisfying in the way that manual labor is often satisfying; we didn't have any politics, any negotiation. We could see satisfaction on our guests' faces and that was enough to keep us moving forward.
At around 7, I would pad over to our kitchen and start the oven to bake the focaccia dough that had finished proving the day before and was waiting in the fridge. I'd chop either savory or sweet toppings - herbs and onions or fruits and nuts. By 8 am the fragrant scents were rising through the open windows.
Soon the sounds of the showers going could be heard, and either Mimi, Luana or I would get busy setting tables and filling the oven top coffee makers with Lavazza coffee. In the meantime, Micha would have walked Max and come back, ready to serve to the guests.
There was a lot of good in those B&B years. We stretched our limits. I was (and still am) not a breakfast person - perhaps that made it easier for me to be creative at breakfast and not really think so much about eating myself. Whatever it was, it worked, and I treasure the memories we created on our hill in Italy.