Fritta, who bought us a house

No matter how many times I uttered it, Epiphany always gave the same sad answer with its Italian accent. “No, you can not buy it. The house is not in the market!

The moment we entered the Connecticut farm, I realized this was the place for us. At first, we were looking for a place to rent, as my husband, Bobby, had been offered the position of director of a nearby museum. Our plan was to recognize the area and eventually buy a place. It would mean a long journey back to the Hudson Valley, but it was a wonderful new opportunity for him. Whether we were there just to think about renting the place, for the first few minutes in Grandma’s kitchen with her little apple wallpaper and the old wood stove, I had a weird feeling that this is where we belong.

A few weeks later, while signing the lease at the dining room table, when all the real estate agents had left, Epi, as he was called, offered us a piece of pear cake made from the fruit of a pergola tree. on the back deck. Recognizing the taste, I asked him if it was Marcella Hazan’s famous recipe, to which he replied: “No.” Then, quickly, “YES! Yes, that’s right: I have to tell him. Having spent weekends and summers here for over 30 years, Eppie has been renting a house for several years, living in New York, where she met and met him. I had made Hazan cake myself many times. It seemed like a sign that we were in the right place.

In short, it was very obvious that Bob’s new job was a great fit, so we marketed our Hudson Valley home. Feeling that this was the case, every time I talked to Epi, I mentioned how much we loved the house and asked if he would consider selling it, but his answer never changed.

“No, it is not on the market. Not for sale”.

Even when he repeated it, deep down I knew something he did not yet understand. we were in this house. The last year of living there only deepened my feeling that this is our home.

Enjoying the sweet air of the property with our first home, we wanted to stop renting and return to have something. When we got an offer for our Hudson Valley house, we started looking seriously for a place in Connecticut. We saw a lot of houses, some good, but none compared to the Epi farm. If you stand by the sink in the farm, look out the window, you can see that pear in the pergola, a deep yard with various trees and shrubs, the base of an old stone barn, in the meadow, and finally, in the distant hills. No view from the other houses could provide even half of this happy diversion.

Goshen farm pear.

Photo by Gary Shiro

As the hunt for our house continued, I informed Epi of our constant search, hoping that it might somehow persuade him to change his mind, but it never came to pass.

The closing date was set for our old house և we had to renew our lease. Epi said she could meet with us to discuss the details over the weekend in November when she visited her daughter, who lives nearby. We settled in on Sunday afternoon, and in hopes of softening his resolve, I offered to prepare a simple meal.

When I have dinner, I always try to figure out what can be prepared early, for a “light” meal, I decided that the frying pan would be perfect. Growing up, frittata was one of the dishes on which my mother relied on a budget to feed our family of six. When I had my own kitchen, it was one of those dishes I could count on to feed the crowd cheaply. Its frequent appearance on the table now has more to do with how much I like it.

It is my favorite combination the one I chose to make for EpiA mixture of bitter greens, fried potatoes and spicy cheese. This time, however, the stakes seemed too high. This woman knows Marcella Hazan. He would know for sure if my meal was not delicious.

I have never been more careful with the end of the frittata. I squeezed every drop of moisture from that spinach. I shrunk those potatoes so they wouldn’t brown. I cut the fontina into cubes to make it the perfect size for a salty surprise. I cooked it all over the lowest heat, turning it halfway so that it cooked evenly. I carefully slid it on the freezer so that no moisture would get on the floor. I pulled out my best frittata-sized plate and set the table.

Epic came in time for our afternoon confrontation. Unfortunately, Bob had to work that morning վեց was delayed, so we had to have some small talk around the kitchen table. If we did not look at the house, it was clear that we love each other. I offered to go and eat, but he insisted that he did not want anything. It seemed that his only wish was to finish the negotiations and go his own way. But we sat for so long, waiting for Bob to smell the frittata coming from the plate on the table, that when he arrived, he finally agreed to eat a piece. It was the perfect temperature then. While you can enjoy frittata hot, hot or cold, I think it’s really best when it’s just barely hot. All tastes come և are the most harmonious.

I watched her make her first bite. He seemed surprised, then satisfied. Then he finished the part I gave him. And he let me give him a little more.

After we agreed on the terms of the lease, I made the last offer to buy the house. Once again he was not moving. I was sad that the hunt for our house must continue.

However, the next day I received a letter from him summarizing our discussion. To my surprise, he wrote that we might reconsider discussing a possible sale in March. It was the first time he seemed open to the idea.

Photo by Gary Shiro

To sweeten the deal, my starting point was to keep her stuff in a nearby barn for a year so I could give her more time to plan. In the end, after a lot of hard work, we came to an agreement. We could hardly believe it when we signed the contract that made the farm ours. Bob always joked that it was my frying pan that made the deal, but I always laughed until he came to get his furniture back.

Epi returned a year later in a rented truck with his hands outstretched to help him. I mostly left them alone as they emptied the barn. I could not wait to turn it into a summer kitchen.

At the end of the day, as the truck was coming out, he knocked on the kitchen door to say goodbye. I accompanied him to his car, where we were alone for a few moments.

He looked at the new picket fence we had placed along the road, among the big maples. “Are they roses?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said. “We hope they will eventually climb the fence.”

He nodded in approval.

There is a door to the basement next to the road և two narrow, eight-pane windows, originally built in 1785. They were painted very dark gray. As these are the first details you see when you get home, we painted them pale blue-green, which contrasts perfectly with the stone chains that surround them.

“I like this color here,” he said.

Then he turned to me. “You know I did not intend to sell you this house. “But I knew you loved it. ‘You made me that frying pan,'” he said, waving his finger at me.

He made one last turn, taking everything in himself, just before leaving his car, he looked into my eyes and said: “I found the right people for this house.”

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