November 1st kicks off National Novel Writing Month: NaNoWriMo. And instead of furiously writing words on my new novel, I am here writing this. 🙂
Here is the thing. While I was preparing during October for the new story (I’m trying a new genre even), I was looking at old pictures I have of my story setting.
I LOVE Rome. I went there for a study abroad trip in college. So, keep in mind, the pictures I have were from more than seventeen years ago, taken on a lousy 35 mm camera.
In general, I feel that setting can be extremely important. It will influence the plot as it may determine what your characters will encounter or what they are allowed to do. It will influence the characters as it may influence their world view, their customs, their priorities, their baggage, or their habits. The setting itself may act as a character, giving life and color to the story and interacting with your other characters in a very personal way.
It was fun to look through my photos and imagine situations that my main characters would stumble upon.
La Bocca Della Verita: The Mouth of Truth. (and me, many moons ago)
The Colosseum and the costumed “Roman Gladiators and Soldiers” for tourists’ group photo opportunities.
The Pantheon, one of my favorite buildings in the world.
The Spanish Steps, taken from down one of the shop-filled streets below it. (I bought a whole set of dishes in this area. Talk about a heavy carry on for the airplane!)
While I was looking through the pictures, I got a craving for Chocolate Salami (NO meat involved in this one). This is a recipe I learned when I lived in Italy for a year and a half in the 90’s. (I served a volunteer mission for my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).
Check out this beauty (and that is actually the platter that I bought in Rome near the Spanish steps) :
I was taught how to make this by a wonderful woman in the town of Vercelli. The recipe was a lot of ‘handful of this’ and ‘a few spoonfuls of that’. So as I made it this time I tried to measure with measuring cups to get a better idea of a recipe. Also, online there are versions with rum, or dried fruit. Since I don’t drink and the version I had was the just the essential ingredients, that is what I have done. You may feel free to adapt it how you like. Here it is!
Chocolate Salami (Salame di Cioccolato)
3 cups crushed vanilla wafers (or other dry type cookie)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup white suger
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup slivered almonds
splash of milk (will vary depending upon the dryness)
Add crushed cookies to a bowl. Pour the butter over the cookies and add the sugar and cocoa powder. Stir it all together (I was taught to mix it with my hands, but a spoon works as well). If it isn’t sticking together and seems too crumbly add a splash of milk. Add the almonds and mix well.
Dump the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form it in the shape of a salami. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap and place in fridge until it sets up (a few hours). When it is all solid, you can dust with powdered sugar if you like for an ‘authentic’ look. Slice in small pieces (a little goes a long way) and enjoy!
What do you think of setting. Do you have a favorite setting and does it remind you of something you love?