There are several things I've never been able to do: skip, sing in tune, get to grips with mathematics, play any sport or do anything arty. So I am quite pleased with my effort at a Christmas table centre here, using a cedro, some cinnamon sticks slotted through Christmas napkin rings, walnuts, clementines and an orange studded with cloves. Tomorrow I'll get around to drying out some oranges in a slow oven, which is what you are supposed to do before you stick the cloves in them.
I used to dry oranges in the microwave in Britain and the above was a preamble to telling you that I don't have one here. I haven't got around to getting one, and, having survived 18 months without such a contraption, I am wondering if I really need one. What did I use it for in Britain? I'm not a ready-meal sort of person [which is just as well because there are none here] so I used it for melting chocolate, cooking rice for one person and for a few recipes such as garlic mushrooms. Oh! - And for warming one of those herb-filled pads that soothe your aches and pains. Another consideration is the amount of electricity a microwave would use; I haven't an idea what that would be. Sorry to repeat myself if you've been following the blog, but if you haven't, you may not know that each dwelling has only 3 kilowatts of electricity all over Italy. [You can buy more kilowatts but then your tariff goes up.] So far [touch wood] this has not been a problem for me, though I have had to get used to the idea of thinking about how many electrical appliances I can have on at the same time; for example, I can't have the oven and the washing machine on together and I have to check before I put the electric kettle on as it apparently uses a lot of energy. So if I bought a microwave, that would be another appliance to worry about in this regard and also, as I would use it mainly for vegetable side dishes or certain antipasti, I'd probably want it on at the same time as the oven, wouldn't I? You don't see them in many houses here. What do readers think? How many of you find a microwave essential? Would you buy one if you came to live in a culture where they are used so little? [I think they are used more in the north, where you can get ready-meals, I read, but I'm sure they are not used to the extent that they are in Britain. A lot of women here use pressure cookers for vegetables and those things scare me to death!]