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Patrizia Chen

Entries by Patrizia Chen

Life, Death and the Survival of the Fittest

(1) Comments | Posted October 1, 2012 | 10:56 AM

In my early 20s I lived in Tokyo for a few years, off and on. It was a great experience with the added plus of getting to meet a cousin from Sweden. Beautiful and generous Carlotta -- true to her country's hospitable traditions -- decided that she couldn't possibly allow...

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(7) Comments | Posted June 13, 2012 | 3:40 PM

I was about 5 or 6 when I accompanied my mother to bid buon viaggio to the beautiful Amerigo Vespucci, the tall ship of the Italian fleet. My mother shed a few tears as she hugged her handsome husband -- then a young Navy lieutenant -- about to sail to...

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Fashion Gaps and Faux Pas

(3) Comments | Posted March 26, 2012 | 11:50 AM

After more than 23 years in New York, I'm still amazed by the cultural gaps that separate this city from my conservative country, Italy.

Take, for example, a freezing January day, the sky a perfect blue after a heavy snow fall. Not a cloud in sight, the temperature down...

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In His Shoes

(0) Comments | Posted October 11, 2011 | 7:38 PM

In the process of learning how to dance I discovered that I was dyslexic. I had never suspected having a learning problem, but suddenly the signs were there, unambiguously clear.

Consistently good at school, I had excelled in Italian, French, Latin and Greek, though I struggled with numbers and...

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Learning to Dance

(0) Comments | Posted June 7, 2011 | 5:35 PM

When I turned 50, I decided that I was going to give myself the gift of dancing. Of course, having grown up in Italy and seen every last cowboy movie, I too wanted to wear hats and boots and whooshing skirts, to gyrate to my heart's content, smiling at my...

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Life With Poultry

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2011 | 10:09 AM

When I married, life as I knew it changed radically. No more modeling, no clubs, basta to late nights out or sudden trips to exotic islands just to model a few flimsy high-fashion clothes. Instead, I moved to the countryside a few miles away from Rome, delighted to have...

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(0) Comments | Posted March 30, 2011 | 4:40 PM

"Come with me to Patmos," he urged me. "I've bought a house on the island and you'll be the first to see it. Spend August with me."

I snuggled close to him and closed my eyes. I knew he was dangerous but I wanted to be with him....

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Pots and Pans

(7) Comments | Posted March 2, 2011 | 4:36 PM

I have a confession: I'm obsessed, and it would comfort me to know that I'm not alone. I'm ridiculously fanatical about my kitchen stuff: pots and pans, skillets and Mokas, kettles and ladles, all that is metal and can be made to shine. I need my cooking implements to glitter...

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An Expensive Kitchen Story

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2010 | 4:28 PM

One of my greatest passions is cooking. I love to plan dinners, even simple ones. It's like creating a poem or a symphony that will bring joy to me, the composer, and to those who'll sit around my table, my audience. They are the most important part of any culinary...

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Wishing to Be a Boy

(4) Comments | Posted November 19, 2010 | 11:06 AM

I grew up resenting the fact that, as a girl from a good family, I had so many obligations that didn't seem to matter when it came to my brother Paolo. To begin with, Paolo could wear trousers. Granted, they were horrendously short until he was a teenager and the...

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Eating 'City Lamb' in China

(0) Comments | Posted October 4, 2010 | 1:57 PM

In 1991 I traveled to China with my husband's family. My father-in-law had been assiduously courted by the Chinese Government and repeatedly invited to visit and meet with the Communist leaders, but for the rest of us, it was a first trip.

Our itinerary was dotted with exciting destinations:...

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A Girl's Dream of Being Kissed

(0) Comments | Posted September 13, 2010 | 4:59 PM

When I was 15 I was prone to fall in love, a little too promptly, with any young man who was introduced to me. There was an Ascanio, and then a Fabio, followed by Stefano and Pietro, there were Carlo and Giovanni, and also Jacopo. These young people all shared...

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The Cherry Tart

(0) Comments | Posted August 24, 2010 | 12:26 PM

When I was a teenager, my beloved grandmother, Nonna Valentina told me: "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach." I smiled, but those words made little sense to me. I was already quite good in the kitchen, having begun at the age of seven as Emilia's apprentice....

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Sax and the City

(0) Comments | Posted August 3, 2010 | 12:14 PM

In the seventies it took forever to get to Asia. A plane leaving from Italy had to stop first in Beirut or Athens and then New Delhi and Bangkok before landing in Haneda. The arrival was exciting. Italian pilots, particularly sensitive to feminine charms, would invariably invite me to sit...

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Oh, Carol! Childhood Wounds and Vindication

(0) Comments | Posted July 14, 2010 | 6:21 PM

As a 15-year-old I was a disaster, una frana as we say in Italian. Tall and thin, not even the barest hint of curves, long spidery legs and nondescript brown hair (described in my father's charitable words as ugly as spinach). I never stood a chance to be part of...

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A Song For Each Summer

(0) Comments | Posted June 28, 2010 | 1:02 PM

When I was sixteen I used to dance la quadrille. Doesn't that make me sound ancient? Who in the world does that anymore? Nowadays, when I talk about it, I see absolute incomprehension slowly blanket the faces of those surrounding me and I feel as if I were at least...

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My First Tango

(2) Comments | Posted June 10, 2010 | 11:53 AM

I had forgotten all about it until last November, when my novel was published and people started asking me questions. "Yes, I've been dancing for six years, and yes, tango must have been in my DNA..." were my standard answers. Then, suddenly, bent over the lectern from which I was...

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Jane Austen and Tango

(4) Comments | Posted May 24, 2010 | 11:51 AM

Jane Austen and Tango

My husband Kimball and I are crazy about Jane Austen.

Together, we've probably seen every single movie of her books and have followed each and every one of the many television series. The mighty BBC has given us immense joy, time and again,...

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La Bamba

(0) Comments | Posted May 4, 2010 | 1:34 PM

I always thought it was the summer of 1956, but now I'm not so sure about it... Wikipedia, as a matter of facts, suggests 1958.

I only recall that I was a kid and that La Bamba was the big rage, even in my somnolent city. One could hear...

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Dancing, Culture and the Close Embrace

(2) Comments | Posted April 15, 2010 | 2:58 PM

Two weeks ago I landed at Fiumicino, in Italy. Tired and cranky after a transatlantic flight, I proceeded to the baggage claim area, expecting a long wait for my suitcase. Rome's international airport -- a major destination -- is unfortunately infamous for its chaos. Last year even the mayor of...

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