AT DINNER WITH….HIM
“ I beg (pray) you, please, remember that the lobster must be boiled alive! WOE to you if you throw it in the boiling water already dead! He, our eminent guest, is a very refined palate, eh…so he would immediately realize that the lobster has been boiled when it was already a corpse! Come on, you don’t make me look like shit with that very big one, who is our eminent guest….Ah, and the Brussels broccoli must be really of today, just popped out! You must also check one by one the cherries of Montegirigonzi and the strawberries from that little town in Lucchesia…what is it called? Ah, yes, here, Montecarlo …because you must discard all those which have even the slightest imperfection ‘’ His Ecellence the director , and someone called him the dictator, did not stop giving orders. He was all busy, and worried for…the very important appointment of that evening. It was early in the morning but in the large, well-equipped kitchen of the beautiful house of Danilo Rossi preparations were already in full swing for the dinner of that evening. Indeed, for the very big one who would be their guest for dinner.
In addition to the Filipino cook and the Moldavian housekeeper also the wife of …the dictator, Mrs. Louise had come down in the kitchen to prepare the great dinner for the very great, indeed very big guest. Even the two daughters of Danilo Rossi would soon arrive. One of them lived abroad for years, she very rarely come back to her parents, but , of course, she could not miss a great, indeed big dinner like that of that evening.
Oh, you would not believe ( imagine) who would have been ( who would be) the big guest at their dinner that evening. Oh, how many hours would they still have to wait before that very BIG ONE made his entrance into their house, since yes, He ( the BIG ONE) would have done them the very great (big) honor, ah, truly incomparable, to sit at the table to have dinner with them.
Even there, in the capital, until now no one had had such an honor.
He, Danilo Rossi was very much satisfied, indeed he was gloating with contentment ( indeed he was basking in the BROTH of his contentment). He was the editor of the most widespread newspaper of the country ( HERE__what was the name of the newspaper____), “ New Republic” of which he had also been the founder.
Before leaving to go to the newsroom ( the editorial office), since he was the editor , he could not miss the daily meeting ( with the journalists), Danilo Rossi called again the chiefs of three of the most renowned restaurants in the city ( in the capital), who(m) he had booked , at a very high price, to prepare that evening’s dinner, which had to be nothing less than exceptional, because He, the very big guest , who the great editor Rossi and his family were so much honored to have at ( for) dinner, HE was more than exceptional, he was indeed , so we can say, an oversize guest.
The director ( editor) of the “ New Republic” was so excited, that he had not dared to say even one word about the great event to anyone, there at his newspaper, which was yet ( right) his own newspaper, his best creature, as he said. Oh , it was such a beautiful event, it was too prestigious , too satisfying even for one like him, the dictator Danilo Rossi, who was one of the most satisfied ,and celebrated man in the country, that he was afraid, even if deep down, even he didn’t confess himself that he was afraid, that…the dream would vanish. Yes, precisely that something could happen that prevented HE from being a so much important guest for dinner at his house. Sure, he should have told someone about it if he had decided to invite someone of his important acquaintances or journalists from his newspaper to that memorable dinner…Ah, whoever he had invited without informing him of the really BIG guest ( the presence of that really Big guest), he would have made him take a shot( hit). Then , in the end, he ( Danilo Rossi) had resolved to not invite anyone , that they, above all he, the director ( editor) of such a prestigious newspaper, oh, but indeed of such a glorious newspaper, he…the dictator Danilo Rossi, a man of great, refined culture, as he was unanimously recognized, and then his wife, a real lady, cultured and witty woman, and his daughters too, who were really smart girls ____oh, they were ( would have been) certainly up to the task of a conversation with so much BIG ONE____but yes, they could be enough to entertain HIM, their very BIG guest.
Fact is , however, that, even though he ( Danilo Rossi) had not told anyone about the very BIG GUEST he was going to have for ( at) dinner, two of his very important ( yes, big!) and also, often useful, if not even necessary, acquaintances, Senator Olindo Betti and the former President of Republic, H.Kappa had come to know it, he ( Rossi) could not say how and by whom___even if he, of course, could imagine ( figure out) it___ that so much big guest was going to have dinner at his home. They were both long-time politicians, still very powerful, above all there in the capital, where it could be said that nothing happened that they could not make it take the turn they wanted.
Senator O.B. and the former President ( of Republic) had called him( Danilo Rossi) to compliment ( to congratulate ) him. Oh, but sure , it could only happen to him, the greatest editor of the most read newspaper in the country, but yes, they could understand, that such an honor could just have reserved only such a man, and such an editor ( and….such a dictator)like him. It was evident that both those politicians had phoned him, above all , to induce him to invite also them to dinner with the very eminent personality. But , ah, the very great ( big!) editor hadn’t felt like inviting them, so he had kept pretending not to understand what they were asking him____or, perhaps, ordering him? He had continued to hesitate, rather embarrassed because he knew well the importance that those two old politicians had for him and for his newspaper___ah, someone would say that those two….ever green politicians, were necessary, indeed indispensable for the great editor, above all for his intrigues.
Danilo Rossi knew he had to invite them to dinner with HIM, yet he couldn’t make up his mind to do it ( so) . In the end it was they who, both very easily, ( lightly), nonchalantly invited themselves. Well, at dinner with the big one they would participate ( would have participated ) too. He, Danilo Rossi could only hope , at least, they would not bring their wives, whom he found unbearable.
Already in the middle of the morning the large kitchen, which, in the elegant house of the great editor Danilo Rossi was located in the basement, looked like the forge of Vulcan, so much all those who were there were busy in preparing that dinner, which had to be extraordinary.
About nine A.M. he arrived, the Moroccan chef from “ The Sunflower”, a very excellent restaurant , who insisted to add couscous to the dinner courses.( to the menu of dinner). He assured he was able to prepare such a special couscous, indeed unique in the world, that also their very Eminent Guest would surely like it. On the other hand ( part) lady Louise, Danilo Rossi’s wife, the Moldovan housekeeper and the Filipino cook had risen firmly against couscous. No, it could not go well for…HIM, it was even disrespectful to serve it ( couscous) to His Eminent Eminence who, as they knew, had completely different tastes, and different eating habits. Come on, he, their Eminent guest, a very Big one, didn’t come from Africa, nor from southern Italy, he came from further Nord, couscous couldn’t match with him.
Shortly after the Moroccan chef , Adele, the youngest daughter of the Rossi , who was living in Amsterdam for years, had arrived. She did not arrive alone, she brought along a friend, Paula Rubens, who was a convinced vegan. So, Paula Rubens, who, but what a coincidence, was a painter, had started wandering in ( through) the kitchen, wrinkling her nose, snorting , and, alas, even spitting, so much was the horror, the repulsion she felt seeing what they ate, people who, like His Eminent Eminence, should have been champions of spirituality.”
Margherita, the chief of “ Red Bologna”, a restaurant recently opened in the capital, insisted on adding walking onion and green pepper from Madagascar to the tortellini pie, arousing protests from the Filipino cook and also from lady Louise, while the Moroccan chief suggested adding even black pepper and roasted coffee beans.
Paula Rubens, dressed like a tomboy, with knee-length trousers, supported by suspending, kept wandering in the large kitchen, muttering : “ But you look at these wretches…what they dare to eat…fish, animals, eggs, cheese…pff…Ah, they have no respect for life…pfù” And she didn’t just mumble, she also spat here and there. Lady Louise winked at her daughter Adele, as if silently begging her, to heaven’s sake, to take that one away as soon as possible. That she too would return to Amsterdam, with that there, but that she would take that crazy girl away from there!
Adele, on the other hand, had said that her friend Paula Rubens had precisely the intention of making a portrait of their very eminent guest. Oh, since she, Paula, was an excellent painter, and she hoped to observe him , the very important guest, during dinner, and also to make some preparatory sketches for the portrait she had in mind. Lady Louise was more and more agitated, even frightened. She looked worried at Paula Rubens, and then she gave her daughter desperate glances.
He, the greatest appreciated editor of the prestigious and popular newspaper, phoned every twenty minutes to inquire how the preparations of the great dinner were proceeding. In the more and more increasingly confusion and agitation, which reigned in the large kitchen , ah also she, the highly refined French chief Francoise, who was also a doctor, gave her contribution.
He, the very important guest, who(m) no one, until now, had had the honor to have sitting at the table for dinner at home, He was in fact, French. He had been Bishop of Avignon, before being elected Pope, with the name of Pius XIII. Yes, the extraordinary guest who would go to dinner to editor Danilo Rossi’s house, was the Pope . Indeed, more precisely, He was the Pope Emeritus, because after seven years of pontificate he had resigned. It had been said that Pius XIII
had resigned from the papal throne for health problems, but many people thought ( believed) that he had resigned for political matters, of course concerning politics within the Vatican.
During his recurring phone calls, Danilo Rossi had to argue mainly with Francoise who complained about his wife, lady Louise, and about his daughter Adele too, who always had objections against the ingredients which she, who was also a doctor, and knew the health conditions of His Holiness, the Pope Emeritus, had decided to put in the roast lamb and rabbit, or in the crème caramel, and, above all, in the consummè….Ah, sure, the broth. Who knows what broth …was boiling inside the pot, he, Danilo Rossi , couldn’t help but think. Eh, there was little to be quiet with those two. Senator Olindo Betti and the former President of the Republic, Hugo Kappa, they were two old foxes who had their acquaintances in the Vatican. It was rumored that they had friendships with the exponents of the party which, in the Vatican, had forced the French Pope, former Bishop of Avignon, to resign
Yes, the great editor feared a clash between the Pope and those two shrewd politicians, who perhaps had wanted to be at that dinner just to ruin for him that priceless honor, of being able to dine face to face with such a coveted guest.
When the dinner was ready, even if there had been no shortage of incidents along the way____Francoise and the Moroccan chief had quarreled and they had even beaten each other. The Moroccan chief had been injured and his blood had ended up in the broth___the news arrived that the Pope Emeritus had been taken ill and not he could come to dinner. Instead they arrived, Senator Olindo Betti and H. Kappa, the former President of the Republic. Danilo Rossi had to be content to having dinner with them.