pesca ≠ pesca. or, fishing and peaches: two sides of the same coin. for the brief period in which i learned italian semi-formally in new york, i remember asking at some point what the deal is with accents. which way do they slant? why is it perché and not perchè? and why, if it is the former, do some italians write the latter sometimes? my teacher at the time either didn't know the answer or didn't want us to worry about something she (very probably) considered less important than being able to conjuage the conditional properly. even when i pressed further, asking whether it signified some difference in pronunciation (as in french, differentiating between a closed and open vowel), she pretty much demurred and said there was no real difference. as it turns out, it is a matter of pronunciation (acute for closed, grave for open, though, as always, there are exceptions). well, this is not really that closely related to the title of this post, except that the word pesca means two different things, depending on the way it is pronounced. pésca (accents employed here to indicate pronuncation, as they are never used in writing) means 'fishing', while pèsca means 'peach'. and christ, if i didn't have enough problems memorizing where the stress falls or knowing whether to close or open my vowels, check this and this out. that whole preamble is probably not that important anyway, given that a) i've not been doing any fishing, and b) those aren't peaches below. but it's not too far off from the real point of this post, if i could claim that one exists. and plus, i just like that duality. let me explain: hi, my name is winnie, and i have a sardine problem. i just can't seem to stop eating them. i need to keep at least three tins in the pantry at all times to avoid feeling agitated or unprepared (for what, i don't know). when i travel to foreign countries, i have to buy every kind of sardine available to see if there's one particular brand that does them best. this is the result of my trips to bern and paris. from my arbitrary and only sort of extensive sampling i proclaim that the french in general seem to have the upper hand. that doesn't stop me from being equal opportunity, however. my mother noted, when the parents came to visit, that i seem to have a remarkable affinity for canned goods these days. (why, i don't know.) right -- as mentioned before, these above are not, in fact, peaches, but apricots rather. following christine ferber's instructions for bergeron apricot preserves (reducing the sugar by about half), i canned these guys from the market. i got two medium-size jars out of a kilo of fruit and a day and a half of maceration, simmering, straining, etc. i improvised a little and added some basil to one jar (not pictured here, as it's already been given away as a birthday present) before screwing on the lid, which, as intended, shook up the italians a little (but should be pretty nice once it has time to infuse the syrup a little). i left the skin on, though she suggested divesting the fruit of them, because i just couldn't figure out how, even if pre-simmered or blanched, they could come off without marring the flesh. the point being -- of the post, that is, not skin-removing -- is that yes, i do like canned food. bonus, for my italian-literate readers, a story (taken from an email i wrote today): di solito fa fresca nella mia casa durante la giornata, ma di notte, relativamente alla temperature fuori, fa più caldo, quindi devo a meno aprire la finestra. ieri sera, è venuta in mente l'idea brillante di aprire non solo la finestra nella stanza, ma anche quella nella cucina, per favorire un po' di ventilazione trasversale. alle 4 della mattina, mi sono svegliata improvvisamente da qualcosa che ha saltato sul mio letto (!). ero spaventata. e quando mi sono alzata, ho visto che c'era un gatto strano sulla copera. l'ho cacciato fuori la finestra e sono tornata al letto (dopo aver chiuso la finestra). quando ho toccato la coperta, ho sentito qualcosa umida, ma densa. e perché sono molto intelligente, l'ho annusato -- era il vomito di gatto! il che ho confermato quando ho acceso la luce. EEEEEUUUUUUGH. avevo -IO- voglia di vomitare. ho tolto tutto dal letto, cambiato tutto e ho lavato le mani (nell'ordine contrario). non potevo addormentarmi subito perché faceva così schiffo che mi sentivo malata. mi sento malata ancora. e adesso odio tutti i gatti. quando ne vedo uno, il mio stomaco gira. non posso descrivere la dimensione totale della mia ripugnanza. SCHIIIIIIFO.