I am feeling lazy. It is mid-afternoon. When I am lazy, I don’t like to do too much, as befits the definition. It is that particular sort of idle exhaustion having not expended any effort whatsoever.
I call her the little engine that could, a silvery sweetheart with a wasp waist, rubber arm and sturdy seat. Alfonso Bialetti invented her in 1933, and she’s been a little runaround in kitchens all over Italy and Europe ever since. She is a romantic icon of the days before everything electric, literally a steam engine, gurgling up three shots of earthy, almost smoky elixir in about 10 minutes. If you stand very still and cock your head to the burner, you will hear the finest hiss of heat escape through the pinprick valve. This is enough for me. Two shots later, my eyes are clearer, and I am seeing my kitchen as if for the first time. I need to get moving on that chicken stock now. I no longer just think, I do. I’ll chop some fresh onions, carrots and celery, grind a bit of thyme in my green marble mortar. I am no longer lazy. I am now the little engine that could.