Do you remember the popular TV series “Cheers”? The domestic atmosphere of a neighborhood gathering where everyone knows everyone and whose everyday life is disturbed here and there, by the arrival of some interesting stranger?
I would love to have a place like this myself. Your oasis for sipping your morning coffee, an informative counter without forethought, the space of which you leave worries behind at the front door. I’d love to, but I don’t. I think the problem is inside me – some genetic confusion, some messy impulse. How else to explain the fact that I have my favorite table in Rome and Lisbon, in the cities where I stay a month or two a year, but not in Zagreb, where I spend the rest of my time?! And that some Carlo in Rome’s Via Cuma knows how to write my name with chocolate on the foam of the best cappuccino in the world. And that some Manuel puts with a smile a Pastéis de Bacalhau on a plate as soon as he sees me at the door. But that there is no address in Zagreb that I regularly visit and where I let the roots.
Sometimes we give too much of ourselves. Sometimes we feel exposed. Visible to all. Sometimes we want to sit in a corner, with our backs to the wall, and just watch the people in front of us. Sometimes we want to drink coffee alone. Or, better yet, with a stranger who sees us as we are at that moment, with no tails, no past. This is probably the reason I prefer to sit and chat with locals in a trattoria in the Venetian Arsenal or a small Parisian bistro away from the usual tourist movements than on my street.
But there is one place where, though very far from home, you would feel like at home. In case you answered affirmatively on my first question, of course. The Bull and Finch Pub across from Boston’s City Park is the right place for it. From the door, you will smell a known space, and you will expect familiar faces. That’s where the popular Cheers series was filmed, and that’s where everyone knows your name. If a trip gets you to that pub sometime, sit down and soak up the atmosphere. Sooner or later, Sam will give you a smile behind the bar, Fraiser will sniff at the failed meeting, Carla will share her problems loudly, and Rebbeca, Woody, and the others will develop a cheerful discussion.
You might think, gently stirring New England soup with clams, that the world is a small village and how you are exactly where you should be. At home.
TEXT – Karmela Vukov Colic
PHOTO – Robert Blaskovich
Boston clams soup
500 – 750 g of pure clams meat
3 tablespoons oil
several slices of bacon
1 onion, finely chopped
1 – 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
750 g of diced potatoes
about half a liter of fish stock
2 cups of milk
½ cups of cooking cream
Heat the oil in a pot and fry the chopped bacon, onion and garlic on it. Add the potatoes and mix well. Then pour the stock and milk. Let it boil, then lower the fire. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Uncover and add the sauce, pepper, salt, and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes. Finally, mix in the cooking cream and cook for a few more minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. This soup served with crackers is a complete meal. Have a glass of beer and – Cheers!