The Fashion Magpie Fare La Scarpetta

Fare la Scarpetta.

I love nights when the candles burn low, leaving constellations of wax on the table,

And there is no urgency around clearing plates and washing dishes.

I love the fullness of that moment when you put your napkin at the side of your plate,

And curl up on your chair with a still-full glass of wine,

Asking for nothing but conversation.

The main act is over, but you sit in warm, still communion with friends.

A dear girlfriend of mine nodded emphatically when I mentioned this sensation years ago:

“Yes! Fare la scarpetta,” she said, which in Italian means “make the little shoe,” and in practice refers to the act of taking a small crust of bread to mop up the last of the sauce on your plate.

Leave it to the Italians to immortalize the feeling in idiom.

I hadn’t thought on this for years and then, over the weekend, I sat with Mr. Magpie on the floor of our living room lingering over a spread of oysters, shrimp he’d sous-vide-d in olive oil, olive bread from Bread Furst and outrageously expensive but delicious Isigny St. Mere butter, lemon-dill hummus, peppers and green onions he’d blistered on the grill and then dressed in olive oil and garlic, and muhammara. We don’t normally eat this way in our home; Mr. Magpie prefers a well-rounded plate with a protein, starch, and vegetable lovingly prepared and arranged in beautiful concert with one another. This night was different, and we sat there for hours, unwilling to clear the plates. The words occurred to me as I floated up the stairs a bit later: fare la scarpetta. The most literal, pin-prick specific way to capture the feeling of enjoying time spent together to its very ends.

I’m carrying that sentiment with me this week. I want to turn everything off and enjoy the things that bring me pleasure until there is only the faintest ring of coffee left around the basin of the mug, until I’ve drawn the last of the bread through the last of the sauce, until the loving conversation ebbs and evaporates into the silence of sleep.

To making the little shoe!

Post-Scripts.

+This is yet another stab at remaining present.

+We were more or less enjoying an indoor picnic. And I love an indoor picnic.

+Are you an adventurous eater?

+Much of today’s essay also plucks on themes from my essay on remaining open to joy.

+On being truly happy for friends.

+I especially enjoy evenings lingering over dinner al fresco. The season is nigh!

+I missed this sentiment during peak COVID days.

Shopping Break.

+You can subscribe to receive an email alert when my posts go live at 5 a.m. each morning here. I know many of you do this and read Magpie bright and early, in your beds. Thank you for inviting me into your daily routine. I have recently added a little shopping section to these posts where I switch up the finds weekly. Just a little glow up for my morning magpies.

+My favorite Vitamin C product is 25% off right now with code SPRING25. I wrote more about it here.

+Love this French straw bag with the Hermes-orange handles.

+A propos of the above: Mr. Magpie always shucks our oysters at home using one of these gloves — it’s a MUST — and I just ordered him one of these shallow galvanized metal trays to serve them up in. We’ve been making do serving them on cookie sheets but this will be more civilized.

+Obsessed with Anthropologie’s selection of Lucie de Moyencourt pottery — especially this enormous dish (imagine piled high with citrus on your counter!) and these canape plates. Would be cute to buy one of these and place a little parcel of cheese straws on top and wrap the whole thing in cellophane as a hostess gift.

+This dress make me want to enjoy a margarita. (With the spicy rim — IYKYK — in my favorite glass for rocks drinks.)

+More of my favorite glassware/drinkware here.

+I’m telling you, terry is enjoying a moment right now. (Terry’s publicist must be v happy with herself — HA.) It is all over the place! I love the terry pieces I bought from Minnow for my son (top and shorts — you can get the look for less with this and this from Dillard’s), and then just picked up this J. Crew terry romper for my daughter, too! For adults: Kule has a bunch of terry pieces out this season, including this little romper situation which has been selling like wildfire.

+When I bought that coverup/romper for mini, I also bought a few other adorable things at great sale prices: this nightgown, this t-shirt and a long-sleeved variation (we have these in several colors, but the colors on sale are around $10 so I tossed a few in the bag), and this rash guard (not as heavily discounted but high sell-out risk and I love it).

+I adore everything about this dress. I own a number of Saloni dresses and the fit and tailoring of this brand’s pieces are always exceptional — impeccable!

+WOW these sophisticated sandals are only $119 but remind me of a much more expensive pair by The Row. They feel right at home with these minimalist chic pieces.

+I know we’re inching out of cold weather, but these inexpensive thermals for littles are incredible — my children wear them as loungewear in the winter but we also layer them beneath snowsuits, which, it bears noting, are on rare sale at Reima, and Reima is SUCH a good brand. Incredibly made pieces. I bought mini a jacket from here that she’s worn the last few weeks and it really is impermeable.

+I am hearing good things about these Spanx pants. SO many of you love and swear by their other styles and I like this new trend-forward style.

+This beach tote!!! And this dress!! YES! I know I’ve shared this before, but I bought one of the embroidered caftans from this brand two years ago and I LOVE to wear it at home, barefoot, all summer long. Like the perfect evening outfit: slip into it post-work and enjoy a glass of wine.

+Seriously eyeing this linen mini for a rehearsal dinner for my sister — the floral reminds me of Monet! But I also love that playful butterfly print…would be cute for my 12 year (!?) anniversary this summer.

+I am transfixed by this stripe dress from LR. It is SO unique. Love.

+Ordering these $10 jammies for micro.

+Pucci vibes.

+Gasp – this skirt is beyond gorgeous. More beautiful skirts for spring here.

+Debating between buying micro a pair of Sperry boat shoes for the season (starting with Easter Sunday) or buying this $20 pair of loafers in the next size up. Both are great because the top velcros down into place…

+This Baby Gap outfit is beyond adorable. It’s reminiscent in some ways of the Doen dress I just treated myself to!

4 Comments

  1. ” I want to turn everything off and enjoy the things that bring me pleasure until there is only the faintest ring of coffee left around the basin of the mug, until I’ve drawn the last of the bread through the last of the sauce, until the loving conversation ebbs and evaporates into the silence of sleep.” — I just love how you write, Jen!

    Oh, the warm and fuzzy feeling you describe here! Reminds me of the Spanish word “sobremesa”. I come from a big family, and I have so many fond memories of lingering around the dinner table in conversation and laughter, elbow to elbow with my siblings.

    Thank you for the reminder to live fully in everyday moments — it’s not always about hiking up to the top of a mountain or traveling somewhere far away (though those are wonderful experiences too, not that I’ve hiked up to the top of any mountain, ha!), but pausing to appreciate what we might otherwise take for granted.

    1. Thank you, Mia!! I’m so touched. Another reader sent me a direct message about sobremesa as well and I just love it. It’s interesting to think about the fact that we don’t really have a phrase for it in English/American idiomatic language!

      xx

  2. I absolutely love this sentiment, it’s also a favorite moment of mine. I also love other languages that pinpoint moments of time in the most unique translations!

    1. Yes! It’s such a distinctive, warm feeling, at the end of the meal. I also love unique phrases/idioms from other languages that we do not have in English — gives you such a clear window into other cultures, doesn’t it? That they feel so strongly about a specific, idiosyncratic moment (for example, enjoying a meal to the last bite) that they must come up with a word for it.

      xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.