The third meeting of the women's committee was dominated by a discussion of the antipasti. Over the years, ambitious spreads had been served—the scores of small dishes were marched out ceremoniously to a long buffet table set in the middle of the piazza, or village square—and this year the women were determined to outdo themselves, a decision heralded by the name they chose for the soon-to-be-printed menu: Buffet di Antipasti Fantasia. In the end, we came up with a list of more than 25 dishes. Several new ideas were put forward. After some spirited debate, Gabriella Arrigoni's tuna and pickled onion crostini met with the committee's approval. But I encountered resistance when I proposed to contribute an herbed tomato tart. "We have so much already," said Vanna. But the others bravely stood by me, and so, for the first time since I moved to Buggiano, more than three decades ago, I was given a chance to add something to the dinner. The approval of other fare went more smoothly. Daniela Cardelli would bring a beloved bread soup, and Vanna would make her renowned maccheroni, two-inch squares of fresh pasta covered with a richly aromatic ragu. As for the desserts, we would follow long-standing tradition: almost every household in the village would supply a sweet, making for an extravagant "Fantasia di Dolci."