Cooking Up an Italian Life
by Kate Heyhoe
Ciao! September 2002 is Italian Food Month at Kate's Global Kitchen
Everyone should live in Italy at least once in this lifetime. Ingredients fresh from the field, dairy, or curing house explode with an intense flavor that dissipates by the time they reach our shores. Locally made wines may be inexpensive and served in carafes, yet can rival the finest bottled vintages. But they don't travel well. You need to sip them where they're made, with the foods of the area, to really detect their virtues.
It's not just the food that creates memories, but the ambiance of Italian life itself. Having spent a few years in Italy, I can assure you that to take a year off, or even a few months, from whatever you normally do and plant yourself in Italy is good not just for the palate, but for the spirit and soul. There's a reason why great poets have escaped there, such as Robert Browning who owned a house in Asolo, or why Sting and other modern creative souls retreat to villas in Tuscany. If the Muses have a permanent abode on this planet, I guarantee it's somewhere in Italia.
But if you can't just pack up and move to Italy, then experience the next best thing right here at home. In Cooking Up an Italian Life: Simple Pleasures of Italy in Recipes and Stories, Sharon Sanders pays homage to the spirit of Italy. Warm memories enrich the authentic meals and recipes, while the underlying narrative merrily recounts her story of cooking, loving—and ultimately marrying—in Italy. Here's a passage to savor:
My most life-enhancing "Italian" possession is as solid as it is evocative: the pergola over our patio. My dictionary says a pergola is "an arbor or passageway with a roof of trelliswork on which climbing plants are grown...from the Latin pergula". My meaning is not so easy to articulate. From the kitchen window, my daily view of the world is of three sturdy white columns framing flower gardens. Even when no one is in it, my pergola is a setting for contentment, a space to savor the moment.
When we share a meal under the pergola on a balmy evening, I allow myself to break for Italian time. I'm secure with those I love. Sometimes neighbors come over to share a glass of wine. We talk. We laugh. I savor a whiff of lavender on the breeze. I am smug in my secret: I don't need to live in Italy to live like an Italian.
Sharon fills the book with such memorable moments as meeting glitterati Luciano Pavarotti and Giancarlo Giannini...foraging in a Tuscan pantry that would put restaurants to shame (wild boar, jade-green oil, duck, artichokes pickled with sage leaves)...and celebrating her marriage over sparkling asti wine—and pizza. The book is just as charming, warm and as delicious as the Italian culture itself, and almost as good as your own memorable trip to Italia.
Kate's Global Kitchen for August-September 2002:
08/30/02 More Grilling, All Year Long
09/06/02 "Meating" the Italian "Salumeria"
09/13/02 Cooking Up an Italian Life
09/20/02 Savoring Salt-Packed Anchovies & Capers
09/27/02 The Little Italian Cookbook, Revised
Copyright © 2002, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page created August 2002