“Keeping the Feast”-Part 1

June7

Every once in a while, a book comes into my life that I know will live with me for a very long time.  I had never heard the title or the author until this treasure was gifted to me on Mother’s Day by my son and his wife.

The author, Paula Butturini, is recounting a stretch of time spent in Rome.  The work is non-fiction.  The read restores memories for me of our time in Italy.  I am unable to adequately describe the Italian’s reverence of food although I have attempted it often in this space.  I believe that we are intended (like the Italians and French) to shop daily and then prepare fresh food with urgency.  If this was the case for us in North America I know that our reliance on packaged and processed food would be a thing of the past.  We would enjoy better health and families would once again gather around the dinner table.

The Campo that is mentioned here is the Campo dei Fiori which means “field of flowers”.  It was originally a meadow, then cobble-stoned in the 1430’s.  It was transformed into a public market in 1869. 

This is from Paula’s prologue:

“Morning after morning for an entire year, I walked to the Campo before most people were up.  Noisy, hoking, shouting Rome is almost quiet at that hour, and what began as a simple routine soon took on the trappings of a ritual.  I woke up early, dressed, walked out the door and over to the Campo.  I would buy a shiny, plump purple-black eggplant.  Or a handful of slender green beans, so fresh and young, you could eat them raw.  I bought three golden pears, or a heavy bunch of fat, green grapes.  I bought a few slices of Milanese salami, a bit of veal.  I bought a thin slab of creamy Gorgonzola, to spread on crusty, still-warm bread.  I bought milk, yogurt, butter and eggs, and finally the newspapers.  Then I would head home, stopping in the tiny church of Santa Brigida, which lay halfway between the Campo and our apartment.” 

Kath’s quote:  “When I was alone, I lived on eggplant, the stove top cook’s strongest ally…. “-Laurie Colwin


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