The Shoemaker’s Wife-by Adriana Trigiani


Here is an excerpt from my recent summer read:

“A beautiful woman, much younger than his mother, was working at the table.  She wore a long jumper of gray-striped wool with a white apron tucked around it.  Her black hair was wrapped tightly into a chignon and tucked under a black kerchief.  Her dark brown eyes squinted as she rolled a long skein of pasta on a smooth marble work slab.  She hummed a tune a she took a small knife and whittled away tiny stars of dough, unaware that Ciro was watching her.  Her long fingers moved surely and deftly with the knife.  Soon, a batch of tiny pasta beads began to pile up on the board.  Ciro decided that all women are beautiful, except maybe old ones like Sister Domenica.  “Colallini?”. Ciro asked.

The young woman looked her and smiled at the little boy in the big clothes.  “Stelline,” she corrected him, holding up a small piece of dough carved into the shape of a star.  She scooped up a pile of the little stars and threw them into a big bowl.

“What are you making?”

“Baked custard.”

“It smells like cake in the hallway.”

That’s the butter and the nutmeg.  The custard is better than cake.  It’s so delicious that it pulls angels off of their perches.  At least that is what I tell the other sisters.  Did it make you hungry?”

“I was already hungry.”

So begins the time that little Ciro is raised in a convent in the Italian Alps.  The story takes him to New York and northern Minnesota, both places that I know and love.  Adriana weaves a beautiful tale based on her own families’ lineage and Italian heritage.  Therefore, it is no wonder that food is a running theme in this story.

Adriana must come from a family of cooks as she also has co-authored a nonfiction book entitled “Cooking with My Sisters”, which I have added to my “must read” list.

Kath’s quote: “Custard:  A detestable substance produced by a malevolent conspiracy of the hen, the cow, and the cook.”-Ambrose Bierce

Love-that is all.


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