Being a frugal sort of chap, I cut out each Sunday's article, and eventually stapled them all together to form a sort of 'book'. I still have the 'book', and consult it often.
The picture above comes from week 3's piece about the South of Italy; in particular Abruzzi, Molise, Campania, and Calabria.
Every time I look at this picture I envy this family with a passion. In the shade of an ancient arch at a peasant farmhouse, are assembled everyone from grandparents, to parents, and assorted children; doing what all families SHOULD do, and enjoying an al fresco Summer meal with everyone present. It's a sight that makes me wish I was a part of that wonderful family.
We came close to something similar this Summer, with my three children, their husbands/wives, their children, and a few cousins, etc, all here at once. Unfortunately when the celebrations were over, they all returned to their homes in distant countries.
In the above photo I imagine they simply returned to the fields, or a snooze under a nearby shady tree. Perfect.
That does look idyllic. I envy large, happy families who gather together and enjoy each other. I have very few blood relations, and am not really close to any of them. It makes me sad, especially when the holidays roll around. And since Gregg and I don't have children, it's often just us and our dogs. But we love each other, and are happy, so I guess we're much luckier than a lot of people.ReplyDelete
I think this is very much a European thing; big families all living together in large houses. Probably not as common these days, but it was certainly the case when I first came to live in France.Delete
I love that picture too. It even looks familiar but maybe it is because I want it to be. Being together is the most important thing; not who's got what and who's wearing what and is the table the best table. Nobody cares. Just being happy and together. I know and could look at that picture many times too.ReplyDelete
I find it haunting. As you say, no attempt at being fancy; I even notice plastic bowls of food, school chairs, and all the men up one end (as they do here). I might even print a large copy and frame it.Delete
Why don't you paint it?Delete
We used to have my cousins over in the summer time with aunts and uncles and my father would set out two old doors on trestles for a table and a tarpauline would be ready to sling over stilts in case of rain. I thought of this when I read your words. No designer outdoor tables and patio heaters. Just life.Delete
I adore that type of al fresco rustic eating. It's always the best.Delete
No fast-food in that picture. There is always a head family who everyone respects.ReplyDelete
You can still make it happen, Cro; you and Lady M have all the qualities; you set good examples, frugal, fresh food, excellent cooks. Lots of things you write here you are already living it. The barn-building, the caravan, the cakes Lady M prepares before hand for the grandchildren, the trees for each grandchild...and I could go on; you are already living that dream.
Greetings Maria x
If only they were all here permanently, it would be perfect. I think it's only farming families who still continue with this life style these days.Delete
I remember cutting those articles out too, and probably still have them somewhere. Be content with what you have Cro. - you have more than most people.ReplyDelete
We went back to that area about three years ago, and it's changed - those families eat out in trendy restaurants these days !
I'm not reading that last para. Of course they're still the same; and they always will be (in my mind).Delete
We're talking nearly 40 years ago, so think how things have changed elsewhere in the world (not always for the better, I know).Delete
The weather must have something to do with it Cro...and the attitude - we are all so insular here. Lovely pic...but you experienced something similar when your nearest and dearest were with you some months ago..maybe there is something in the pic that speaks to you that is not immediately obvious?ReplyDelete
I think it's ALL to do with the weather. Eating outdoors in the shade, growing vines and olives and peaches, siestas in the afternoon, so many things that the UK doesn't have. As for your last thought, my father's older brother was named Terenzio, so maybe there's some Italian blood in the family.Delete
That is news to me - was there more than one brother?Delete
No, just Father and Reginald; it was Reginald who was named Terenzio.Delete
I just looked him up on Google, and see that he was Earnest Reginald Terenzio; he appears in some business register.Delete
I agree with you Cro. Unfortunately it took me til my 60's to realise this. I grew up with cousins and grandparents next door and couldn't wait to escape.Now I see the advantages my parents had with babysitters, company, friendship etc. Maybe things will revert back in this fast changing world.ReplyDelete
Blow the inconvenience of Aunty Maud and her stinking cat; the advantages are overwhelming.Delete
It's a great picture. I would so loved to have been part of a big, happy family.ReplyDelete
The photo exudes contentment.Delete
it is all very well for the boys bringing in their bride and also being able to stay at home with Mama. Ask the daughters in law how they feel. The Mother is the matriarch and you toe the line. Even more difficult for a foreign daughter in law being brought into the extended family. Stifling.ReplyDelete
Can't be easy. Obey Mother-in Law's rules, or else! Mind you, it was probably her who chose the bride.Delete
The closest we ever got to that was Christmas in the UK 1960s, with Nanna & Grandad, their three plus husband and wives and five of us grandchildren. Housefull sleeping, some of us, up the road with neighbours and cooking one day only in two kitchens. The best times were when Xmas fell on a Thursday!ReplyDelete
We used to spend Christmas in Wales, where we had several uncles, aunts and cousins; they were good times.Delete
It's an idyllic family, for sure. We have nine grandchildren (from two sons!). Recently Grant and I moved to my older son's property in the mountains. This move was mainly for health reasons for yours truly. This family has six children and my son and his wife. They work and live as expats in Mozambique so Grant and I are custodians of their beautiful property overlooking the awesome Drakensberg mountains. He said last week: life certainly is simple here. We've left a country town with lots of action and social interaction and now life English Squire and wife. Your summer sounds like we had here for a month before the family left for their next stint in East Africa.ReplyDelete
English Squire and wife sounds pretty good to me. Yes, we had a very good Summer, it was great seeing everyone together. Our three children don't get to see each other too often.Delete
Looks idyllic but it would be fascinating to know the stories behind each of the characters in the picture. Maybe they're not all as happy as they look, maybe they're a Mafia family and the godfather is indoors in the back room planning the next hit, who knows.... But I'll go with your idea Cro, it's much better!ReplyDelete
It IS idyllic Sue. No Mafia henchmen outback, just long meals in the sunshine, and siestas.Delete
I know what you mean Cro .... I think that our childhood was a bit like that in the 50's and early 60's ..... our grandmother lived nearby. As did my aunt and uncle and cousins and we all met on a regular basis but, times change. One of the episodes of The Greedy Italians was about how things were changing in Italy ..... daughters not wanting to cook so much, more fast food available and the younger generation off travelling and living abroad. I think that we would all love to go back to simpler times but we do look through rose coloured glasses a lot of the time and often think that the grass is always greener everywhere else ...... I wonder how idyllic that family is ? I''m sure that it's not all wonderful all the time.Although your family is spread out, you do get quality time with them when they are there or visit. None of us can have everything I guess. Maybe you are feeling like this as the Summer has gone and Winter is on it's way ? You have got Christmas to look forward to. XXXXReplyDelete
One of the things that disappoints me the most, is seeing young women in the supermarket buying piles upon piles of ready made Pizzas, and other ready meals. For an area with such a gastronomic reputation it worries me.Delete
That young woman may well have a job working long hours, then come home to look after aged parents, two or three children - who knows? These days the young have a life outside the family home - it's how things are. It's progress, maybe not for you, but for them. They say if you love your children, you let them go.Delete
I must say, that is no excuse. One can buy ready made pizza dough, a tomato, and some mozzarella, and voila. Cheaper, more nutritious, and takes no time at all. What does it take to fry a chop or some fish? Lack of time is no excuse.Delete
It's OK for you Cro., you have all the time in the world, with nothing better to do than please yourself. I suggest you give some thought to how others have to live their lives. Lack of time is a valid excuse, especially if you are a working mother. By the time the poor woman has brought all the ingredients, put them together, cleared up afterwards, then cooked the thing she may well be exhausted. If you feel as strongly, as you obviously do, why don't you say something next time?Delete
Simply because it's a choice. A choice between expensive laziness and much cheaper nutrition. As for me, I hardly stop all day long, and usually retire exhausted; and I'm 70.Delete
Today is Thanksgiving in the US and is a day to be with family and hopefully (if nobody talks about politics) enjoy the blessings that we have been given (each other). It is about food, laughter, and best of all, love. Family is everything.ReplyDelete
I didn't know; Happy Thanksgiving! I trust you're spending a pleasant Trumpless day.Delete
Did you read "Le soleil des Scorta" form Laurent Gaudé? If not, please read it, I assume your knowledge of French is good enough to understand the book. It is just marvellous, not "chicl lit", sometimes hard, but... what a family!
Yes I do read in French, but have not heard of this. I'll make enquiries. Thanks.Delete