As a Christmas gift to us, I purchased a copy of Douglas Gayeton’s book “slow life in a tuscan town.” The book is a photographic narrative and is not only beautiful but interesting, especially if you have travelled in Tuscany. It is centered around the time he lived in the town of Pistoia, north-east of Florence, Italy and features photos of many of the local people both famous and just plain folk.
I have written a number of times about our time spent in another small town in Tuscany called Panzano in Chianti and the Macelleria Cecchini. We have had the great pleasure to not only meet Dario Cecchini and his wife, Kim but to enjoy a wonderful outdoor lunch at MacDario, above the Macelleria, as well as a dinner at Solocicca, across from the Macelleria. The menu is made up of Dario’s interpretations of traditional Tuscan meat preparations. Next visit is for the Bistecca alla Fiorintina!
The visits to Panzano became a touchstone to us and left us with a deep love of the Tuscan countryside and everything it provides for the table.
During one visit, tourists came into the very well known Macelleria and were surprised to see the spread that is always laid out for visitors who come by. Salami, wine, bread, cubes of “meatloaf” with red pepper mostarda and last but not to be forgotten once eaten, is their lardo. This concoction of whipped, seasoned pork fat is absolutely divine! The tourists were slightly shocked at the thought of eating lardo and when I commented, “you eat butter, right so not that different.” Not sure what they thought but I was too occupied reaching for another piece of bread and slathered on the lardo !
There are things that pull us back to our roots and make us remember how things were when we were growing up; our travels to Italy have done just that for us. So many memories of how things were done back then, like the egg lady at the bottom of our street or the guy who delivered the blocks of ice every week to place in the old Coca Cola cooler that sat on the porch of the “house” we were living in, my parents growing our vegetables, my mother canning fruits, tomatoes, salmon, and making jams. We lived very simply; we had a radio, no T.V., no phone, a wringer washing machine but no dryer but we had the basics, including an, ugh, outhouse! We ate mostly what was in season except bought iceberg lettuce for salad greens in the fall and winter. But in the summer….we lived it up! If you can believe it, this was in South Burnaby, B.C. in the 1950’s!
That’s me and my dad in our front yard circa 1950! How about that so called lawn?