I must apologize for almost falling off the blogging wagon. This post started weeks ago, full of the accompanying sizzle of Summer. The sawing buzz of cicadas, aromatic breezes and emotions of recent experiences were still fresh in my mind, yet I had to leave it all on ice. These have been fallow times, due to the Summer holidays and the ensuing interference of offspring. I have sat here on countless occasions brimming with ideas and stories to relate only to be wrenched from my keyboard by the marauding troupe formed by my kids. The pattern is the same: a child screams, I try and zone it out, keep my thread – and after an initial surge of resentment and frustration the realization hits that I do actually need to intervene/mediate (also cater, serve, mop, wipe and appease, comfort). So I push my chair away from the desk and deal with the present – as well I should. I procrastinated involuntarily and repeatedly – but by the time the quiet of night rolled around I just felt that the passion had been steam-rolled out of me. I then uploaded a fat batch of pictures of Maratea, the place we stayed hoping that it would get me back on track (see below) but much like returning to a forgotten cup of tea the restorative warmth and curative aroma of which has long since disappeared, I was in another, cooler, less sunny headspace by the time I got back to it. Surely you’ve been there – you have a spontaneous, funny story to relate yet countless interruptions mean you never get it off the ground and, eventually, abandon the whole endeavour. After the repeated start-stop pattern and holding the thought, I had to resign myself to the fact that until school started back up – or I got some sort of help – I was not going to be doing anything meaningful for myself : no more than a cursory shower, minimal personal grooming, no formal exercise of any kind, no focused reading, no poring over cookbooks, no catching up with friends for a proper chat, in short: absolutely nothing that requires anything greater than 10 minute chunks. And so this Summer has really been about me making my peace with that and I figure that in terms of personal growth, this is no small feat. This double bind of emotional satisfaction vs intellectual and personal satisfaction is much of what constitutes parenthood. If I am honest I suppose these are simply the years of drinking many (maybe not exclusively) cold, abandoned cups of tea….
So in the spirit of nostalgia triggered by the roadtrip post, one of the most evocative tastes for me is seafood pasta, usually linguine with clams (I will do a specific post on this later) but also any long pasta with seafood. This inimitable aroma is so wonderful that this would be, if pressed, my Last Supper.
It’s the Trinity of flavours I am fixated with, which for me represent quite utterly, Summer at the Italian seaside and ergo, childhood.
The trio of flavours are: garlic, olive oil…..
…and fresh parsley… And if you are from the Abruzzo, or simply you put some store by a teensy taste-bud-induced adrenaline hit, then ramp this up an all-important notch with CHILLIES! (in case you were going to protest, read this: they’re good for you)
We have just returned from a family road trip around Italy. It is something I have done every single year of my life: driven down to Italy by car. The journey, contrary to most people’s horrified reactions, is absolutely essential to me. And no, I don’t find taking the plane easier. With all the packing limitations, the minimal liquid allowances and security checks (with kids!), the folding up of the stroller, the transfers and the poor food options, the delays which are out of your hands, the lack of spontaneity, the lack of hire cars that would fit all of us in at our destination: it is a migraine and scream-fest waiting to happen. But that is not the real reason, it is just the reason I provide when pressed, not the irrational, emotional reason we do the road tip. The real reason is that planes are to road trips as fast food is to slow food. The Annual European roadtrip is a pilgrimage.…