Sunday, June 26, 2011

Death to the 30-Minute Meal

I marinate steak longer than that. You come home worn out, everyone’s hungry, what to do next!

In Italy, where life is no different from here, their habits are tuned by centuries of traditions to their advantage. We move to the patio where the table looks out on the garden. Unceremoniously, the chef brings to the table a half of bottle of wine, a cutting board, half a loaf of bread, a knife, some salami, some cheese, a tin of olive oil and a handful of basil leaves freshly pinched from the garden. Grandma yells at the kids to go wash their hands. Soon a clanging of glass, silverware and small plates is heard as elbows bend and heads bob munching the savory offerings. A big pot of water with a pinch of salt goes on the stove. Grandpa is opening another bottle of wine. The sound of laughter echoes from the patio. Grandma sends one of the kids around back to pick a small bowl of ripe tomatoes from the garden for a sauce while she crushes fresh garlic and slices some pancetta on a cutting board for a sauce. There is no sense or urgency; after all, the city traffic has been horrendous- but now we are home- “siamo a casa” where life is good.  We have the family.

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