When Sunday icy squalls rage down from Abruzzo’s Corno Grande, the whole village close their shutters as soon as the ladies are back from morning mass in an attempt to dampen its howls.
Our open shutters make us acutely conspicuous; I have an intense dislike of the night as day claustrophobia those closed shutters bring, unlike the dog who‘s hiding under the bed. Stupidly I prefer light to the sounds of a moaning wind and keep my fingers crossed that nothing comes flying up to smash a window.
When Did an Old Man in England Last Give me an Early Spring Blossom?
A and I become the village loons by layering up, pulling on our hats and running outdoors, huge belly laughs as we are blown about whilst failing to catch the swirling whirling dervish leaves. We are kindly gifted a large sprig of bright mimosa by a spritely octogenarian neighbour who has come out to check that nothing in his orto would fall onto his tender new pea shoots; such winds are ferocious, previous ones have blown over a bottle of steeping Ratafia and a pot of tomatoes growing on our terrace.
The gesture made me remember his brother in law, my thoughtful neighbour who had died two years previously, a release from the dementia that had cruelly playing havoc on a still active retired farmer. On one of his white-out days we’d watched him argue with his wife, her weep by her roses for what was, his fog lifting just enough to break off a geranium to gift to her, small comfort, but enough for her tears to stop and return a small smile. People talk about how hard it is to watch your parents cry, I think watching your normally hardened elderly neighbour cry is more difficult, especially when you’re powerless to say it will get better.
American Cookbooks with a Heavy Abruzzo Influence
Back in the house to escape the chill we were greeted by the smell of the slow baked vanilla, cinnamon and lemon from the nutty milky farro dessert I’d discovered on Domenica Cooks which I thought I could try serving warm rather than her suggested chilled. Her cookbooks heavily feature Abruzzo influenced recipes and are worth checking out. We’d been playing sniff the spice since our pots of herby fragrance died off with the winter chill and it’s been a useful way to introduce A to some different tastes. Although A was put off by the lemon this slow baked dessert was delicious enough to make me want to give it another whizz with oranges and sultanas next time to make it more toddler friendly.