There is always a spinster aunt in the family, usually. If I continue at this rate, the next generation could be the one to represent the category …
Even if today, we say single.
The spinster aunt, usually, can be of two types: A) the one who cooks in the kitchen for all the grandchildren, taking the place of a third grandmother, who never knows which table she belongs to, who knits and takes over the whole family and who always tells the usual four journeys of when she was young…. Or B) the wanderer who is always around the world, returns only to the holidays that are always commanded with new stories and new gifts.
Here, I hope to be at least the type B.
For a while I had one on each side, maternal and paternal, then when everyone had lost hope, both prototype A and B found a husband and gave birth ….
Until then, however, there was concern about what happened to them left to themselves.
Fortunately, things have changed a bit now, especially type B is seen a little better … but it is not approved. Not entirely.
Not in southern families, and after reading Andrea Vitali’s book, I don’t even believe in northern ones.
Unfortunately, after an online search I did not find the US or UK version of the book in question, but I still want to continue the article because I think the topic may be interesting, and maybe in the future it will come in translation … (indeed, if someone find it let me know, thanks)
In the autobiographical novel, there are even three spinster aunts! Of prototype A with some variations, since they are told by the innocence of the eyes of the grandson, the author, who sees them a bit like three hags who force him to gulp down soups in profusion, a bit like the saviors of the whole world, as three ministers, with specific and very important functions and tasks.
This is the reason for the ambiguous title, The Three Soups, which is nothing more than the mangled name of the three ministers, responsible for the administration of the family.
The story is full of lovely episodes, all in some way linked to traditional food and recipes. It is no coincidence that the second part of the book is composed of a real recipe book to bring the flavors of history to our tables, those unique dishes that satisfy the palates of adults and children, whose smell lingers in the nostrils of anyone until last breath.
This book is consoling, like a warm broth in the early autumn cold, like a cover against a cold, like a wet patch on the forehead burning with fever; brings to mind the lunches from Sunday in which all the relatives gather to eat with passion baked pasta, second courses of rabbits, chickens and fillings, succulent delights that to write only the memory I am gaining weight. And at the same time he talks about hardship, poverty, about putting something at the table with what you can, as my grandfather often told me who had lived through lean periods and therefore for him leaving something on his plate was a mortal sin. As my uncle in law (one of the saviors of the probable old maids of the older generation) tells me, of his grandfather who has a pantry full of breadcrumbs, so that the war never comes again he would have to feed and fill up. This story is undoubtedly an act of love, an affectionate tribute that the author wanted to return to his land and family.
It reminded me of my father and mother’s tales of their youth, my moments in my grandparents’ kitchen.
It is as if food indissolubly binds the various generations, as if beyond musical tastes, films on the market, digital evolutions, a good lunch, a well-made soup, it was still able to put everyone in agreement.
Here, the feeling I have at the end of this autobiographical novel is this, that by eating a dish of my personal tradition, I can be close to my family, despite the distances, despite the adventures around the world….
May I always always always, feel at home.