In my previous article (read HERE if you missed it) I already wrote about the central figure of the family, the mamma but beside here there is a long family surrounding the dinner table. And why the dinner or lunch table is the reference? Because eating is more than a tradition, it is art all over Italy and down in the south the number of family members get beyond imagination.
On our day of arrival I was overwhelmed to see 15 people gathering for a welcome lunch but I thought they didi t to be polite. Then in the evening it all happened again, just as the following day and the other days with one difference: the number of people increased gradually. One day I counted 30 Sicilians with whom I shared the grilled eggplant and the mushroom pieces, beside other culinary art masterpieces and the whole scene looked like a wedding anniversary party. By that time it became clear that these people don’t need special occasions for such a gathering, they do it weekly! Uncles, aunts, cousins and friends and their brothers or children all fit around the table who all take their part not only in eating but in the preparation and the afterwards cleaning up. Like a big family.
I was curious to know what happens on celebrations like birthdays or weddings. Obviously, they grow in number of participants, like how Stefania explained that her last birthday was a smaller one with 70 people. Yep, you read it correctly, seventy! Weddings are equal with small town gatherings because usually they cater for 200 or 300 guests. Of course when Roberto papa has 9 siblings it is not difficult to gather such a big family.
I was amused to see how the two families of Marco and Federica (who are not married yet) also come together regularly. It is safe to say (and without surprising any of you) that we spent 18 out of 19 hours per day (beside the usual 6 hours sleeping time) with company. I also noticed that it is not just the „having fun” which binds these people because if any problem occured, they were ready to help each other out. Whether it was an empty tank or a fallen child on the ground. They care for and watch out for each other.
And speaking of another flavour, I tried the romana filled with fresh ricotta cheese which is another typical breakfast choice for Sicilians and the pasta of this croissant was so soft and the cheese was so fresh that it was hard to stop at one. You can see all on my face. I tried not to drop all the powdered sugar on this silk cotton Tchibo top but obviously I failed. Thank God the jeans is stretchy. I needed it after a few days.
Jeans, top: Tchibo
Photo: Marco Di Giovanni