The writer is, herself, a Croatian from Zagreb now living in London after studying there at Goldsmiths. and in her short story, she explores the displacement of a similar ex-pat lifestyle on a young woman whose mother is visiting from Croatia. The mother is somewhat intimidated by her daughter's acceptance of the material comforts she enjoys, impressed as well, but also somewhat disapproving of a consumerism that she worries might be achieved at the expense of her daughter's once-strong feminist identity which she sees as compromised. It's a thoughtfully rendered description of the delicate negotiations of any mother visiting an adult daughter's home, and I would imagine anyone who has compounded those negotiations with some cross-cultural and geographic moves might recognise one or two moments here.
What I found delightful in the story, given that Dottoressa had introduced me to the writer and that Dottoressa has been introducing us to her country through its food, is that mother and daughter find their way back to each other by preparing a typical Croatian meal for a dinner party at least partly in add of the daughter's husband's career. A risk to serve this food, but the daughter believes that at their social strata, the twelve dinner guests must surely be bored with the usual offerings and might embrace the novelty of good simple food, not quite peasant food, but certainly not pretentious. How charmed was I to recognise the Sarmaa that mother and daughter prepare as the same recipe Dottoressa offered us not long ago.
If you come across Volume 2: West of the anthology London: 33 boroughs, published by Glasshouse Books, 2010, look for Štivičić's story, "The Truth about the Dishwashers." I know you'd enjoy it, but meanwhile, let me leave the rest of this post for Dottoressa to tell us more about the cuisine of her country. In this part of our continuing series, she turns her attention to her own city, capital of Croatia.
There you go, then, with another interesting post about a country I haven't had a chance to visit yet, but hope to before too long. As I've mentioned in recent posts, I'm on a blogging break at the moment, so I'm not responding to comments but I won't resist reading them. Dottoressa is generally very generous, though, in responding to any questions or comments you might have, and I know she welcomes any feedback to her guest posts.