Tuesday, May 14, 2019

An Italian Meal to Remember. . . Food and Family

We're back in Bordeaux where I've been catching up on some online coursework, playing with watercolour, washing clothes and hanging them out in the sunshine, and visiting a favourite little Bar-Cave with Pater. It's been a good day and we're happy to be here, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't missing the Rome crew.

But the Four will turn Five in Vancouver this summer,  so we'll see her before long. Meanwhile, happy memories were captured in this photo my daughter emailed me, taken by her at Friday night's dinner. If you follow me on Instagram, you may already have seen this, but I wanted to have a copy here as well.  This is part of what I said about it over there:

Taken "the other evening in the seaside fishing village . . . where the menu included seven tasty appetizers (more like tapas, really) and then our individual choices for a Primo or Secondo Piatto (three of us chose something pasta; one of us chose grilled fish). A really lovely evening--such a pleasure watching our daughter, son-in-law, and especially our granddaughter chat comfortably (well, the little one was a bit reserved. I think she doesn't like to show up her parents 'cause she's the most fluent of the three) in Italian with the owners/servers.

Side note: I must have gone to sleep thinking about their ability to do this because I woke up with the word "chiacchierare" in my head. That tireless file clerk in my memory cabinet must have searched for it in the dusty files marked "Italian lessons"; it means to chat or to chatter, and I love its onomatopoeia. Interestingly, there's a fried pastry with a related name, "chiacchere." It's crunchy, so also onomatopoeic. . .

In case you're wondering, we did eventually get that day in Rome -- the day after we accepted Four's invitation to watch her swimming lesson. I have photos uploaded for two posts about that day. I guess I haven't completely left Italy yet, after all.

Also, for those who might remember my post about another memorable meal with our expat branch of the family, the Little Girl who had a tough time staying at the table in Split when she was two is a very civilized diner at Coming-Up-to-Five.

Do you have favourite words in other languages? Do they surface unexpectedly from time to time? Or does that little file clerk in charge of your memory archives surprise you with other long-forgotten gems? And how does your memory do when it comes to special meals? Is it the taste of the food itself or the sense of the setting and/or the company that you remember? Details or an overall mood or impression? I'd love to know. . . 

8 comments:

Taste of France said...

I have no doubt that at 4 she can run circles around her parents in Italian. Been there, done that (on the parent level, sigh).
Re onomatopoeia, my favorite bits are in Swahili: lala salama means sleep peacefully (literally; otherwise just good night) and practically hypnotizes me to sleep. Kuku is chicken because ... of COURSE. Ngombe is cow, which kind of sounds like one mooing. Nguruwe is frog, same thing. The list goes on. If there weren't SEVEN classes of nouns, I would count Swahili as my favorite language.

materfamilias said...

Does your kid now have a facility with other languages beyond French and English?
And I love your list of Swahili words. All my language experience is with Latin-based languages (well, except for some dabbling with German and with the Angle-Saxon branch of English itself ;-) In my next lifetime . . .

Mary said...

I've been trying to brush up on German for an upcoming trip. I lived there for three years as a youngster and even took German in high school. It has surprised me how much I remember (...and yet how much I have forgotten) as different words/sentences pop up and are so familiar even though five decades have past since I last studied the language. The kicker is that I am also working on my French and unfortunately I now find myself composing sentences in half and half. 'Ich liebe le fromage' isn't going to help me anyplace other than perhaps Alsace or maybe parts of Switzerland...

As for remembered meals...the full English breakfast made by my Aunt whenever I arrived in the UK on an overnight flight (which instantly put me to sleep)...the incredible fresh ingredients of Insalata Caprese in Rome...a hot Bratwurst, slathered in mustard and served on a small bun while standing amidst the market stalls on Saturdays in a German market town...I can almost conjure up the smell of them as I sit here.

Sue Burpee said...

I love that picture of you and Pater, Frances. So relaxed and lovely. Not to mention the food. Yesterday at a lunch with eight former colleagues a couple of us began to wax lyrical about food we'd had in Italy. Risotto... plus truffles... sigh.
As for remembering phrases in other languages. As I said to Stu when we were in South America attempting Spanish phrases, I didn't realize how much French I knew until I tried to speak Spanish.
Despite missing your Italian family, it must have felt kind of wonderful to come "home" to Bordeaux.

Eleonore said...

Yes, "chiacchierare" is a wonderful word. And the Italians are not content with one chat, it's always four at a time ("fare quattro chiacchiere"). I just returned from Puglia, and, as expected, I could understand almost everything (unless people spoke in dialect), but whenever I tried to say something, the Spanish intervened. It is obvious I have to find an Italian conversation course.

materfamilias said...

Ah yes, that "sharing" between languages -- I remember when I was taking French and Spanish at university a long time ago, and only a couple of years after my high school years of Latin -- I would pull French verbs into my Spanish and sprinkle Latin nouns wherever. . . I love your food memories -- so evocative.

materfamilias said...

That's a very good line! At the very least, we Canadians have absorbed enough French from our cereal boxes to attempt any number of Romance languages ;-)
And it was, it was really good to feel like coming home to Bordeaux. . .

materfamilias said...

I'd forgotten that, about making the four chats at once -- so great!
Didn't you just love Puglia?! I'd really like to get back there someday. Only spent a week, the year after my mom died, but I have such good memories.

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