I rarely watch television, I am a radio fiend. I can do something else and listen at the same time, watching the television makes me fidget, or fall asleep. But last week I started to watch a new programme called Two Greedy Italians with Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo. These two men, old friends, are set to travel through Italy in search of the country of their youth. The Italy where divorce was illegal, women stayed at home and recipes were passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter.... There was a certain melancholy surrounding Antonio, a longing for family and eating together..... He was saddened by the apparent rejection of cooking by the young Italian women he met, again and again he tried to persuade them to cook...... But this is modern life and I must say it leaves me feeling sad too. Not so much a sadness for the lack of cooking but a sadness for the loss of 'la tavola della famiglia' or 'the family table'. It made me recall all the tables of my life, big small, simply or lavishly laid, lunch, Sunday breakfasts, celebratory meals, wobbly campsite tables, Christmas feasts or a simple pot of tea and cake. The joy of sitting with someone at a table is indeed a joy to behold. We all, hopefully, have memories of such times. I look back over the years and may not recall the meals we ate but I do recall love, laughter and conversations, people come and gone and thoughts of those that are yet to arrive. I know this for certain, every home of mine will always have its ' tavola della famiglia' and hopefully someone to sit and share a meal with, because as Antonio Carluccio said, he may have fame and fortune but in his heart he longs to share his table with another.............I hope he finds his dream.
A post script to this on the day of Antonio's death, a life that gave much to many, I hope he finds a place at a table and peace. x