When I was writing Summer Storms, I read Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes for inspiration and insight into the mind of someone taking on a massive renovation project. From 5,000 miles away, I fell in love with Tuscany, the people, and of course the food.
Last weekend I finished reading one of her follow up books, Every Day in Tuscany. I found it hard to get into the book at first as Mayes reintroduced the citizens of Cortona as she and her husband returned to their home, Bramasole. Slowly I realized her vignettes of returning after several months in the United States, settling back into Bramasole, and reuniting with beloved friends is gently returning the reader to Italy as well. I felt my mind slowing down each night as I curled up to read more of Mayes’ experiences over the ensuing eight months. No matter how crazy my day may have been, Every Day in Tuscany brought quiet and comfort.
In these books, eating is not just something that is done because it sustains life. It is an event in and of itself. The reader is brought right up to the dinner table when Mayes joins her neighbors for a holiday celebration or a simple evening of camaraderie. Both books are dog-eared, marking beautiful passages and tantalizing recipes. I long to cook for a houseful of guests, feasting around a long table under the stars on such delicacies as Duck Breast with Caramelized Spices & Artichokes and Il Falconiere Steamed Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Sauce.
When I closed the final page of Every Day in Tuscany I felt like a dear friend had gone away for a long vacation, not knowing when I would see her again, but I knew I would have her recipes to keep me company. Imagine my delight when I went online and found The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen. More than 200 pages of recipes, photos, and glimpses into the lives of her Cortona friends. Of course I snapped it right up and now I’m anxiously anticipating its arrival. Oh the fun I will have this summer as my garden provides fresh produce for what I know will be delectable new adventures. Stay tuned for my walk through Tuscany.
- A Review, A Recipe: In Tuscany by Frances Mayes (chroniclingayearinbookswithfood.wordpress.com)
- IL Civettaio – Organic winemaker from the Maremma Tuscany (italianwineimporters.wordpress.com)