I think most of you know I don’t cook. My New Year’s Resolutions were among other things to serve an Italian feast like the one from Under the Tuscan Sun. Mi Amore is a marvelous cook, he can turn his hand to any flavor. We eat each night in countries worldwide, that was until I took over the cooking.

Sam has been working nights to help out a friend so it’s been up to me. No need to tell you we are all getting thinner. It’s not so much the cooking that gets me in a muddle rather the shopping in advance. The idea of planning that morning for our evening meal totally throws me.

So with great respect for all those who see the words Italian Feast and don’t tremble with fear, this one’s for you.

We climbed and climbed unsure if we were going the right way. Past the ladies washing clothes in the fontana, through the village and at last the right driveway. This is the family of my father in law, his niece to be exact. He hasn’t been back to Italy since he left age eighteen many years ago. The families have never met, yet we are instantly embraced! It just happens to be her 60th birthday and the entire family are there. Thirty people getting ready for a birthday festa, and us.

The first thing I notice as a novice Aussie who can’t cook is that they have three kitchens. The one we are shown and sit in is the “posh” kitchen for entertaining and show. The real action is taking place through another door, the one that keeps wafting incredible smells every time it swings open.  I am shooed out as soon as I manage to sneak in. Secret Italian women’s business in progress.

The  third and most fascinating of the kitchens is under the house, a tiny dark room with a huge pot hanging on a tripod 0ver an open fire. This is the kitchen presided over by the Nona, all in black and tiny she has something mysterious bubbling away in there.

The other thing that I will never forget about this Italian Feast is the table, it was a table which just kept extending. It ended up seating thirty people. Each time they folded out a new section we all got the giggles. Carina thought it was magic.

Even though I didn’t understand a word the entire evening it was one of the best meals of my life. Everything including the meat was home grown. I’ve never tasted anything like it, a simple meal of many courses but the most incredible flavor.  The food just kept coming along with the vino, kisses for the children, laughter, and a family just shining with love.

An Italian Feast I aspire to one day creating….

ciao and buon appetito…