Keeping the Feast: One Couple's Story of Love, Food, and Healing in Italy

By Paula Butturini

a narrative of foodstuff and love, harm and therapeutic, Keeping the Feast is the victorious memoir of 1 couple's nourishment and recovery in Italy after a interval of tragedy, and the intense maintaining powers of meals, kin, and friendship.

Paula and John met in Italy, fell in love, and 4 years later, married in Rome. yet below a month after the marriage, tragedy struck. they'd transferred from their Italian paradise to Warsaw and whereas reporting on an rebellion in Romania, John was once shot and approximately killed by means of sniper hearth. even if he recovered from his actual wounds in below a yr, the method of therapeutic had simply started. not able to regain his equilibrium, he sank right into a deep disappointment that reverberated all through their dating. It used to be the abrupt finish of what they might recognized jointly, and the start of a brand new part of existence neither had deliberate for. instantly, Paula was once compelled to reexamine her marriage, her husband, and herself.

Paula started to think again all of her past assumptions approximately therapeutic. She stumbled on that typically endurance could be a vice, anger a advantage. that typically it will be significant to make calls for of the ailing, that they convey symptoms of having larger. and she or he rediscovered the significance of the main primary of human rituals: the day-by-day sharing of meals round the relatives table.

A common tale of desire and therapeutic, Keeping the Feast is an account of 1 couple's overcome tragedy and disorder, and a party of the straightforward rituals of lifestyles, even throughout the worst existence crises. superbly written and enormously relocating, Paula's tale is a testomony to the intense maintaining powers of meals and love, and to the obdurate trust that there's constantly an in a while, there's continuously desire.

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My mom and aunt by no means understood their father’s final giant wool-eee, an outdated man’s try to revisit the early life he had close off, the secrets and techniques and shames of his family’s difficult lifestyles on either side of the Atlantic. My mother’s kinfolk by no means referred to those secrets and techniques overtly, yet as an alternative permit slip whispers: how Tony’s mammoth brother, Pete, had misplaced so much of his feet to burns as he slept close to a campfire whereas tending the family’s tiny flock one bitterly chilly evening; how their mom died younger, almost immediately when they emigrated; how their new stepmother fed them basically what used to be left after her personal youngsters had eaten; how my grandmother Jennie’s good-hearted cousins, the Romanos, used to slide the brothers nutrition from their tiny grocery, essentially protecting them alive. I’ve regularly questioned how a lot of a job gratitude performed in Tony’s selection to invite my grandmother to marry him, whilst she was once basically fifteen; I’ll regularly ask yourself what provoked Tony’s personal descent into melancholy whilst he used to be already the daddy of 2. All that has filtered down during the family’s internet of secrets and techniques was once that he used to be not able to paintings for a few years, and that my grandmother, Jennie, took a manufacturing facility task to maintain the kin solvent. the one friendly reminiscence of Italy that Tony handed right down to us got here while he was once in his nineties. It was once, of all issues, the reminiscence of the pears of his early life. I by no means concept to invite him if the pears he remembered got here from his family’s personal tree or from a few filthy rich landowner’s close by orchard. For all i do know, Tony’s reminiscence of huge Italian pears can have come from a glimpse of a fruit seller because the kin handed a Neapolitan highway industry en path to the harbor from which their boat would go away for l’America. For no matter what cause, Tony’s reminiscence of pears—“This great! ” he may say, gesturing along with his palms whenever he spoke approximately them—struck a chord deep inside of me. until eventually I moved to Italy, i thought he used to be dreaming an outdated man’s dream whilst he referred to these pears, that no pears on the earth may perhaps ever be as substantial or juicy or richly flavored because the pears of his reminiscence. i used to be thirty-two while I first moved to Rome, and Tony, who outlived my grandmother via 3 days wanting a yr, have been useless for only a few months. It used to be early August whilst I moved, and the 1st culmination of that season’s pear harvest have been simply entering the city’s string of local outdoors markets whilst I arrived. I hadn’t thought of Tony’s legendary pears for a long time, until eventually early one morning, at my tiny open air marketplace close to the Trevi Fountain, I stumbled throughout a wood flat of pears so huge, immense, so completely greeny gold, that i'll by surprise see Tony’s plump, white arms relocating in my brain, pay attention his light voice announcing, once more, “This titanic! ” i purchased a half-dozen of them, as though to verify my grandfather’s reminiscence. I climbed the 5 flights of steep stairs to my tiny flat, then selected the most important and ripest of the lot and put it on considered one of my landlady’s small white salad plates. I grabbed a small, sharp fruit knife and walked out to my again terrace, which ignored a unmarried, tall palm tree sheltered amid a warren of ochre-colored partitions.

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