One couple's story of Love, Food and HEALING
by PAULA BUTTURINI
I randomly came across this book on the biography section in my favorite bookstore. I didn't hesitate to buy it as soon as I read ROME and FOOD... What can be more appealing than Italy, Dining and Love?!
Keeping the Feast is a remarkable story of a woman, who passionately fights against all the overwhelming odds in her life in order to save her love, marriage... and life itself. The memoir is a profound celebration of dailiness of life, of all the simple things that we do every day and especially preparing that simple good food which "sustains not only bodies but souls as well."
As Paula Butturini states in the prologue "like memory itself", this book wanders back and forth between old recollections and new. "Food is the thread that connects them, for food has always been my lens and prism, my eye on the world. I may write about the smell of asparagus, the color of polenta, or the taste of figs still warm from the sun, but all of it is a personal shorthand for weighing hunger and love, health and nourishment, secrets and revelations, illness and survival, comfort and celebration, and perhaps above all, the joy and gift of being alive."
Paula was a foreign corespondent when she met John, also a corespondent, in Rome. Twenty-three days after their wedding John was shot and nearly killed, covering the Romanian uprising against Nicolae Ceausescu. Their life changed forever. Even though John recovered from his big deep physical injuries, he suffered from depression.
The couple decided to return to the place they had fallen in love, hoping that Rome's beauty, bounty and happy memories will heal them both. The kitchen become Paula's therapist, food-their only source of comfort. "Not fancy food or chichi restaurants, not the latest food fads or expensive ingredients; Just the magic of HONEST food-fresh and wholesome-simply prepared and eaten together three times a day, from ingredients that Italians have largely been eating for millennia..."
Upon reflection of her childhood Paula Butturini realizes that the best times in her life are the times she shares food with loved ones, her father and mother (her mother lost her battle with depression as well), her grandparents and extended family, John's children and her friends.
Don't we all often overlook these special times as being ordinary ?!
Whether she writes about ASPARAGUS
or the actual PIZZA, a flat, round pie, slathered in tomato and cheese
or the polenta that her father cooked
or strawberries - the smaller, the better - sliced over a mound of fresh ricotta,
Butturini writes with such incredible care and love and tenderness. She proves that food evokes memories...
"All of us cook, I think, in part to feed our daily hunger, but just as important, and perhaps more so, we cook and eat to feed our spirits, to keep us all in the same orbit of life. As the generations turns, as our family expands, the table and its simple pleasures-never just the food, but the food and the talk, the food and the laughter, the food and the tears, the jokes, the memories, the hope-still hold us in place, well anchored in a safe harbor..."
As difficult as the subject of depression is, he book reads easily. I only missed dialogs and John being presented in more depth. The pain of the author was sensible, but I lacked the worthy description of her spirit. I mostly like the gentle way of Paula Butturini showing that daily routines can be comforting and healing and eating meal should be a celebration of life itself.
Reading the book brought back a whole host of vivid memories of the time I spent in Italy, enjoying everything there!
|Paula Butturini 's spaghetti with clams|
Keep the feast that we are meant to keep , the feast that is our life !
Thank you for the visit, dear friend !
An Edible Review inspired by Jain at Food for Thought