Even though I have lived in the United States for many years, old memories-ricordi come to mind often for a lot of different reasons. One memory that comes back nearly every day is the simple but tasty food of Ciociaria.
At times I close my eyes and a picture of this pastry shop near the high school I attended pops up with memories of rushing out of school to buy a pastry before they closed for the mid-day pranzo (lunch). I can still smell the sweet fragrance of freshly baked goods that still make anyone salivate even on a full stomach.
In the spring time the vegetable garden bloomed with different kinds of vegetables, beginning with potatoes planted sometime in February. Our vegetable garden was in a large area, in the midst of everyone else's garden in town.
About a mile up the hill there is a wonderful natural spring that used to be the only water source for the whole area. As a result of this spring, a creek runs in the midst of the vegetable gardens with ditches built by the people to deviate some of the water. In the old times everyone inherited a small piece of land in that area because this was the only place where they could irrigate their vegetables when no other irrigation was available.
As a result the whole area used to look spectacular. Everywhere you looked there were so many different varieties of the vegetable plants all spring and summer long; the vegetables produced, in so many different sizes, shapes, colors, and the fragrances from the different spices.....MMMMMM.
Gli Orti Pirella was a very popular place most afternoons. You could always count on having plenty of company when you went to work there. People, mostly related, would catch up on just about everything, tell jokes or funny stories, and -- of course -- gossip!
Italians are notorious for gossip, and in small towns people are so much more prone to it because everyone knows everyone else.