….but a sure remedy for coronavirus ansia (anxiety) is to drop in for lunch at Peppa’s.
She’ll greet you warmly with a beaming smile and probably an apology, “Scusa, ma non ho molto pronto per pranzo oggi” (“Sorry but I don’t have much for lunch today”).
When we were there recently for lunch, that was her apology to Pino as she indicated the pasta pot of boiling water on the gas stove in her kitchen.
And then she drained the pasta, the start of a usual “Peppa feast”:
A tempting pasta sauce – made with Peppa’s tomatoes and bits of sausage, chicken – was simmering on an adjacent burner:
Peppa was all bundled up, for there’s no heat in her house except for the eating area where a wood stove chugs in the corner near the tablecloth-covered dining table.
Steam wafted up from the spaghetti as Peppa dished up our portions deftly, using just a pair of forks……
She’d already sprinkled a generous amount of freshly-grated parmigiano on the pasta:
… and then decided we each needed a bit more:
While the pasta was boiling on the kitchen stove, Peppa had sent Pino off to the dining room wood stove to check the bread she’d been toasting for bruschetta. (Sautéed turnip greens and potatoes were on the woodstove, too, warming over a pot of hot water):
Pino rubbed each toasted bread slice with a garlic clove….
…..and sprinkled salt on each:
He then drizzled the slices with Peppa’s olive oil (pressed just two months prior):
Not all of Peppa’s olives had been pressed for oil at the local mill: she’d set aside a couple kilos to season with bits of orange peel, diced garlic and wild fennel seeds after curing them for a couple weeks in a salt brine.
A bowl of olives sat on the table next to the olive oil flask – buonissime:
We chatted over our pasta….
…..and Peppa reminded me to fare la scarpetta (“make the little slipper”) – soaking up the last of the pasta sauce with bread – so that my plate would be cleaned for the sautéed turnip greens:
Peppa meticulously cleaned her own sauce with bread, swooping artfully around her last forkful of pasta sauce meats – a true “fare-la-scarpetta” expert:
As we enjoyed those turnip greens from her garden, Peppa asked us questions about coronavirus, expressing her own concerns:
From evening news, Peppa’s well aware of precautions to take and is grateful she’s living in the Umbria hills, with less chance of contagion (hopefully).
Her immediate concern? She asked us as she served us her torta, the Umbrian flatbread, “Per poter fare sempre la scorta, dovrei fare una scorta di farina?” (“So that I can always make torta, should I stock up on flour?”
We assured her that there’s no quarantine in Umbria and our alimentari (grocery stores) are well-stocked.
May life go on tranquilly in our Umbria, “Italy’s green heart.”
…..and mille grazie for Peppa, our “coronavirus-anxiety antidote.”
Read many more notes here about Peppa and all our wonderful rural neighbors