Friday, December 14, 2007


My cousin left on the 1 pm Catania coach today and I was so sad as we waved goodbye. I am a sentimental soul really and hate goodbyes of any sort as I have had too many of them in my life . Cousin and I have never been close but he was kind to me when I was a student, even paying for my first trip to Paris and he is one of only three people in the world with whom I can reminisce about my Dad [the other two being an elderly second cousin in Swansea and a first cousin in New Zealand]. While he was here there was something so comfortingly familiar about some of his gestures and mannerisms, reminding me a little of my Dad but mostly of my Great Aunt Mabel who lived with us and was a big part of all our lives, with the result that I couldn't quite work out how I felt - and still can't. Simi took to him immediately and I realised how much of my Dad there is in cousin when he greeted and petted her just as Dad would have done. Cousin is 17 years older than me and, as I hadn't seen him since 1992, I wondered, as I left him at that bus stop, if we shall ever see each other again.

Enough melancholy! During cousin's visit I managed to get him into the seasonal griddled panettone with cotognata for breakfast habit - he didn't take much corrupting - one which I think he will import into Oz, and "forced" him into having an aperitivo before 11 am yesterday morning. The manager of the Altro Posto couldn't have made more of a fuss of us and I was just wondering why they were being so slow in serving the g & ts when I saw them place a tray of antipasti on the counter hotplate: they'd been waiting for these complimentary "bites" to be ready. Just as we were about to leave they said, "Oh, no, you can't, for our mini- pizze have just come out of the oven" and so we were "persuaded" to try some of these, too.

Of course, I had to introduce cousin to the most important [Sicilian] man in my life, Raffaele the hairdresser and we were made a great fuss of there, too. We had to have coffee, and, busy though the salon was, Raff found time to admire cousin's family photos and cousin his. Thus are bonds between nations formed. Linda was in Raffaele's so we were invited to afternoon tea with her and Gino - a bit of a rushed one as I had to be in work for 6pm - and we feasted upon Linda's almond biscuits, more cotognata and Gino's freshly picked mandarin oranges.

Above you can see some images of the feast we had at Marco and Giovanna's on Wednesday: pork in aspic [meats in aspic are very popular as antipasti here and can be bought], a tray of focacce, Giovanna's fruit salad, a tray of bought dolci I took along as I had no time to make a dessert and Giovanna's cobaita [a very hard version of torrone made at Xmas and containing sesame seeds, which were introduced into Sicily by the Arabs]. Yesterday at lunchtime I fed cousin my pineapple and rocket salad, chicken bocconcini [without the blanched chive "ribbons" with which I usually adorn them as no chives were available, which was probably just as well considering that the things take about 3 hours to assemble when I use these!] two kinds of olives and my "Prague casserole" with herb-roasted potatoes. I'd offered to take cousin out to lunch but he prefers home cooking and this lot is what he got! - Fruit and liqueurs for dessert.

A plea and a promise: Please, please, does anyone out there know how to fix the blog header? Normal blog visiting will resume tomorrow.


jmb said...

Those Italians think that food is the most important thing in the world.

When staying with the consuoceri I find that we are no sooner done with one meal than discussion of what we are having for the next one takes place.

They certainly have to pay much more for food too, well except the veg and fruit which are usually local.

I'm glad that the visit went well. If was accepted by Miss Simi, he has to be a good fellow.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

You're right, jmb and I have conversations like that here. I don't find food that much more expensive. Definitely an OK fellow if Simi takes to him!

Eurodog said...

Oops for the header.
Something must have happened. If you go into lay-out in the blogger menu and then into header, you should see what's there. Then take it from there.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi WL so pleased you had a great time with your cousin...

I am having the same problem with my blog header..haven't fixed it yet :-(

Sally said...

I am so glad you had a happy visit with your cousin - he certainly had a true 'taste of Sicily' - in more ways than one! It must have been a huge pleasure to produce a family member for all your Sicilian friends to meet and of course Simi was a smash hit - that girl has taste. Have a lovely weekend and put your feet up after this hectic week.

Ellee Seymour said...

What a feast, your cousin must have put on at least half a stone.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, eurodog. It's blogger mucking about, apparently. Why can't they just leave well alone? Hi, Anne. This is affecting a lot of people now, according to the Help groups.
Thanks, Sally. I think the Sicilians were all fascinated with him and Simi was delighted to at last have a visitor who didn't mind having his face and hair washed by her! Hi, Ellee. I think he did!

marymaryquitecontrary said...

It is nice that you were able to spend some time with a cousin whom you do not see very often. Blood is thicker that water I always say. Family is important.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, MM. Yes, it was nice. I'm not altogether sure, as I was an adopted child, about blood being thicker than water. I may post on this some day. But certainly seeing someone familiar from my childhood again meant a lot.


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