Wednesday, April 23, 2014


The subject of this post is not the second in line to the British throne but a much older Will, the bard of Stratford-upon-Avon, whose 450th birthday - or the generally accepted date of it - is being celebrated today.

Yesterday evening a friend who also comes from Stratford-upon-Avon gave a little party in the poet's honour, and tiramisù alle fragole, made to Matthew Fort's recipe which I've mentioned before, was my attempt at a themed dish:

As I tend to do everything arse-backwards, I'd decided on the quote I wanted to use first, and then tried to think of a dish. The quote, in case you cannot see it clearly, is,

"The strawberry grows underneath the nettle"
- Henry V

The "leaves" at the top were my best effort at making pasta di zucchero nettles and, by the time I came to the second one, I decided to leave out the fancy work on the edges. Most of the strawberries, of course, were underneath the mascarpone!

At the party the place settings were decorated with rosemary "for remembrance":

These were just some of the lovely treats:  Ah, sausage rolls!

 Another friend had brought hot cross buns all the way from the UK!

As you see, there was quite a mix of traditions

and in Sicily, in spring, there had to be ice cream!

My friend also provided what, as a teacher, I would call some "realia":

Then there were some readings from Shakespeare's works. [I read Sonnet XXIX, for  my Dad, who died 41 years ago this Easter.] Three friends made rather fabulous witches, I must say!  Finally, I lowered the tone by reading a little ditty I had composed: 

Will Day

Will Shakespeare, yours was quite a muse
from errors down in Syracuse
to propaganda for Queen Bess –
- your plays were thirty-eight, no less.
Poor Hamlet – what a tortured bloke,
for him existence was no joke.
He could have saved some brouhaha
if he’d just said, “Siamo qua.”
But let us find a cheerful fellow,
Macbeth won’t do, nor will Othello.
Bottom, Touchstone, Mistress Quickly
meddled in the plot quite thickly.
Down the ages comes their laughter,
hope it reaches the hereafter.
If it’s true what some folk say,
you never loved Anne Hathaway,
the sonnet lady was a lad,
we don’t care ‘cos your rhymes weren’t bad.
They claim that Bacon wrote the plays –
- one must admit, he turned a phrase,
but not like you, dear Stratford bard,
held for centuries in regard.
We celebrate your birth this eve
and some among us really believe
that though the thing is still the play,
you were Sicilian, anyway.

© Pat Eggleton, 2014


"Siamo qua" = "We are here" - a common Sicilian saying. It took me some time to realise that it is not an acceptance of physical location, but a reference to the fact that we are still alive and should be grateful!

The idea that Shakespeare was Sicilian is taken quite seriously here and books have been written about it.


Whispering Walls said...

Love your poem (and Henry V)...once more unto the breach...

Claude said...

Actually I learned English to be able to read Hamlet in the original language. It was so horrible to study Shakespeare's works in French when I was in College.

I moved to English Canada in my 20s and plunged into full immersion. But it did take a few years before I could fully understand the Bard.

Love your great sonnet....and the food.

Lee said...

A hearty feast fit for Will and those present to feast upon it! :)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thank you, WW. That's interesting, Claude. Thank you. Glad you think so, Lee!

James Higham said...

Those just look so delish.

Trubes said...

Your sonnet was great Pat, I bet The Bard would have laughed at that.
You are such a talented lady.
The food looked good too,
love Di xx

P.S. As I've joined ABCWednesday I am writing on my blog at least regularly,just a little hint for you to pop over .
love to Simi from me and Chloe xx

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, James and Trubes. Love from Simi and me to you and Chloe, Trubes.xx


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