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  • Writer's pictureGina Ferrari

Art in Many Guises

I love this quote from Helena Bonham Carter, because it describes how I feel about art. For me art is not only about the paintings that I make it's about how I live my life and all the other creative things that I love to do. And that includes sewing, baking, reading, knitting etc. Which is one of the reasons I moved to Substack to write more freely about whatever has caught my interest in a particular week. This week I wrote about mostly about books and food and you can get a taste of it in the following:

I cannot ever imagine a home without books or a life without reading and have been a voracious reader for as long as I can remember. I have no recollection of learning to read but only that it was a treat to spend my pocket money on choosing a new book after school on a Friday afternoon. Or spending summer holidays browsing the shelves of the library. Not especially discerning, I would read anything I could get my hands on and still do. Whether it’s biographies, mysteries, self-improvement, or a good meaty novel I devour them all, but none more so than a good food memoir. I love stories of people’s lives told through food. The first one I read was probably ‘Toast’ by Nigel Slater which is a biography of his childhood in the 1960s remembered through food ranging from ghastly gristly stews to Arctic Roll. Does anyone else remember those? I think we considered them the height of sophistication when we were children.

I am lucky enough to belong to a fabulous reading group in our village. Book titles are suggested by all members and an eclectic mix is chosen for the year, one a month except for December when we replace our usual get together with a party. We meet every month in a village pub and usually start with a quick quiz or game loosely related to the month’s book. This is followed by a discussion of the chosen book based on questions provided by one of the members. This month was my book choice and I picked “Taste: My life through Food” by Stanley Tucci, a charming and intimate memoir centred around the sharing of food and Italian hospitality.

We decided that as we would be reading and reviewing a food memoir, and in particular an Italian food memoir, rather than meet in the pub we would get together in Annie’s home and together we would provide our reading group members with Italian food and drink. With her usual flair Annie set the table according to the theme with a beautiful cloth decorated with lemons and bowls of citrus fruits. Sadly, genuine Amalfi lemons were not available in the shires, but this did not detract from what was a fabulous evening.

Three Lemons, acrylic and mixed media - my version of Amalfi Lemons available to purchase

We ate wonderful garlicky bruschetta, Italian cheese and meats followed by a selection of sweet treats. We had an Italian food quiz and played some silly games that had us all in hysterics. We were also treated to some wonderful food related stories of growing up in an Italian household from Annie’s Italian daughter-in-law. I even managed to practise some of my very inadequate Italian.

The book is an easy read and Stanley Tucci comes across as likeable and humorous and on reading it we all agreed that it makes you want to cook, or perhaps more importantly eat, Italian food. I can recommend it.

If you would like to read the full version of my post, together with a little more Stanley Tucci and my recipe for Riccierelli then head over to my Substack to read the whole post.


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