Saturday, December 26, 2009

la mamma leaves 30/08/09

This afternoon we said goodbye to the mamma (mia suocera), each of us sweating in the heat, the baby sweating in his nappy. My sister-in-law had the four year old by the hand, bags all packed, car stacked up for the migration to the north where she has found a teaching job. Emotional moment. Get a cook, said la mamma. Because those two chancers in the kitchen are going to try it on now. They know you need someone and will ask for more money. My younger sister-in-law (mia cognata) heard them saying this as she was going down to the kitchen yesterday; they were complaining about how they would have to come in earlier the next day and so would they get paid more. Well, if you want to get paid less for the days you show up at 6pm! Last night we opened a bottle of prosecco and got an icecream cake in her honour and there they all were, our Fawlty Towers crew, drinking to her health, the kitchen thinking how to turn to their advantage the new state of affairs and my husband and I wondering how we will manage without her.

The aiuto cuoco got the crema catalana completely wrong - he electric-whisked it. It’s a custard, a crema pasticciera - who ever heard of whisking custard? He doesn’t worry too much if he messes things up, as the mamma said. She said at least the previous aiuto cuoco, if you checked him on something, tried to do it better and showed up on time to get the work done and didn’t grumble. He had that sense of responsibility but she said neither the cuoca nor the new aiuto cuoco have it, they don’t care. They want to get away with doing as little as possible. Why is there such a shortage? It appears to be impossible to find good reliable cooks here.

A new film is coming out by Salvatore Tornatore, called ‘Baaria’, about Bagheria, the area of Palermo where he grew up. I read in an interview he said that every time he comes back to Sicily he sees the contradictions and frustrations, la rabbia (the anger) and the impotenza, ahhhh what an awful collection of things! He loves Sicily but has to be far from it to express it in his work.

We understand, said mio marito.

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