Friday, March 29, 2013

SOLC 2013 Day 29: The taste that takes you back

It's dangerous to go grocery shopping on a half-empty stomach.  But these days, it's considered a date for this old married couple we've become.  So off we went to buy food for the holiday weekend.

Halfway through the store, in the aisle with the salad dressings and ketchup, he reminds me that I wanted olives.  I get a jar, and my eyes wander over its neighboring products on the shelves.  There's another jar that catches my eye, full of cauliflower and carrots and red pepper pieces and celery.  Taking a glance at the label--some Italian surname--and reminding myself that I need to slip more veggies into my diet, I place it in the basket.

Fast forward through unloading groceries, making a flower arrangement, reading a bit, taking a nap, waking up to a phone call from my daughter, and then getting the munchies.  The veggies!  I spoon some out for a few bites...

...and realize that this is antipasti.  The antipasti from my childhood, and I'm sitting in a pizzeria off of the Via Domitiana, near the Lago d'Averno.  I'm listening to the grownups laugh and talk as I nibble at the vegetables and ignore the odd-looking meats and cheeses, waiting for my pizza margherita to arrive.  After dinner, if the grownups aren't too tired, I'll be allowed cappuccino served in a tiny white cup on a saucer.

Funny how a jar of pickled vegetables from an HEB in Austin, Texas can send me back to Naples, Italy--no airfare or time machine required.

My grandfather took this picture of my grandmother and our family in front of our house  in Naples, Italy, 1975.


  1. HOw wonderful to have those memories stirred. I would LOVE to spend a month in Italy. Our visit was to short.

    1. It was the first place I remember being homesick for, when my father was transferred. I spent second, third, and fourth grade there...lovely memories, to be sure!