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A Thousand Days in Tuscany: A Bittersweet Adventure Paperback – September 27, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
From its opening scene of an impromptu alfresco village feast of fried zucchini blossoms, fennel-roasted pork, and pudding made from the cream of a local blue-eyed cow, this memoir of the seasons in a small Tuscan village is rich with food, weather, romance and, above all, life. De Blasi continues the adventures begun in her A Thousand Days in Venice, as she and her husband, Fernando, leave Venice for Tuscany in search of "a place that still remembers real life... sweet and salty... each side of life dignifying the other." Fortunately, the two are adopted by Barlozzo, an elderly local eager to share his knowledge of the old ways. He introduces them to the local customs: grape harvesting, truffle hunting, bread baking, etc. Although the book teems with food references, including recipes for intriguing traditional dishes, de Blasi is more than a sunny regional food writer—she digs into the meaning of life. As she fights Fernando's periodic depressions and brings him back to joy, gains Barlozzo's trust and love, learns his troubling lifelong secrets and comes to terms with the death of a beloved friend, she immerses her readers in life's poignancy, brevity and wonder.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Readers who enjoyed de Blasi's earlier work, A Thousand Days in Venice (2002), may be startled that the author has moved from Venice to Tuscany. Still much in love with the man for whom she left everything, de Blasi embarks on an idyllic, if hardworking, Tuscan life. The couple purchases an old farmhouse and is chagrined that it's not conveyed in the condition promised. Their neighbors welcome them to the community with a groaning board featuring all manner of Tuscan foods and capped off with a dessert that only hours earlier had been milked from a "blue-eyed" cow. As in her earlier work, most chapters close with recipes, ranging in complexity from braised pork stew that serves as both a pasta sauce and an entree to simple bruschetta, toasted bread topped with local olive oil. Thanks to de Blasi's style of rendering conversations first in Italian, then English, a careful reader can quickly pick up some useful conversational Italian. Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The bittersweet part comes through Fernando's flair for Italian operatic drama, questioning their decision to leave Venice. Barlozzo has secrets that eat at his heart, finally revealed through the terminal illness of his long-time beloved who had married another. There is yearning for times past that can only be tasted briefly, yet the flavor of village life fills and satisfies them. Cooking and eating are the heart of Tuscany, and this book brings an intense, colorful experience with mouth-watering recipes.
Delightful, reflective, philosophical, and charming story based on the authors' life.
read the book very slowly -- a chapter or so at night before I went to sleep so that I would have lovely (refreshed by the book) memories to put
me to sleep. I had also read A Thousand Days in Venice as well as I also spent a great deal of time in Venice while living in Italy. Thank you,
Ms. deBlasi for reviving many lovely memories. When you have been able to make life long friends in Italy they remain just that - life long friends! Your descriptions of living in Italy are just the best - both of the landscape and of the people. I hope you write more books based on your life in Italy.
There are familiar elements to this story of an American (or British writer) succumbing to the charms of Italy (or France), relocating, and then coping with the quirks and frustrations of settling into a new culture. But author Marlena de Blasi describes her transformation so well and she presents her new community with such passion, that readers are easily enchanted. Her focus on rustic Italian cooking, the feasts at which her new friends gathered, and the recipes is a special treat.
Michael Helquist, MARIE EQUI: Radical Politics and Outlaw Passions