Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pots and pans

It would be dishonest of me not to admit that, towards the end of winter at Gamone, a certain number of innocent pots and pans tend to pass the final weeks in a state of grubby purgatory, like neglected orphans, awaiting the return of sunny conditions, when the master of the household might at last deign to clean them up and store them away.

For reasons that might have something to do with my childhood out in Australia, I'm particularly fond of being able to leave stuff out in the sun to dry : freshly-washed clothes, above all, and pots and pans. I also get a kick out of sun-drying edible products such as bay leaves and green walnuts (after they've been soaked in brine, with pickling in view).

On the other hand, I've always known that it's not a good idea to envisage leaving myself out in the strong sun for hours on end. I neither bake golden brown nor even dry out. I simply get sunburned. My dear mother would have been enchanted if her son could have been transformed by the rays of the sun into the lovely look of a bronzed Aussie surfer. On one sad occasion, when I was a child, my mother's encouragements at this level led to my ending up in hospital with third-degree burns. She herself belonged to a Down Under generation who apparently admired people with dark brown leathery skins, inevitably crisscrossed by ridges and wrinkles. Maybe my own lifelong fascination for fair girls with a light-olive facial complexion and soft milky skin might be a reaction against my mother's esthetic tastes. In any case, I'm convinced that my personal dermato-genetic inheritance is strictly Scandinavian, probably brought down to Normandy by a fierce red-faced Viking warrior adorned in a broad-rimmed hat, with yucky reindeer fat smeared across his tender nose.

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