by Lily Prior
paperback, 267 pages
After watching the movie "Like Water for Chocolate" and reading the book, I wanted to collect more books like that. The movie "Chocolat" was one. And the Spanish film "Jamon, Jamon" another. And indeed, I've yet to finish reading "A Year in Provence," before I stumbled upon a paperback in a charity shop by the name of "La Cucina."
The cover was inviting --- a woman's naked back against three mouthwatering slices of cantaloupe. It was English author Lily Prior's first novel.
Set in Sicily, it's written from the point of view of the heroine Rosa Fiore who was borne like the heroine of "Like Water for Chocolate" in the kitchen. It's a tale of passion, food, love, and Sicily --- a place I've yet to visit but already embraced almost two years ago with a Sicilienne Christmas.
Reading this easy-to-read paperback over the course of almost a week (in the toilet and on the train) centred my life around the new kitchen. I, too, was cooking up a feast everyday.
Rosa cooked to calm her nerves. She cooked to release her passion, to dwell in her sadness, and she ate what she cooked to complete the ritual.
If you have no passion for food, love, or sex, then this is not the book for you. While the author may be somewhat more analytical than the typical Italian, or so says my friend who has studied there, but I'm sure the non-Sicilians will appreciate her vivid description of the way food is prepared there.
I, for one, am convinced that Sicily is due a visit some day soon!
9 September 2003 Tuesday