An Italian Experience : Back home – The UK - A family matter

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Italian Experience

What Italian products to choose?

Right – final check through on Things to Do List – passports, clothes, money, all done – Oh crikey! Just realized that I forgot to pack my Italian goodies, so went back into the kitchen and retrieved a couple of packets of Carla Latini 600.27 pasta, penne and spaghetti should do the trick, and four jars of Cucina d’Autore pasta sauces.
So many to choose from , finally decided on All’arrabbiata, spicy and robust, then all’amatriciana, fragrant and tasty, Salento cherry tomatoes, a classic, and lastly a more sophisticated, ham and mushrooms sauce. (unbelievable to see how many varieties there are to choose from). Packed last items into suitcases and ready to leave.

Heading to London

We arrived at Pesaro railway station and headed for Marconi Airport, Bologna. And after our Easy Jet flight  safely landed at Gatwick Airport. (Afterthought! If the company’s good enough for Prime Minister David Cameron, it’s good enough for us, too!) So Francy and I made our way to London and stayed  in Bethnal Green for a couple of days, enjoying the chatter, confusion and excitement at  nearby Brick Lane market, Camden Town, Buckingham Palace and other tourist attractions, too, buying the odd souvenir here and there, with a couple of photos, too.

Seeing that it was Bank Holiday in England many road and railway services were disrupted, so traveling wasn’t as easy as I thought. After checking-out of our hotel took the tube and headed towards Stanmore Underground Station, where we  arranged to be  picked up by Robert, my sister-in-law’s brother. Only seemed like yesterday since we last met, yet a couple of years have already passed. On leaving London cruising up the M1 chatting and listening to Northern Soul music on the cd, with such a feeling of freedom and happiness to be back in my home country. We later turned off onto the M6 and made our way towards Birmingham, passing the ring-road and heading towards Gnosall (Stafford). 

Finally made our destination turning into the driveway and entered my brother’s home where Francy and I were welcomed by Lynn, (sister-in-law), holding her youngest grand-daughter Ella in her arms, and her elder sister beside her, my niece Sarah, and husband John. Nice to see familiar faces again. Then about an hour later my brother Adrian came in from work and we were all very happy to meet up again after so long.

Don't mess with the spaghetti !

Decided to unpack, and handed over some presents to my great-nieces, and gave my Italian delicacies to my brother, who was pleased and said would come in handy for Easter Sunday. Talked about Notonlyspaghetti emphasizing the quality, and originality of all organic products with no preservatives added. A good topic especially when it starts with “F” as in food. Furthermore Italian products are now very popular in the UK. 

Later in the afternoon Francy and I made tracks towards my home town, Stoke-on-Trent and  met up with  Julie, an old schoolfriend and her husband Tom who welcomed us and had lunch at their house. Guess what was on the menu – SPAGHETTI!
My friend wanted to explore the unknown technique of her so called Italian culinary skills. I offered to help, but no way, she decided to do it alone. 

First of all she put half a saucepan of water onto the cooker hob, didn’t bother to wait for the water to boil, then threw in some local supermarket brand spaghetti, forgot to salt the water, later added it after the pasta was already boiling, then realized that there wasn’t enough water to cook it in.
So what did she do? Obvious, she decided to add a couple of cups of tap water to the saucepan, and gave the spaghetti a stir. And with a smile saying “If you can cook pasta in Italy, I can do the same here in the Potteries”. One thing though, she forgot to set the timer!!!! Well, we all know how long spaghetti takes to cook, believe me after 15 minutes, the rest is left to your imagination.

She drained the spaghetti into a colander  got out a pan, took some “tomato sauce” out of the fridge and poured into the pan, added the overcooked spaghetti and served our lunch!  We were also asked if we wanted to top our dish with ketchup! I declined, saying it was just fine as it was., and sat down to eat my Italian delight!  (what a good way to kill off a classical art- I don’t think they really know how to cook and prepare this dish, it’s sort of anything goes attitude.) We said our farewells then left, and returned to Gnosall.

After many cups of tea and cake the days passed and Easter Sunday finally came. The family was complete, sounds of laughter, games and food. We had a buffet lunch. Turkey, roast beef, stuffing, salad, Carla Latini pasta - penne and Cucina d’autore sauces. A mix of both cultures, both English and Italian. Everyone was happy to taste everything, and appreciated Italian food so much - a family matter indeed.

We then finished with pudding, indulging into a variety of home made ones, from chocolate cake, cheesecake, meringues, and trifle.

By late afternoon we packed our suitcases again and said our goodbyes then headed towards Stafford railway station – destination Gatwick Airport. The following day flew out back to Bologna, (even if our flight was delayed by an hour due to Storm Katie) and finally arrived back in Pesaro. Obviously happy to be back in Italy, with many memories and a mix of both cultures. So keen on the idea of going back that I didn’t even bother to exchange my pounds back into euros.- just goes to show, once a potters always a potters!

By Adriana Tenan

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