The chocolate question

The chocolate question

A boy is presented with a new aspect of chocolate when he meets a rare species: a child who may at some point have been permitted to eat as much of it as they wanted.  He is duly impressed. “It’s got every sort of chocolate you can think of,” I went on: “soft...
My kind of market (II)

My kind of market (II)

If you follow this website, you will know I’m partial to cornucopian markets bursting with fine foods and other delights.  Here’s a new description to whet the appetite for such magical human hubs. The Abkhazian bazaar!  Those smells, the sounds … It...
How to extend your lifespan

How to extend your lifespan

A Russian woman who lived in Abkhazia describes a local custom we might all like to adopt.  As a means to extend your lifespan, I can’t think of anything more delightful. According to Abkhazian custom, the time you spend with guests around the table...
Afternoon tea (I)

Afternoon tea (I)

Must be the Brit in me, but I love detailed descriptions of sumptuous teas and picnics, although I have failed to win my Italian husband over to either concept.  So abject has my failure been that when I once mentioned a picnic, he innocently asked, ‘But why do...
First taste of freedom

First taste of freedom

Freed from labour camp in September 1953, following the demise of Stalin, the few survivors still standing left the camp and headed for the nearby village, where they were given a simple, spontaneous and sensitive welcome.As I was thinking this a girl between eight...
Paying the bill

Paying the bill

A charming admission of costs incurred by a character who appears in György Faludy’s memoir of life in Communist Hungary.  This outrageously sumptuous evening takes place in pre-communist days, during Faludy’s childhood.  A larger than life person, this...
The history of human folly

The history of human folly

A wonderful statement, not to mention breakfast.  First, the decadent breakfast, and then the inspired allocation of truffles to the world history of folly, and that delightful conflation of folly with art.  The truffles must have gone to his head.  Good for him. ...
Ode to an orange

Ode to an orange

Elizabeth Bowen’s mouth-watering description of eating a Sicilian orange in Rome deserves a place at the Nuannaarpoq table.  And I read it a few weeks after moving to Italy and beginning to find red, sweet oranges of a quality I’ve rarely encountered...
My kind of market

My kind of market

You may have noticed that I love basket-bursting, banquet-spread descriptions of food.  However, while meals can be sumptuously presented, market stalls collapsing under the weight of their rampant verdure are harder to find.  So, imagine the joy of walking around...
Simple pleasures for ever

Simple pleasures for ever

It is unbelievable how good bread and cheese can taste, washed down with some form of liquid amber, when you are on a terrace over a blue chasm, or sitting on a rock or a bench during a hike or a bike ride. I love such moments captured and committed to memory so we...
A perfect moment

A perfect moment

Golding describes a moment, a scene, on the island of Corfu, experienced during his own odyssey in search of Ithaka.  I like that he wants us to share that moment, as elsewhere he sends a note to the future.  And if you were to describe a moment that you wish others...
A banquet breakfast

A banquet breakfast

I like detailed descriptions of meals and picnics. Here Steinbeck sets down in detail a stupendous and outrageously over-rich breakfast laid before him and Robert Capa on their travels in Ukraine. Remember, this was a country which had suffered one of the...
Ice-cream walk

Ice-cream walk

A lovely moment on a children’s walk – I like how they follow the instructions with such verve; meeting a boy selling ice-cream, they stop him and practically buy up his stock. Also can’t resist the inevitable pun that comes of combining...
Begin with breakfast

Begin with breakfast

Wondering how best to get this bright new year off to a good start?  Follow this sound advice from the Swallows & Amazons family.   I got up early to make what I thought were muffins until, having liberally adapted the recipe, I realized it was meant to be for...
A hamper of friendship

A hamper of friendship

Something magical about hampers and other gifts of food and drink. I could live without the arack, but love the cheese, pomegranates, and raisin and fig selection, a perfect picnic snack. See also Pliny the Younger on a gift of dates.’A little later he sent us...
A perfect day for …

A perfect day for …

Today is a perfect day for it. A deep, crunchy blanket of snow fell overnight, the branches thickly dusted and the ground uplighting the world with the astonishing luminosity of snow.It also reminds me of a shared moment with my brother.  He had just arrived at my...
A factory of dreams, laughter and sighs

A factory of dreams, laughter and sighs

One of the most charming and imaginative descriptions of human beings. Well worth keeping in mind in case you find yourself standing before a panel of Martians demanding that you explain homo sapiens to them. Think about it: all the bread, wine, fish and radishes you...
Of raisin cakes and rose-petal jam

Of raisin cakes and rose-petal jam

A lovely description of happy moments of childhood, coming home from school, being given a ‘tartine’ of goat’s milk, cakes and jam.  Doing homework at the kitchen table before going to play in the street with friends and animals. ‘When she came...
A date with dates

A date with dates

Pliny the Younger is a favourite correspondent, warm, cantankerous, impatient of news.  He gets mad as hell with friends who claim to have no time to write, and tells them roundly not to bother him with excuses about being busy in the Senate or other such nonsense....

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