Sunday Morning

Well, it is Sunday morning and overcast and rainy yet again. But there is a breeze so I hope this rain will lift and the wind will start drying out the waterlogged hay fields. All that forage has to come off and the bales stacked in the low protein side of the barn. Watery grass is leached of nutrients.

Yesterday I was talking about the chemical fields being black and dead as opposed to our organic fields that are green and alive with weeds. Both flooded for the same amount of time. Here is a photo to show you.

That(right) is not tilled ground. It is just dead – waiting obediently for orders from its farmer. The organic side (left) has a mind of its own. I know which field I would like to be.

Pasta. My Grandmother’s Grandfather came from a little town called Bocchere in Mantua, Italy. He was born there in 1838 and left to join the gold rush to the South Island of New Zealand when he was 24. We have only just discovered this in the last few months. My son Sam does all our research. He digs out all these amazing facts. There was a legend in our family about my mother’s grandmother Christina who always wore black and scrubbed the stoop of every house she visited ( and behind the toilet, whether it was clean or not, which horrified my mother). She would be ready to travel hours before the train left – sitting silently on a straight chair beside her packed bag until my Dad brought the car around to deliver her to the train station exactly an hour before it left. (Not strange in this day and age but in those days you walked from the street, through a beautiful little wooden train station, with a trail of grandkids carrying your bags and straight onto the train where the grandkids got you settled and kissed your cheek goodbye before exiting the train and waving you off). She was not a last minute lady. Word has it that she was pretty formidable. John Franco was Christina’s Papa.

Different regions of Italy had different pastas and ( my pasta obsession explained) I am researching the foods from this area of Mantua. When Giovanni Franco lived there it was part of the Austro/Hungarian empire. Even more interesting. Do Hungarians have a history of different pastas too? I will research further. And yes! Before I retire from the world ( never) I intend to visit this little village – I hope it is still there – and eat Tortelli de Zucca. I am going to make it soon. I am still practicing making my tortellini! All I have is UTube. If this were a novel … I would find long lost Italian great aunties in Bocherre to teach me. They would have a huge wooden table under grapevines with tons of local wine and fresh bread. They would be welcoming and the air would be full of lights and family and laughter and huge platters of pasta.

This is not a novel. So- UTube it is.

Today’s lunch is my old favorite- gnocchi. I LOVE gnocchi. And it is so easy to make.

I hope we get some sun later on. But ‘til then the dogs and I will slosh about under the clouds. With cows.

The Charolais calf is not in this photo because he was chasing Ton. He loves playing with dogs apparently. TonTon felt his dignity had been compromised and left the scene.

The wee pea chick has died and is buried in the garden. But that is the way of it. As my Dad would say – ( and all his ancestors were Irish) – ‘worse things happen at sea’.

And on that happy note; Have a lovely day.

miss c

42 Comments on “Sunday Morning

  1. Have you ever heard of the Pasta Grannies? It’s a YouTube channel, also a cookbook. Lots of Italian grannies from all over Italy. You may find someone there who hails from Mantua. My family came from southern Campania with mostly semolina and water pastas, but I do love to make eggs pastas and raviolis!

    • The Pasta Grannies are fantastic, as are the Nonnas featured in a Jamie Oliver series and book called Jamie Cooks Italy. I love the way they make delicious food out of flour, water, and a few other ingredients like stale bread and a few anchovies.

  2. What an adventure that would be; to visit Bocherre; to feel your roots. All the ingredients for a novel.

  3. Nice to see the pasta happening. I will be looking forward to more information about your process and how it turned out. Hope you have a few rain free days this week. Northern IL has rain in the forecast every day this week again. Sigh.

  4. I love the contrasting images of fields. It reminds me that things I try to manage in my garden struggle at this time of year (v hot!) but the native plants seem to be thriving (I don’t insult them these days by saying “weeds” – they are “natives”. LOL

    • I think we have a lot to learn from the species native to our areas. Easier than fighting the climate to grow an introduced species. Though I love fresh tomatoes

  5. What a fantastic ancestral discovery! Pasta is quite old, the Ancietnt Persians and Greeks made sheets of it from a wheat flour dough with lettuce juice then fried them. The Roman Horace (1st Century AD) made a record of a fried dough called lagana. By the 5th Century AD this lagana became layered dough with a meat filling – so probably where lasagna comes from. It ‘s likely that pasta goes back as far as 500 BC in the Levant.

    Poor TonTon – he’s normally the boss of all animals.

  6. Hi Cecilia. For fresh pasta, I recommend you check out not just you tube, but specifically Pasta Grannies…and see how they make what you want to make. This project is great. They’ve interviewed lots of old (and some are very old) Italian women about how they make pasta. Also GREAT videos on various focaccias and all sorts if stuffed pastas in different shapes. etc.

  7. those two fields are amazing. that should be an ad for the greening of america. i make gnocchi often. i can’t wait to see your future pasta. that is such interesting info about your relatives. i’m sorry the baby died. i was hoping it would pull through.

  8. Yes Ton has plenty of dignity. And rightly so. After all his breed they say is probably the most intelligent of all. My husband’s father was born and raised in Carrara which explains why he’s an artist.

  9. My grandmother did teach me how to make pasta, though it is a German recipe and always called noodles not pasta. It is a recipe handed down from her grandma and probably well before that and includes such measurements as two eggs plus an equal amount of water and then flour until it is not sticky anymore. My grandma is not a huge talker, but while teaching me this (or while kneading bread dough or canning tomatoes together) she will occasionally tell stories about her mother and grandmother or her young married life. Forever when I make her recipes I will see her hands.

  10. Awe C. When I saw that first photo, I somehow knew what the outcome of the little peachick was going to be. It has such a forlorn quality to it and I don’t know…I just knew. I am so so sorry…I was so hoping…

  11. Sorry to learn about the peachick. Nature is a harsh mistress. Never tried making pasta. Whole Wheat Angel Hair is available at the HEB grocery store & is hard to beat. Granny Rozelle taught me to make sourdough bread & piecrust from scratch when I was about 10 yo. and told me stories of her life as a
    share-croppers wife. I’m 64 and Can still hear her in my mind.

  12. I hope some day you get to write the novel of your return to your roots, after having researched it first-hand. I am pre-ordering it.

  13. I make free form butternut gnocci- roast the squash, scoop it out and mash it, then add egg, flour and salt and pepper…..using a spoon loosely form them, poach them
    in boiling water til they float, then drain them, saute in butter as many sage leaves as you desire until they crisp , drain on paper towel and then fry the gnocci in the
    browned butter until nicely browned! Sprinkle parmesan cheese over them and share the sage leaves with others and voila- a delicious dinner or side dish!
    I hope you get some of our sunny days and we can trade for your rain! Cheers!

  14. How delightful to discover that way, way back some of your ancestors came from NE Italy – absolutely romantic !! Ans what fun planning to go and look and hope to find a little of your own past there . . . ! As far as Hungarian pasta is concerned: the main form is nokedli, similar to spaetzle . . . . so simple – make the dough, boil a big pot of water, hold a colander over the water and pour the dough into it catting what comes through at the bottom with a knife ! So simple and most Hungarians do it every day !!! As did I during my ‘Hungarian wife’ days 🙂 !!!

  15. I love that you are making pasta too. I would love it. My last husband and tried making our own for awhile. Organic anything is better and I do not like putting chemicals on anything. How nice to find your family history. I do love coming to visit here. We could use some of your rain. Portland won’t see rain from mid June till the end of October. Just dry and hot.

  16. The moment I saw that gnocci photo, my brain sent me the smell of sage frying in butter. I love how smell is so evocative. I could eat a huge plate of fried gnocci in butter and sage now, except…. diabetes. Boo, hiss.

  17. That photo of your lush, healthy green field doing its thing compared with the sad black field should go to the newspapers, and be broadcast everywhere. It tells such a story. How extraordinary and wonderful to discover the Italian connection. I wonder if your ancestor struck gold? You certainly have, with the picture of the golden yolks looking so happy in their floury nest. It’s a winner, that one.

  18. I must remember “worse things happen at sea.” Gave me a good chuckle. Looks like you got good advice on where to go for grannies.

  19. So much rain! It is only been a couple days of it here, but floods are rising. Sorry to hear you’ve lost your crops. I’m glad you’ve popped back in – I’ve missed your farm stories!

  20. Wow Celi, your comparison photo is a fantastic example of what I call the ‘Scorched Earth’ appearance of ‘treated’ fields. (you can also see it plainly on the satellite versions of maps) Nicely done (both the photo and all the hard work that’s obviously starting to pay off❤️)

  21. Wonderful to read your blog again. I fell out of the habit and regret it. Maybe I’ll start again this winter.

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