Corfu Banquet by Emma Tennant

By Emma Tennant

Corfu dinner party celebrates the tastes, smells and colors of an island the place the cooking is seasonal and the vegetation play adjustments at the subject matter of a year-round spring. An island the place existence follows the ocean; from an icy turquoise in March, via autumn's olive darkness whilst mourga, (the mush of discarded olive skins from the village press) clouds the water to a claret wine, as iciness units in. A memoir within the rhythm of the 5 seasons of Corfu, the tale tells of the home of Rovinia, inbuilt the sixties via Emma Tennant's mom and dad and of Maria, the 'spirit of the house', her wisdom and knowledge. Corfu dinner party entwines recipes and unique images with fond reminiscences in prose. it is a sensuous adventure, like pinching the basil that grows in nice pots on the again door or tasting the faded crimson of the do-it-yourself fragole ice cream.

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It might as well be the surface of the moon or a still from Jurassic Park, with pterodactyls about to take off into the dawn of time. 55 CORFU BANQUET As if aware of being stared at through these sportsmen’s lenses, the stilts (for this of course they are) rise suddenly of one accord and fly gracefully north, in the direction of Paleocastritsa Bay. I curse to myself, for if I’d left well alone we might have enjoyed hours or days more of their magical visit. But then, as if to compensate for my clumsiness, the other birds come into view.

As for food, Marie came in her last years to eat nothing more at the Corfu Grill, where she would meet my mother for lunch, than the gigantes (butter beans) and a bottle of Sprite, a child-like fizzy drink. 51 CORFU BANQUET Chapter Four Swans The first signs of a real turning of the seasons when it happens at Rovinia take us as always by surprise. For isn’t it spring all the year round on this island where we are spending what will possibly turn out to be our last few seasons? My mother has decided to sell this house she and my father built nearly forty years ago; the time has come for us to pull up the roots put down in the years before tourism or even an International Airport.

The food at Aegli is good – I choose fish and the children like pastitsia, a Corfiot version of macaroni pie. But it doesn’t compare, we all agree, with Maria’s cooking. And we’ll drive home in the new Hyundai, astonished afresh at the landscape created by Spiro the builder’s road. 61 CORFU BANQUET Chapter Six Lentils to Easter In the days when my father was alive and we still had the Falaina, ‘the big caique’, a splendidly solid vessel which could sleep two in the cabin with another up on deck, the most certain sign of approaching summer was its arrival at the end of our small jetty by the entrance to the cave.

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