Il Gatto addormentato
(The Sleeping Cat)
Nursery tales by Elisabetta Mancini Camporeale

Published online: 20 June 2009 23
English version
Il sugo della zia Francesca
PDF version


All'inizio di ogni matrimonio la giovane sposa, poco pratica nell’arte culinaria, deve affrontare il terribile confronto con i manicaretti preparati dalla suocera, sempre superlativi, a detta del marito.

A me è capitato qualcosa che ha dell’incredibile, invece.

Sul fronte suocera mi sentivo al riparo da ogni confronto, perché la poverina non eccelleva granché ai fornelli, anche se, come madre e come moglie, era ineccepibile.

Il mio primo pranzo fu un vero disastro e il fatto che mio marito mi rimase accanto, nonostante tutto, fu per me la prova del nove della solidità del matrimonio.

Un giorno però me lo vidi arrivare con il primo di una lunga serie di ricettari, pubblicati mensilmente.

Mangiai subito la foglia e mi misi a studiarli.

Dopo opportuna assimilazione, una sola cosa mi veniva quasi bene: il sugo al pomodoro.

Ma, per quanto mi arrabattassi, quell’uomo lì aveva sempre da lamentarsi: "Si, va bene, mi diceva, però... questo sugo non assomiglia a quello che mi preparava la zia Francesca quando ero piccolo".

Insomma, nel mio caso, non era la mamma, ma la zia Francesca, un’anziana zia di mia suocera, la rivale con la quale mi dovevo confrontare.

La cosa, tra prove e riprove, andò avanti per parecchio, finché una domenica il sugo (stanco pure lui) decise di riposarsi un poco sul fondo del tegame, bruciacchiandosi.

Potete immaginare la mia agitazione. Se fino ad allora, nonostante tutti gli studi, il sugo non era giusto, figuriamoci adesso che sapeva un po’ di bruciacchiato! Ma, tant’è, non c’era più tempo per prepararne dell’altro.

A tavola aspettai che il devoto consorte addentasse il primo boccone di pasta, in attesa del peggio. Ma, con mia grande meraviglia, invece di rabbuiarsi lo vidi sorridere e dirmi: "Finalmente ci sei riuscita; questo è il sugo della zia Francesca!"

Stentavo a credere alle mie orecchie, ma mi bastarono pochi secondi per dedurne che la vecchia zia bruciava sistematicamente i suoi favolosi sughetti, quel tanto da conferire loro un non so che di rustico e antico.

Non volli distruggere in mio marito il dolce ricordo dei sughi della sua infanzia e della vecchia zia un po’ sbadata. In compenso sono riuscita, con l’esperienza e l’esercizio, ad eguagliare quei sughi senza bisogno di bruciarli, anche perché non è poi tanto facile bruciarli quel tanto che basta.

Ed è così che ogni domenica, come nostra gradita ospite c’è la cara zia. Non si vede, ma c’è!







Published online: 20 June 2009
Italian version
Aunt France’s souce
PDF version

At the beginning of every marriage, the young bride has to cope with the terrible comparison between her cookery, often scarce, and the dainties of her mother-in-law, as her bridegroom always defines his mother’s cookery as superlative.

Something incredible happened to me, instead.

Notwithstanding the fact that my mother-in-law was an excellent mother and wife, she wasn’t really endowed with cookery, so that I was relatively unexposed to the comparison.

My first lunch was a disaster, but the fact that, despite the adversity, my husband stayed next to me was a clear sign of the durability of our marriage.

Then, one day, he came carrying along the first of long series of recipes, monthly published.

I understood right away and started studying those recipes.

After having studied all those complicated recipes, there was one thing I could do quite well: tomato sauce.

But, instead of appreciating my effort, that man always had something to complain: "Yeah, it’s good; however, you know... this sauce has nothing in common with the one my aunt Frances used to prepare me when I was a young boy...".

As you can understand, in my case, the "enemy" to beat in cookery wasn’t my mother- in- law but that my mother- in- law’s old aunt, aunt Frances.

It took me so long to try to make a tomato sauce "as the one of aunt Frances", but one Sunday morning the sauce itself, tired, decided to rest on the bottom of the frying-pan, getting scorched.

That sent me into a flat spin! Until then, despite my hard study, my sauce wasn’t right, so that you can imagine the effect now that it was scorched too! But it was late to try to make it again.

When we sat down at the table I waited for my husband to taste it, trying not to imagine the worst.

I was so surprised when, looking at him and expecting him to get down, he smiled to me and said: "At last! You got it right! This is like aunt Frances’ sauce!"

I was incredulous, but it took me just a few seconds to understand that the old aunt always scorched her dainties, just that little that was useful to make them taste such rustic and ancient.

I didn’t want to destroy my husband’s sweet memory of the sauces of his childhood, confessing him that his aunt was a little bit careless. Through exercise and experience, I finally managed to equal that sauces even without scorching them, also because it’s not simple to scorch them as much as it’s necessary.

That’s the reason why every Sunday, as a graceful host, the aunt is there. Nobody can see her, but she’s there!

(English translation by Silvia Mancini)








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When not otherwise specified, the English translation was made by the author.