I have been selfish with this book. Not in the sense that I didn’t want to share it with you, but that I didn’t want it to end. With five to ten hours of overtime a week, I have had little time to indulge in idle moments. However, when I could sneak a little section or slip in a whole chapter … it was an amazing escape from reality.
The Overview: Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
Frances Mayes—widely published poet, gourmet cook, and travel writer—opens the door to a wondrous new world when she buys and restores an abandoned villa in the spectacular Tuscan countryside. In evocative language, she brings the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. Mayes also creates dozens of delicious seasonal recipes from her traditional kitchen and simple garden, all of which she includes in the book. Doing for Tuscany what M.F.K. Fisher and Peter Mayle did for Provence, Mayes writes about the tastes and pleasures of a foreign country with gusto and passion.
Under The Tuscan Sun has been my back to basics escape from reality. I’m a bit embarrassed that it took me this long to read it. This is no fault of the book. This book is an experience. There’s no drama. This is a window looking in on the life of this house in Italy. I would spend my lunch break, reading little bits and imaging what it would be like to be whisked away and live somewhere else for a while. How I wished that I could implement the idea of a siesta and not have to return an hour later to the hectic chaos of the medical world.
I found myself wanting to live off the land. I want to eat foods that are fresh and local. The Uncle Bob’s Apple Cake was a product of this primal need for freshness. Mayes describes buying only the quantity of fresh food you need immediately from the market. The produce is allowed to ripen naturally and isn’t ’embalmed’ so to speak with chemicals, like many of the fruits and veggies here in the United States. As I peeled those fresh apples for that cake, I felt a certain pride for my food.
For the avid cook, you will love how the book has amazing recipes … and how she describes every amazing food she encounters. Really, I’m pretty sure I gained a few pounds just from reading! I’m hoping to try her recipe for Basil and Lemon Chicken soon. For my Cake Of The Week lovers, I think I found my next recipe for that as well!
I adored how life outside of Italy almost didn’t exist. During the course of the book, she spends her time divided between Italy and California. Rarely is California discussed. You follow the timeline, so you know she’s been back to the states. However, she doesn’t really bother with it. Why, because obviously Italy kicks ass.
I will admit, this is probably the only time in my life I have seen the movie before reading the book. There is a world of difference. Hollywood likes to muck with things. I loved the movie, I loved the book, and I respect them both as two different works.
I truly admire Frances Mayes. Her writing is amazing and her life is inspiring. You know what really did it for me? She seems to still be a real person. I posted a tweet a bit ago about reading her book. I had included her Twitter ‘handle’ so others could connect with her. I almost pissed myself when she responded to me! She now follows me (me! little teeny tiny self-published me!) and has even retweeted me. How frickin’ amazing is that?
I strongly urge anyone needing an adventure from their living room to invest in this book. I would offer to loan you mine, but this one is a keeper for the shelves!