Monday, April 09, 2007

The Puzzling Case of the Bad Panettone

Where are the others? The girl says, referring to the empty spaces.

Ha. They not coming
is the short answer. The lengthy story doesn't need to be told, the girl already knows the whys and wheres. It's the same old, same old.

They sit and eat, and the conversation is lively. Traditional recipes are shared in an offhand manner. The girl knows that these kinds of recipes are not written down in any book nor can they ever be. You learn them by watching and doing never by reading or measuring. She knows she needs to make the time to watch and do, but who has the time for that these days?

The courses are all handmade from scratch or bought from places where they are handmade. Biscuits and sweets from the neighbour, homegrown roasted veggies, consume that has never seen the inside of a carton on the shelves of Safeway. Dessert fresh from the oven.

Old stories are told at one end of the table and new ones are told on the other.

The fruitcake comes out. Delicately sliced, moist pieces sitting gracefully next to the coffee pot and talk turns inevitably to the missing party.

"Did you eat the Panettone (Pah-neh-toh-neh) they gave at Christmas?"

uh oh, the Panettone story.

You wouldn't think that Panettone, a non-threatening airy, light, dry, traditional christmas fruitcake that is full of yum and a favourite of the girl would cause the problems that is has..

Eat it? As soon as I see it I throw it away!

How dare they! It's disgusting!

I cut mine and inside it was like a dough!

It was rotten! What are we, not good enough for fresh Panettone?

They keep it for two years and give it away at Christmas.

The accusations are shouted clearly into the small lit room and soon everyone is shouting and howling with laughter as the matron tells her story.

One year, they give me Panettone and I put it on the shelf. I buy the good Panettone for my friend but when we go to visit I realise that I have taken the bad Panettone by mistake. You can't go inside the house with nothing so I have to give the bad Panettone. You know what? My friend, she call me the next day and she says to me "You need to be careful where you buy your Panettone because this was not good". I never felt so ashamed so I call up Y and I tell her "you need to be careful where you buy the Panettone because you made a mistake with this one!"

Every year it is the same story with the Panettone. Bad food is a grave insult. Rotten one is a death wish.

But what to do about the case of the bad Panettone?

The girl has an idea.

At Christmas, no one makes any dessert. When they come with the Panettone you serve it that night and give them the first piece. You say "This is the Panettone that Y bought! Everyone enjoy" and then you see if they ever bring a bad Panettone again.

The family screams with laughter.

Revenge is the best medicine.

Felicita - Al Bano and Romina Power

Yes, yes this is quite possibly the un-cool song ever to grace my MM buuuut, it fits.

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