March 8, 2006

Hell is so much more convenient

A passage for my commonplace book: from Patience Gray, Honey from a Weed.

When people come to Spigolizzi in summer they are often heard to exclaim: "Qui c'è un vero paradiso" and they sometimes receive the Sculptor's reply, "Ma l'inferno purtròppo è tanto più comodo". (Here is a real paradise. But Hell is so much more convenient!)

...In summer young people come to test their aspirations against a way of life which is the outcome of working in marble, working in stone, and working in metal. Not an easy one, it starts at sunrise in summer and in winter, with no electricity, hot water or telephone, no libraries to hand, no postman and no dustman. It is absorbing work — our own and agricultural. There are good neighbors by day, they vanish into distant villages at night.


The recipes in this book belong to an era of food grown for its own sake, not for profit. This era has vanished. If cooking and eating were all I had in mind when writing them down, the pleasure they might afford would be largely nostalgic.