Annie Hawes- Ripe for the Picking

Ripe for the Picking

What it’s about: 

This is the first I read of Annie Hawes’ books and probably my favourite.  Annie (or Anna as the locals call her, what with ‘Anni’ being much to peculiar to be anyone’s name) is becoming altogether better established in the hills of Liguria.  She also encounters a whole new set of customs and expectations that revolve around the new man in her life, and even more so his mother.

What I love:

  1.  I love the new characters we meet, and their specific histories.  Some in particular provide a poignant insight into the realities of that time, and their seemingly old-fashioned preoccupations.
  2. Again, the food.  The descriptions of the culinary customs and their cooking methods draw you in to the pages, and are a not insignificant component of the charm of these books.
  3. The dating rituals!  The comparison between the seemingly anonymous and frequently fragmented nature of modern dating, and the all-consuming and expectant lore of Liguria is refreshing, comforting and something of a relief to the reader.

My Favourite Quotes:

  1. “Anna, registering the great competence of the Lad from the Restaurant, is clearly considering very carefully the correct moral position to take in this irregular situation.  After all, a man who bears himself so nobly in the teeth of a major tomato crisis is not easily come by.”
  2. “Salvatore saves me from answering by suddenly going ballistic.  I have no idea what it’s about- he’s shouting his head off, mostly in Calabrian dialect, and I will never be as multilingual as your average Italian peasant farmer.”
  3. “Do you have to be an Italian to get a decent meal round here?’ They will suddenly shout.  ‘Why are we getting this second-class treatment?  What have you got against Germans, anyway?’ they may add, if German.  ‘The war was over 50 years ago! ‘ And so on.  Having suffered greatly myself through not understanding this booking business in earlier times- though since I’m English I just took it personally and not politically’… I have no trouble understanding how Ciccio’s and Franchino’s poor clients must feel.”

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