The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani
I give this book 4 stars. It had a very slow start and yet somehow you wanted to continue to read on.
It definitely made you want to join a lively and extended Italian family but then I couldn’t face the Sunday meals let alone the Feast of the 7 Fishes…
I looked this meal up on Wikipedia and also spoke to an Italian acquaintance who said that she knew it as The Vigil and had never heard of so many fish courses but she wasn’t Sicilian like the family in the story!
The Vigil takes place on Xmas Eve which for the Italians, I was informed by my friend is more important than Xmas Day.
The idea of the Feast of the Fishes is really an Italian-American invention originating in Southern Italy. It comes from the RC tradition of abstinence on Fridays and Wednesdays and Lent and the Eve of Holy Days when fish is the substitute for meat. In the US the 7 fish courses can now be as many as 9, 11 or 13!
Baccala or salted cod is a staple of these feasts as are smelts and calamari.
The symbolism of the 7 fish is due to the number. 7 is repeated 700 in the bible (not sure if this is new testament or old or both); or there are 7 sacraments; or there are 7 hills of Rome; or 7 is the number of perfection – 3=divinity (3 fold Father, Son and Holy Ghost), and 4=earth thus 3+4=7 or God on Earth or JC.
Now this all seems very fanciful to me as an excuse for a major blow-out but who am I to comment on other people’s traditions.
Back to the storyline.
It is vaguely based on the Brothers Grimm’s story about the Shoemaker and the Elves – or the saying that ‘The Cobbler’s Children go Unshod’ or ‘The shoemaker’s daughter has no shoes’.
It is a gentle story with shoes as the main element and although it turned out to be the sequel to a storyline from the ‘Big Gap’ Series I felt it could easily be read as a stand-alone novel.
I will give it 4 stars but only just – a little ore pace would have been welcome.
I also think that I disagree with a main premise in that the 1st argument a married couple has sets the tone for all following arguments – however, I can’t remember the first argument I had with my husband – so it can’t have set the tone can it?!