We would buy sweets and gelato al limone (lemon sorbet) from the man with the ice cream cart. It was so hot, the ice would melt and you had to race the sun, to make sure you got to the iced delight before the sun did. I can still taste the cornet, drenched in lemony juices, and I feel the hot sun, I hear my friends singing and laughing, and I smell the resin, oozing out of the pine tree trunks.
It was a happy time. I just wish I had known it then, but I was just happy to be there and hear the swallows in the sky and the sound of the Church bells telling me it was time to go home.
Well, my mother, on the contrary, wasn't one for kisses and hugs. She was practical, beautiful woman, always looked lovely and, unlike my father, who was blond, she had jet black hair and the loveliest of white smiles!
It was Parmigiana di Melanzane (Aubergine/eggplant Parmigiana) in Winter, and the lighter Summer version, where zucchine (courgettes) were used, instead. I recently discovered you can make Parmigiana using artichokes! I will try that!
I helped, standing on a chair first, and then on my own two feet, on the floor, as I grew taller. I could make Parmigiana by the time I was six. And... she would even let me have a go at making the Ragu` sauce. True!
Parmigiana is a kind of vegetable lasagna, where layers of aubergine, dipped in flour, then beaten egg and then fried in oil, are layered, just how you would layer lasagna, with sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese. The whole thing is then baked and served in wedges, with salad and crusty bread. It's so yummy!
This is what any Italian would call a traditional, real Parmigiana as people in Italy would make. It also tastes good if you include mortadella or ham, as an ingredient, in each layer. I LOVE mortadella!