il pranzo (lunch) and la cena (dinner), and I heartily enjoy this habit. My Italian friends all relish eating fruit and vegetables (as do I), a habit that is sadly missing from the American diet. It seems that in the States, we have to bribe our children to eat their fruits and vegetables, while they are prized foods in the Italian home, starting from infancy. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that fresh fruit is delicious and is readily available in Italy most of the year. We don't have access to fresh fruit many months of the year in Kansas, and eating fruit that has traveled many miles just doesn't have the same quality of flavor.
Over the past few days, it's been heating up, into the 90's F (30's C), and the plum tree near the patio has been dropping fruit nuggets in the yard. They're quite small, and it feels like an Easter egg hunt to look for them in the leaves beneath the tree. In the photo above, you can see today's stash of le prugne (plums) from the back yard and gli albicocche (apricots) from the neighbors. Next to the basket is a pine cone from the Pino marittimo, or Maritime Pine, which gives us pine nuts (used to make pesto), covered by a hard brown shell. I've tried cracking a few of them, and it's hard work! Now I know why they cost so much.
Along with the heat come le zanzare, the mosquitoes that will plague Italy until it freezes in the fall. Purtroppo, unfortunately, the little buggers love to bite me, so if I want to have any kind of ventilation in the house, I have to use a mosquito zapper, starting in the late afternoon and continuing until morning. Window screens are not usually included in Italian houses, so mosquitoes have free entry whenever the windows or doors are open.
To ward them off, I use a handy little zapper that plugs into the wall. You slide a small pellet into the round ball, and it heats the pellet, perfuming the air with something that keeps mosquitoes at bay. A pellet lasts for 12 hours, and I've been using one every single day.
Tonight there's a fresh breeze in the air, and it's calling me outside for another long walk.
Buona sera! (Good evening!)