Published: January 3rd 2008December 22nd 2007
that's how we cook in winter time
As an Israeli, I’ve always thought of fire as something beautiful, powerful, exotic, fascinating, romantic, dangerous, unpredictable…
Our almost only contact with fire is when we have a BBQ, and even then, fire is not wanted, we don’t want to burn the meat (Some of us want only to heat it a little)...
Here, in the countryside in Italy it’s a necessity. This is the main way to heat the house, sometimes the way to cook (especially in winter).
It’s something that keeps you busy all day and in the evenings. You have to prepare the wood - collect it or buy it, cut it, keep it dry, carry it home. Start the fire, make sure the fire is not to high and not to low, keep feeding wood to the fire, make sure it won’t die… for me, who want everything to be operated by switches, it’s a “little” difficult to adjust to. You should see me and the panic attacks I have when I realize it’s been a while sine I’ve checked my wood stove. And the smile I have when I see that the fire didn’t die yet and that I can do something about it.
stayed in a farm that also used the wood stove for cooking and at the beginning I tried to help with the fire, until the third evening when I’ve realized that if I want to eat I should stop “helping”. I was killing the fire each time it started…
I think I am getting used to it now, I still find it fascinating. Whenever I get a lesson of “what to do with the fire”, I have to force my self to watch and listen, not only stare at the fire... The significant of “OY” in the Jewish tradition
In my travels, quite often (or: everywhere and by everyone) I’m being asked about Judaism, what is “kosher”, Jewish holidays, the importance of the Shabbat etc. As you know, I was born a Jew, but (and that’s an understatement) I don’t practice. So usually it's very awkward for me to explain something I have never experienced. For me it’s a whole different culture I know very little about. As an atheist who was raised in a Jewish culture, I keep my self the right to keep some of the Jewish symbols, I tried doing the “money” thing
- Jewish are well known as money and business people. I failed. Miserably. At the moment the only Jewish symbol I am using is “OY”. Recently I was asked about it, because Saverio and his family thought that when someone “OYS” it means that he is unhappy. I think that OY has almost nothing to do with unhappiness… but, since it was the first time I’ve been asked about it, I had to put some energy to it and think about the “OY” in my culture. I have to say that I can’t quite explain it so I’ve decided write u all about it, hoping you will help me So I would appreciate if you would add your insights about it… . I think that in the old days, OY did mean dissatisfaction, but I think that in the Modern Hebrew, it means a lot more. It can say: “I am surprised”, “I can’t believe it”, "its very nice", "that’s great", “I am worried”, “I am tired”, “I have nothing to say”, “o.k., we have to do ??? now”,"that's nice" but I am still not sure I got it. Not sure I can explain it. I never thought of it
as a negative remark, but I can’t find many positive meanings…
Thanks for your help… I’ve decided not to become a goat
In my great fear from the European winter I have decided to head a little south to a farm near Rome. I met the farmer (Roberto) in a small market, I have heard that it’s a new farm he started cultivating this year, and thought it might be a good adventure for me - avoiding the snow for a while, working in a new farm, with a guy that does not speak one word of English.
I found lot of similarities between the two of us, we where both in our late 30’s, had lived the “real” life - a job, a house, he was married, and at some point we both decided that there is another possibility that might make us happier (stop searching the subtext, it’s there and it’s clear: I wasn’t really happy). I’ve decided to travel, he decided to live simple life, grow his own food and avoid technology as much as possible. At the beginning it was very interesting; we ate fresh fruits for lunch and a BIG meal of vegetables for dinner. I, of course, made sure he knows what I feel about this diet - It’s my food’s food, not mine. Every evening we had discussions about the choices in life, the healthy way of living, our histories, our families, our cultures. He is a very good hearted guy but something felt wrong, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. It took me about a week to understand. One evening a neighbor had arrived to buy some honey he makes. She is in her 50’s and was talking about problems with her teenager kid, who refuses to go to school. Roberto had started lecturing her about school system, education, freedom of the kids etc… The day after, another friend had arrived and Roberto once again, started lecturing, this time it was about nutrition, that people should eat only fruits and vegetables. The evening after it was only the two of us again, and he was lecturing again. That’s when I got it - the guy is not exchanging ideas or cultures, he is lecturing. I always thought that a discussion involves at least two people. He thought the same only that in his idea of discussions there is only one person who talks. HIM. The evening after, when the lecture have started again, him giving me no space to talk (yes, in Italian I am not as fast as I am in Hebrew or English), I’ve waited very politely until he finished and told him That after the last “discussion” he had, I realized that I can’t stay here and will leave tomorrow morning. I called Rosella and Saverio, my friends, from the first farm I stayed with and asked if its o.k. if I will arrive the day after in the afternoon. They said yes (lucky lucky me, not sure I can ever thank them enough for their hospitality). He didn’t say one word to me since that moment. I spent the night and the day after thinking - what’s wrong with me - am I not open enough to other people’s life and cultures? Why can’t I stay in one place? What am I running away from? Or am I looking for something? When I got to Toscana I started understanding that for me, woofing farms are like buying new shoes - the first one is the perfect for me. No need to keep on searching, but I always do…. (I still didn’t figure out, by this theory why I’ve liked my 3rd farm, Silvia’s house, but, give me a little more time...)
Oh, I had my first snow!!! I've decided that it's beautiful but I don’t have to get living with it, it's too cold…. The minute the winter episode was over I booked a flight to Israel, promising my father his Christmas cake….
He couldn't wait long so I am in Israel now, a little earlier then planned…