Chickens Eat Pasta
by Clare Pedrick
Chickens Eat Pasta is the tale of how a young Englishwoman starts a new life after watching a video showing a chicken eating spaghetti in a medieval hill village in central Italy. Unlike some recent bestsellers, this is not simply an account of a foreigner’s move to Italy, but a love story written from the unusual perspective of both within and outside of the story. As events unfold, the strong storyline carries with it a rich portrayal of Italian life from the inside, with a supporting cast of memorable characters. Along the way, the book explores and captures the warmth and colour of Italy, as well as some of the cultural differences – between England and Italy, but also between regional Italian lifestyles and behaviour.
Clare Pedrick, sees an advertisement for property in Umbria, Italy. She is 26 years old, just out of a seven year relationship and bored with her life. Acting impulsively she flies out to Italy and is shown a ruin of a house which she buys there and then.
What follows is her journey to a new and hopefully better life. Revolving around the little village of San Massano and the renovation of her house, we are transported to this rural delight, where the characters are larger-than-life, the scenery stunning and the food mouthwatering.
I loved the characters in this book, especially Ercolino who is married to an Englishwoman, Angela. He takes it upon himself to be Clare’s father figure and his misuse of English colloquialisms is a constant source of amusement.
Then there is Tito, the local shopkeeper, who is engaged in a long distance courtship of a lady called Clara:
“I have my weekly phone call to Clara, and we’ve decided to talk for ten minutes this time, instead of the usual five. There’s so much to plan before we get married in October.”
Food and wine are a huge part of Italian life and feature prominently in the book. The descriptions of the meals and the cooking are sumptuous. I will be using this book as a recipe book now that I have finished reading it.
As Clare is busy fighting her battles with Italian bureaucracy and lecherous men, into her life walks Mario and so begins another chapter.
This book is a wonderful read. The writing appears effortless, bringing to life the Italian countryside, and the bustling cities of Naples and Rome. If you have been before you are sure to recognise them, and if you haven’t you are sure to want to go.
Before reading Clare’s book, she kindly did a guest post for me about her move to Italy. If you would like to read it click here