A very Good Friday

For a Neapolitan, thoughts of Easter conjure up the extended family enjoying a lovingly prepared and eagerly devoured feast. Not least among the delicacies is the pastiera, an essential part of Easter, a dessert that no Neapolitan table would be without.

A certain man I know well came of age in Capri, a mythic island in the Bay of Naples. Despite emigrating from Italy 73 years ago and living in the U.S. ever since, Capri has always been an integral part of him. During this past Easter Week Sal was especially overcome by nostalgia. In his fantasy he savored the pie redolent of orange blossoms and cherished memories, and he mentioned his longing to the people closest to him. Covid has whetted separation from family and friends and unbridgeable distances to a constant, bitter sting.

I called a pastry shop on Arthur Avenue, an Italian section of the Bronx, where shops and restaurants offer every sort of Italian food: mozzarella and parmigiano, salami and prosciutto, broccoli rabe and radicchio, cannoli and, wait for it– pastiera! The bakery’s website vaunted their shipments to every part of the country.

Imagine my dismay to learn they shipped cookies, but not pastiera, because of its fragility.

On Wednesday a former colleague of Sal’s told him to expect a package the following day. He wondered what it could be, and a part of him wished it would be a pastiera, even knowing that couldn’t be.

Imagine Sal’s delight when he found a package on the doorstep next morning– and it contained not one pastiera, but two! His former partner, sharing a craving for the same dessert, had sent one for Easter and one for the freezer.

Later on Thursday, Sal received notification of a shipment from Italy that would arrive on Friday. He was stumped, not having the slightest idea who the sender was, or what could possibly be in the package.

Finally, the parcel arrived. It was a pastiera, shipped from Naples by his nephew, who jumped at the chance to alleviate the longing of the uncle he loves so much.

Neapolitan Pastiera

4 Comments

Filed under Food, Personal

4 responses to “A very Good Friday

  1. larrybaltz

    Hi Diane,

    I hope you and Sal are as hopeful as me this Easter. It feels as though we’ve got a fighting chance now that our new President is in office.

    I always enjoy your posts, and this one is delightful.

    Wishing you and Sal a happy Easter, and I hope you can visit your home in Italy soon.

    All the best,

    Larry

    * http://www.adtechllc.com *

  2. Hi Larry,

    Yes, despite the coup attempt, the refusal to be vaccinated and the refusal to abide by the Covid guidelines, I think we are off to a good start. I hope that getting money from the government, watching the death and infection rates go down, and experiencing the many benefits from the Covid relief bill will overcome The Big Lie. I think Biden’s assembled a great team. More and more people are realizing that Black Lives really do Matter. We’re on a good trajectory.

    Wishing you and your family a very happy Easter and the best always,

    Diane

  3. Beautiful story. Love anything that makes dear Sal happy!

  4. Wafa Faith Hallam

    Dear Diane, What a lovely story. I’m so happy Sal had his wish fulfilled and shown so much love. All well deserved. Sending my love to you both, Wafa, xoxo

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