Nonna Jolanda

I went back to Puglia a couple weeks ago to make olive oil with my dear friend Jolanda (who has an amazing boutique olive oil business called Tenuta Bianca- check it out! Best olive oil I've ever tasted). Sadly, this was a tough year for those ancient olive trees on the southern Italian peninsula; a disease wiped out the whole harvest. When I showed up at my friend's house ready to pick (olives) and press (oil), she greeted me with a tearful hug- overjoyed to see me, devastated to report the bad news. All of a sudden, I had a plan-less week on my hands. Not for long, though. After rapid-fire catching up, Jolanda and I trotted across the street, arm-in-arm like two school girls. We knocked on her grandma's door (a mere 1/2 block away from her own house) and Nonna Jolanda greeted us, hands still knitting as she spoke. The 90 year old woman stood just under 5 feet tall and spoke in fast dialect. We set up an old wood board on her kitchen table and started making pasta together by hand. Who knows how much wisdom she imparted on me in those hours (certainly not me, since I only understood 1 out of every 5 words), but we made orecchiette all afternoon and before I left, she got up on her tip toes and kissed my neck (the only thing she could reach). While holding me in her tiny arms, she told me to stay in Italy forever. Oh that I could...

Me, Nonna Jolanda, and Giulia (another friend).

#nonna #orecchiette

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