A Year in the Village of Eternity
The Lifestyle of Longevity in Campodimele, Italy
By Tracey Lawson
(Bloomsbury USA, Hardcover, 9781596915022, 384pp.)
Publication Date: August 16, 2011
Welcome to the Village of Eternity. Campodimele, Italy, has for some time attracted the interest of the medical community: the people here lead extraordinarily long lives, enjoy low blood pressure and low cholesterol, and stay active and healthy to their last years.
What is it about this place that makes it so easy to live well and long? In A Year in the Village of Eternity, Tracey Lawson goes beyond the medical figures, immersing herself in the lifestyle and timeless eating habits of this vibrant place. Daybreak in Campodimele finds villagers in their seventies and eighties rising to tend their olive trees, chasing their chickens uphill, or weaving through mountain roads on a Vespa.
In Campodimele, the seasons and the bounty of the land dictate the food on the table, and each month brings its own traditions of harvesting and foraging, cooking and preserving. The villagers are warm and welcoming, sharing the recipes handed down from generation to generation, and Lawson offers over one hundred of those same recipes here, from simply dressed salads to homemade sausages and fresh egg pasta. She introduces us to the cicerchie, a legume particular to this elevated spot, high in protein and free of cholesterol, and key to zuppa della nonna, "grandmother's soup." There's lamb cooked over charcoal; a zucchini soup that uses stalks, leaves, and flowers; preserved sweet red peppers; fig jam; and celebratory sweets like almond cake and a ricotta tart with cinnamon.
With beautiful photographs of the dishes, the people, and the countryside of Campodimele, A Year in the Village of Eternity brims with warmth, generosity, tradition, and flavor. Here we can learn secrets not only of living longer, but of living every moment to the fullest.
Tracey Lawson discovered the joys of Italy's cuisine and lifestyle while teaching English in Tuscany. She spent a decade as a journalist, writing and reporting for several British newspapers, and she edited the food and health pages for the Scotsman before relocating to Italy. Lawson now divides her time between Italy and Britain. A Year in the Village of Eternity is her first book.
"Magnificent…Passion for food oozes through Lawson’s book. Her fresh, luscious prose stirs the senses. Most of all, the book makes you want to cook, and she has provided dozens of recipes to satiate that impulse." - Washington Post“A lovely meditation on the foods, lives, recipes, and traditions of this area of Italy, this will appeal to travelers and foodies.” –Library Journal
"Rich and engaging… Lawson's narrative follows the seasons in a country year, delineating the culinary routines of the typical Campodimele resident and cook… Lawson beautifully describes food at its simplest and finest--green fava beans, homemade ribbonlike pasta, zucchini and hot peppers, shallots, and baby goat." - Publishers Weekly