Restoring a Damp House in Sicily, Part 9

May 6, 2010

My kitchen sink arrived  from Tuscany in a beat-up truck with a blue plastic curtain. The truck came to a halt in front of the house. A burly driver got out and slowly slid open the curtain to unveil the sink as if were an opera d’arte.

Which, in a way, it is.

Delivery Truck in Sicily, Copyright Jann Huizenga

Having walked into my renovation blind as a bat, I’ve been, generally speaking, a catastrofista. But not this time. The sink is perfect. It’s made of granigliawhatever that is—and is supple as silk. I run my hands over it the way you’d stroke a cat.

Kitchen Sink in Sicily, Copyright Jann Huizenga

It awaits a backsplash of colorful Caltagirone tiles.

I no longer need to bathe from two old buckets or stoop over an old shower drain to brush my teeth. I have a sink!

I’ll be washing dishes in this sink soon. That’s right: No dishwasher.

My life in Sicily is all about getting into the rhythms of a slow island life, stepping back into another century, learning to dawdle. Less is more is my new mantra. This does not mean that I’ll give up my computer and subsist on snails and wild chickory, but it does mean I’ll forgo a dishwasher. A dryer, a freezer, a car. Even a TV. I’ll start savoring the way stars light the night. The way vines drip with grapes. The way doves strut and coo on bleached terracotta roofs.


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Toni Lydecker’s Seafood alla Siciliana is somewhat smaller than coffee-table size, with thick, glossy paper, wonderful recipes, very pretty photos, and stories about Sicily’s cuisine. All you have to do is leave a comment on any of my blog posts between now and May 9, and I’ll enter your name for a random drawing on May 10, 2010. (You can enter one comment a day, max.) The only hitch is that you must provide a US or Canadian address for the shipping, so my apologies to readers on other continents.

11 comments to Restoring a Damp House in Sicily, Part 9

  • Dennis Berry

    Hi Jann,
    I tuned in late to Barouqe Sicily so I am catching up. It is the BESTISSIMO
    Ciao Dennis

  • Giovanni Gallo

    It’s a pretty romantic and idealized vision of life in Sicily. I live here and I never found such an idyllic place, except in the past.

    • Jann

      Hi Giovanni–Thanks for your comment! It’s true I’m an outsider, and a romantic, and I’m smitten with Sicily. But I don’t necessarily look at the island through rose-colored glasses. Please click this and this and this and this and this to see some negativism! (I haven’t blogged about some of the more sordid aspects of the island because they get plenty of publicity.)

  • Donna

    Love the sink!

  • I love your description of getting into the rhythm of life. Today, I actually took 3 hours away from the computer and Simone and I walked around downtown, meeting and greeting many poodle-loving persons. I thought of you en route to your island life. Having coffee at Downtown Subscription, a psychic woman from Germany approached us and was overly free with her information of what my future holds. Go to Italy, she said, and find an Italian lover. OK.

  • Diana

    Hi Jann, Lavello fantastico!!…..looks like it fits with the benchtop and cupboards beautifully! Will be in in Sicily all of December and January, so really looking forward to the whole holiday experience. Buona fortuna con il progeto di questa estate! Ciao, Diana

  • Tom

    Where in Sicila are you? I will be in Enna in June. Tom Sottile

    • Jann

      Hi Tom–I’m in Southeast Sicily (Ragusa Ibla). I’ll email you my phone # in case you get down my way.

  • Dennis Berry

    I could not find a definition for graniglia. But as any student of neurology would know an oligodendroglia is a nerve cell branch in the brain. The name of Greek origin translates few tree glue. Granite/granito . Graniglia/ composite granito held together by glue?

    • Jann

      Well, Dennis, thank you very much for clearing up that mystery with a fine linguistic analysis! Bravo.

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