Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

In Tuscany we use a word that is obsolete and a little nostalgic for lunch that is cooked at home during the day… “il desinare”.

“Desinare” in fact, recalls the interruption of the ‘fast’, when eating wasn’t always a sure thing. We had few meals, and the one during the day was almost always the main and most substantial, also because it had to give you enough energy to be able to work.

Over the last decades, the meaning of the word has changed and it has become a part of dialect; a sweet and welcoming sound to identify a meal that is cooked at home sweet home by mamma or grandma.

“Il desinare” is a meal consumed very early, around noon. It is almost never a moden or light lunch. It is a slow meal, because it presumes that you will sit at the table and taste each course with the napkin tucked in so you won’t stain your shirt with sauce.

The crust of unsalted bread is put on the table so you can pick on it during the brief intervals between one dish and another, in the midst of constant chatter and tasty, flavorful chats.


Every woman is the queen of her kitchen and has the instruments and gestures with which she pays her respects to this simple yet profound rite: the wooden spoon to mix the sauce, the pan that sizzles, the vegetables to be sauteed, the mincing knife, and the dish towel to keep your hands clean and dry.

The good bread knife, the stove on which to keep the food warm, the grinder, the kneading trough, the wooden pantry, the espresso maker that shouldn’t be washed lest the coffee doesn’t come out well.

You alwyas “desina” in the kitchen and while mom continues to cook, you sit down for a minute and debate about having some more….until you must say, “I just can’t eat another drop”. But it isn’t over.

You sip your boiling hot espresso while you listen to the dishes being rinsed in the sink…an illogical and anxious desire to put everything in its place.

Francesco Sorelli – Il Bisarno Oltre la Sieve