Author(s): Mary Taylore Simeti
This is a year of Sicilian life, its seasons and its sacred festivals, its gorgeous fruits and demanding family life, its casual assassinations and village feasts, its weather and the neighbours. It chronicles a life divided between an apartment in the city of Palermo with the weekends and summer devoted to sustaining life in an old family farm. What makes this journal truly exceptional is that Mary Simeti is both an outsider, (an American who had studied medieval history and worked as a volunteer on a social welfare programme) and an insider. For this journal was written after twenty years of immersion in Sicilian life, as wife to a Sicilian, mother to two Sicilian teenagers, as gardener, cook and carer for a suspicious mother-in- law.
Mary Taylor Simeti was born and brought up in New York. In 1962, she went to Sicily to work as a volunteer in a community development centre run by the social reformer, Danilo Dolci. In 1964 she married Antonio Simeti, an agricultural economist who taught at the University of Palermo. Simeti and her husband now help their daughter to run the family farm, where they produce wine, olive oil and organic produce. She is the author of On Persephone's, Island: A Sicilian Journal (1986) a history of Sicilian food entitled Pomp and Sustenance and co-author of Bitter Almonds. Her most recent book is Travels with a Medieval Queen. In addition to writing on food and travel for the Italian public, Simeti has written for various American and British publications including the New York Times.