Lina Germi and her husband, an electrician, live in a house originally used as wine shop and trattoria in the early 1800s. Signora Germi, a tiny woman who wears a tie every single day, says that despite her retirement, she works more now than ever, feeding her children, nephews and grandchildren, and she has a freezer full of handmade tortellini to prove it.
Signora Germi's kitchen is spotless and what little she puts in it is totally organized, right down to the spacing of the bags of flour in the petite refrigerator. The fridge only has what she needs: flour, Parmegiano, Prosciutto di Parma (not kidding about the last two), butter, and eggs. She buys produce daily and that small loot sits in a basket quietly outside the kitchen door. The place is almost lab-like in its regimentation. Yet when you meet Lina, she charms you with her winking eye and deep laugh and there is nothing about being with her that feels clinical.
She made up for the loss of the red cabinets by buying herself a red couch and painting the china cabinet bright red, where she insisted we pose together for a photo.
As I left I finally asked about that tie. "I wear a tie all day, even to cook and clean." I asked if she wore a dress in her wedding and she replied "Yes, and that was the last day I ever did."
Thanks for the visit, Signora Germi!
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Related: A Peek Into Parma, Italy
(Images: Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan)