I heard this little anecdote from my sister many years ago when I was staying with her in the small village where she lives….in Italy. It happened to her father in law.
Proverb : ” Bread and cheese at home is better than roast meat elsewhere”.
Parable. ; Nicolle detested polenta! So that when he came home from the fields and spotted the polenta on the stove, he started thinking fast.
” I won’t be here for dinner, ” he said as he flung a scarf around his neck ” Giovanni has invited me to his table tonight.” and he rushed out the door before his wife could say anything.
Little did he know that his wife had cooked up enough polenta for all the relatives in the village. all he saw was the little she kept for themselves ! So he rushed over to his son’s house as fast as his little bow-legs could carry him. There, he milled around in front of the fire and chatted small talk while the wife prepared the table.
‘ You’ll stay for dinner, father? she queried “…we’re having polenta.”
He winced at her in horror…”Oh bugger!” he said to himself..then ; “No, no, caro…er..my sister, she has invited me to her table for dinner…speaking of which..I better hurry on..” and he flung his scarf on again and hurried out the door.
‘Hungry, hungry, hungry..” he whispered in time to his quickening steps and his stomach rumbled as he passed through his sister’s front door.
‘Ah…Nicolle! ” she greeted him..” just in time for dinner. Sit down, I’ll get you some polenta!”
” Gesu Christo!” he cried as he flung his hands to the heavens..” doesn’t anybody in this town eat anything but bloody polenta!?” and he stormed out leaving them with open mouths and a slammed door. He came home to his own kitchen with a long face and slumped shoulders. He was beaten and resigned to his fate, polenta it would have to be.
His wife (who knew his dislikes by now) glanced at him out of the corner of her eye and smiled. She reached into the oven and pulled out a covered dish which she placed in front of the dejected man at the table and uncovered a bowl of ravioli and cheese….Nicolle’s face lit up into an ecstatic smile and he sighed very, very deeply. His wife patted him on top of his head…
“Better, you see, to eat at your own table, rather than run around town for scraps from others.”
Nicolle nodded his head gratefully, for his mouth was full of food.