On Easter Sunday morning we get an email from my father-in-law in Italy telling us their plans for the day. His comment, ‘we’re going out for lunch, hope we will be back in time for dinner’, makes us laugh and wonder at the Easter feast they will eat, keeping them busy all afternoon.
When we speak to them, much later in the day, we find out that their lunch did indeed last until long after five, and that they are far too full for another meal. Instead my father-in-law will just have a caffelatte, his standby dinner in times of sickness or super huge lunches.
Our own lunch is simple, as we decide to keep the black sea bream for the evening. We enjoy hearty bowls of minestrone, almost too warm for the Beirut sunshine, but not quite. And then a plate of foul (lovely Lebanese broad bean dish) prepared by the concierge’s wife and brought upstairs for us on a saucer with her sweet shy smile. As we savour every mouthful. I imagine her making it in her tiny one room home on the ground floor of our building, her four children around her feet, her eight-month belly swelling with the fifth, and I wish I had enough Arabic to thank her properly or even better to ask her for the recipe.