A Year in the Village of Eternity: The Lifestyle of Longevity in Campodimele, Italy

A Year in the Village of Eternity: The Lifestyle of Longevity in Campodimele, Italy

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by Tracey Lawson
     
 

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It's a typical morning in Campodimele, Italy, and a
ninety-three-year-old woman is kneading her daily bread, while her
ninety-six-year-old neighbor pedals by on his bicycle ... In this
sun-drenched village in the Aurunci Mountains, the residents enjoy
astonishing longevity, such that scientists from the World Health
Organization have dubbed it

Overview

It's a typical morning in Campodimele, Italy, and a
ninety-three-year-old woman is kneading her daily bread, while her
ninety-six-year-old neighbor pedals by on his bicycle ... In this
sun-drenched village in the Aurunci Mountains, the residents enjoy
astonishing longevity, such that scientists from the World Health
Organization have dubbed it the "village of eternity." Not only are the
people of Campodimele living longer-the male life expectancy is 26
percent higher than the U.S. average-but they also have substantially
lower blood pressure than their countrymen, and the cholesterol levels
of newborn babies.
So, what's their secret? In A Year in the Village of Eternity,
Tracey Lawson chronicles twelve months of life in Campodimele,
highlighting the villagers' cooking and eating habits, which many
believe are key to their long, healthy lives. Their meals are simple and
wholesome, dependent on high-quality meats and cheeses, local olives,
homemade pastas, and hearty legumes. Lawson provides a year's worth of
recipes for cooks at home, accompanied by sumptuous illustrations and
peppered with sensible health advice and transporting tales of a place
unlike any other.

Editorial Reviews

Timothy R. Smith
Passion for food oozes through Lawson's book. Her fresh, luscious prose stirs the senses. Most of all, the book makes you want to cook, and she has provided dozens of recipes to satiate that impulse.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Intrigued about reports of super longevity in the inhabitants of a mountainous Italian village situated between Rome and Naples, British journalist Lawson decided to spend time there and uncover their secret to long life. As she discusses, in this rich and engaging narrative, while genetics accounts for 30% of the good health of the citizens of Campodimele, nestled in the Aurunci Mountains, the remaining 70% is based on a combination of "hyper-Mediterranean" diet (consisting of olive oil; beans and pulses; meat mostly from goats and sheep rather than bovine; fish; red wine; and only a little salt and sweets), an active and social lifestyle until very old age, and a daily routine geared toward the changing light, weather, agriculture, and seasons. Lawson's narrative follows the seasons in a country year, delineating the culinary routines of the typical Campodimele resident and cook, who tends her own garden in the back of her house, shakes her own olives from the trees in the orchard, kills her own pig for a year's supply of salsiccia (sausage), bakes her own bread (from her homegrown flour, naturally), and makes her own amarena (sour cherries) jam and stores of bottled tomato sauce for the winter. Lawson beautifully describes food at its simplest and finest—green fava beans, homemade ribbonlike pasta, zucchini and hot peppers, shallots, and baby goat. (Aug.)
From the Publisher

“Magnificent…Passion for food oozes through Lawson's book. Her fresh, luscious prose stirs the senses. Most of all, the book makes you want to cook, and she has provided dozens of recipes to satiate that impulse.” —Washington Post

“A lovely meditation on the foods, lives, recipes, and traditions of this area of Italy, this will appeal to travelers and foodies.” —Library Journal

“Rich and engaging… Lawson's narrative follows the seasons in a country year, delineating the culinary routines of the typical Campodimele resident and cook… Lawson beautifully describes food at its simplest and finest--green fava beans, homemade ribbonlike pasta, zucchini and hot peppers, shallots, and baby goat.” —Publishers Weekly

Library Journal
Lawson, a British journalist, first visited Campodimele, Italy, to write about the health and longevity of its residents. Midway between Rome and Naples, Campodimele ("field of honey") is home to people whose life expectancy averages 95. Inhabitants share hard work, self-sufficiency, and traditions. They live with the changing of the farming seasons, church festivals, and the rhythms of nature—and really good food. Lawson's tribute to Campodimele is organized by month, from the olive harvest of January through the first wild asparagus of March, the wood harvest of July that will provide logs for the wood-fired ovens, and boar hunting in November. Bread is baked daily using sourdough starter that may be generations old, and everyone has a garden. Wild fruits, figs, sausages, tomatoes, and amarene cherries are preserved for winter. Many of the exquisitely delicious meals have their roots in cucina povera, the hungry times when the land was scoured for food. VERDICT A lovely meditation on the foods, lives, recipes, and traditions of this area of Italy, this will appeal to travelers and foodies.—Melissa Stearns, Franklin Pierce Univ. Lib., Rindge, NH
Kirkus Reviews

A small Italian village's secret to the Fountain of Youth.

Deep in the heart of the Aurunci range on the shores of central Italy lies a village where the average life expectancy for both men and women is 95, earning it the sobriquetIl Paese dell'Eterna Giovinezza(The Village of Eternal Youth). This fact caught the attention of British journalist Lawson, who traveled to Campodimele to investigate the phenomenon. "I came to Campodimele hoping I might learn how to live longer, but discovered something much more important—how to live well," she writes. The author's lighthearted mix of recipes and anecdotes are written with delicate prose that pays homage to the area's lifestyle and emphasizes the value of subtleties attributed to the residents' longevity. Lawson divides the sections by month, focusing on what the seasonal harvest brings—snails, wild boar, asparagus and more. Lawson observes that Italians don't "need an official call to celebrate. A new crop is a chance to invite your neighbors for lunch and enjoy the first fava beans of the year; a sunny day is an excuse for a walk in the mountains and meat grilled over an open wood fire; the start of the hunting season is the moment to gather friends for dinner to share your first kill of the year." It's an ideology she soon embraced. The author's account of a year in Campodimele doesn't burden readers with scientific information involving genetics, environment and diet. Rather, it captures the essence of everyday life.

Delightfully transports readers into the kitchens and the spirits of the villagers' longstanding customs.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608192861
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
08/23/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
589,242
File size:
3 MB

Meet the Author

Tracey Lawson discovered the joys of Italy's cuisine and
lifestyle while teaching English in Tuscany. She has spent ten years as a
news and features writer, covering foreign and domestic stories for
British newspapers, and edited the Food pages of The Scotsman for eighteen months. She is now the paper's Deputy Features Editor. A Year in the Village of Eternity is her first book.
Tracey Lawson discovered the joys of Italy's cuisine and lifestyle while teaching English in Tuscany. She has spent ten years as a news and features writer, covering foreign and domestic stories for British newspapers, and edited the Food pages of The Scotsman for eighteen months. She is now the paper's Deputy Features Editor. A Year in the Village of Eternity is her first book.

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