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DOLCEAMARO (Bittersweet): Changing Times in Rural Tuscany

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 @ 6:00 pm 7:00 pm

The Camden Public Library welcomes back local food writer Nancy Harmon Jenkins for an online presentation that will provide an insider’s look at how Tuscany of the past contrasts with Tuscany of today. With photographs taken over the years Jenkins will give us an intimate look at how her Tuscan community has been transformed and how her neighbors have morphed into residents of the 21st century. Jenkins will reveal exactly how different Tuscany is from the version celebrated in romantic novels, travelogues, and films. Please email jpierce@librarycamden.org to request a Zoom link to attend.

Half a century ago, Camden resident and writer Nancy Harmon Jenkins bought a tumbled-down farm at the end of a dirt track in the steep and stony mountains of eastern Tuscany–a place with no electricity, no phone service, not much in the way of transportation, and running water only from a pipe in the dooryard. She turned this into a home for her family while she cooked, gardened, wrote, ate, celebrated the seasons, and raised olives to make her own oil. From her neighbors, who lived much as their grandparents had in the 19thcentury, Jenkins eagerly learned traditional skills–when to plant garlic and potatoes, how to fire a wood-burning oven, and how to know when the ham had been hung long enough to eat. “It transformed my life,” she says, “and gave me a deep understanding of food and where it comes from, of why we eat what we eat wherever we are.” 

Camden native Nancy Harmon Jenkins learned to read some years ago at the Camden Public Library. From there she went on to a career as a nationally known food writer and culinary historian, with eight cookbooks to her credit plus thousands of articles in publications from the New York Times to Saveur to Smithsonian. Most recently, she has published a long report on aquaculture in Maine for Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors.

55 Main Street
Camden, ME 04843 United States