Aesop, Morals, an Indian Summer and Frying Foods to the Sound of Cicadas

Did any of you study French at school? Did any of you study La Fontaine and his interpretations of Aesops’ fables?  If so, you might empathise with my frame of mind …

There are only a few hours before October makes its entrance, and Autumn (Fall) sets in and I for one cannot resign myself to the seasonal finality of it all.  I twitch and twirl during this seasonal turning point of the year.   Once October truly gains ground, I find myself going with the flow and enjoying so much of what it has to offer here in Italy … but until the last of the Summer days and temperatures give up their ghost, I find myself battling against despondency.  In some ways I am much like the grasshopper or the cicada in Aesops fable.  The naughty one who liked to dance throughout Summer and found itself without food to live off once Winter came rapping at the door.  The one who fell foul of that very nasty Ant … whose self satisfied response to the grasshopper’s request for some food was one of sheer meritocratic venom.  “So what did you do all summer long? you sang?  Well … you can jolly well dance now ! huh! see if I care” … sort of thing.

What’s wrong with dancing and singing throughout summer?   Surely it brings pleasure to all of us?  I love the sound of cicadas … to me their croak is the epitome of Summer.  And I was very suprised just the other night, a very hot and sultry night for this time of year, while I set about making some supper, to realise how passionately they still sang … despite it being almost the end of September.  Cooking can be a very self-absorbing business but their song was just so full of ‘life’ that evening that it interrupted my train of culinary thought.  So much so that I dropped everything and taped them, outside our balcony (where scaffolding is up because of work being done on the building).  Go on … have a go … you listen too and tell me that their chirping doesn’t transport your spirit to a place of tranquil wishfulness !


1 The batter …2 Broccolo romano … blanched in salted water, drained and set aside to cool.3 4 5 The sliced courgettes are coated in flour.6 7 The apple is cored and then sliced …8 And the frying begins!9These implements for frying could be taken for surgical tools I suppose … they are very useful indeed.
10 11 Fried apple rounds … sprinkled with grated pecorino romano cheese.12 Fried broccolo romano florets …13 Fried courgettes ….14 I kept thinking of that despicable ant as I trotted the food to the table …15 What is food for? ….16 If not for sharing?

Could that have been the moral of Aesops fable, after all, only in disguise?

The Cicada and the Ant.
Jean de la Fontaine (1621 – 1695)

The Cicada, having sung
All summer long,
Found herself short of everything
When the north wind came.
Not a single piece
Of fly or tiny worm.
She went, starving,
To her neighbor the Ant,
Begging her to lend her
Some grain to survive
Until the spring.
I will pay you back, she said,
Before August, animal’s word,
Interest and capital.
The Ant is not a lender
That is the least of her flaws.
What were you doing during the warm days?
She said to this borrower.
-Night and day, to everyone,
I was singing, don’t you mind.
-You were singing? I couldn’t be more pleased
Well!  Dance now.

La Cigale Et La Fourmi.
Jean de La Fontaine.

La Cigale, ayant chanté
Tout l’été,
Se trouva fort dépourvue
Quand la bise fut venue:
Pas un seul petit morceau
De mouche ou de vermisseau.
Elle alla crier famine
Chez la Fourmi sa voisine,
La priant de lui prêter
Quelque grain pour subsister
Jusqu’à la saison nouvelle.
Je vous paierai, lui dit-elle,
Avant l’oût foi d’animal,
Intérêt et principal.
La Fourmi n’est pas prêteuse :
C’est là son moindre défaut.
Que faisiez-vous au temps chaud ?

Dit-elle á cette emprunteuse.
-Nuit et jour à tout venant
Je chantais, ne vous déplaise.
-Vous chantiez ? j’en suis fort aise

Eh bien ! dansez maintenant.

About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
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5 Responses to Aesop, Morals, an Indian Summer and Frying Foods to the Sound of Cicadas

  1. Deep-fried seasonal produce? What’s not to like?

  2. A delightful post, Jo. And I so empathise with your feelings about this time of year. I love summer and always feel so bad when it’s obviously over. But like you, I do eventually get over it.

  3. Karen says:

    Love your fried apples with pecorino romano.

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