Profile of Gisa Sotis

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Appears in

In Nonna's Kitchen

In Nonna's Kitchen

By Carol Field

Published 1997

  • About

Oaks, olives, and vines march over Gisa Sotis’s hilly property with its stupendous view of Ischia and the bay of Naples in the distance and the medieval city of Mintumo on the closest hill. Everywhere you look, something is growing. Four hundred grapevines produce very nice wine and her olives become more than 600 quarts of olive oil and brined olives. She has fruit trees, a kitchen garden from which she picks vegetables and herbs, even a very old carob tree with pods hanging in profusion. The carob was once used for flavoring alcohol and the pods were fed to the animals. Now Gisa’s cats and dogs eat the short pasta made especially for pets that is dropped into their separate bowls at the exact same moment so they won’t squabble. Her grandchildren—Nicoletta, affectionate and strong-willed at twenty-one months, and Danièle, a sweet, thoughtful boy of eight—are often at her side, for three generations live together in her very large and handsomely furnished house. She is the last of her generation, and she knows that she is the last to live the way her own mother and grandmother did. Gisa’s daughter, Grazia, has a Ph.D. in Italian and Comparative Literature and teaches in Rome, a two-hour commute; Grazia’s husband, Aldo Maiettini, works for a large Swedish telecommunications company and travels frequently.