WHO is the author?
My name is Silvana M. Mattera and if there is one thing that I am not that is “one” thing.
“Too German to be Neapolitan, too Neapolitan to be German”, is probably the sentence over the years I found describing me the best. Born in the North of Germany in the early 70ies by one of those daring couples (my Mum German, my Dad Italian) that didn’t worry about cultural clashes, and raised not just in the South of Italy, but on a little volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples, called Ischia.
My German family is from Berlin and a part of it moved to the West, close to the Dutch border during WWII. Apparently my German Grandpa descends directly from the French Huguenots and there is rumours of my German Grandmother’s side having had some more Eastern European ancestors. My Italian family on the other side may allegedly derive straight from a very antique Greek settlement (we’re talking about 2000 years back…). And since there have been many other dominations in these area (Spanish, Arabian, etc.), there could be a little of anything else in my blood.
It resulted in a nomadic nature, a love for cultural melanges in every aspect, an inborn ease in handling different languages, an incredible curiosity towards all flavours and scents of the world, in the culinary, but also in the emotional sense, and probably a sort of genetically forced open-mindedness. As the sociologist Robert Ezra Park would put it, in his considerations about the condition as a cultural hybrid: “The destiny forcing him to live in two different and antagonist worlds at the same time, forces him to act as a cosmopolite and a foreigner, inevitably becoming a individual of broader horizons”.
I love my sea-view kitchen and my terrace in the centre of town, a glass of good wine while watching the world go by, making my hands dirty with earth, collecting all sorts of weird recipes from all over, admiring the colours of nature, anything green and bio, exploring side-roads and find adventures hidden behind every corner, I have a new passion for yoga and an old passion for swimming, you’d see me happy as a child in flea markets, car-boot sales and antique shops, and even more on farmers markets. And I love books and newspapers (I am able to read a newspaper as if it was a book, that means nearly everything, from top to bottom), photography and art, and writing, writing, writing.
Add on top a British husband (David, My Biggest Love and the Best Man of All, Marine Chief Engineer for 30 years), a 2 year old “wandering European Union, dissidents included” called Brian, a little house on a sunny island in the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea, lots of travelling, since life is too short to be boring, and what you get is a tiny taste of what you could find in this blog.
My background could not be far from these diversity patterns, of course. A Language High School in the 80ies, a degree in Political Science with specialization in Eastern European Relations (former Soviet Republics) in the early 2000s, a diplomatic traineeship for the Italian Foreign Ministry, 3 years of free-lancing journalism and the enrollment in the Italian Journalist Register, an independent travellers blog from 2004 to 2006, in between of many years of free-lance translating, and then all at sudden a completely new career at sea: from Junior to Chief Stew to Chef on luxury mega-yachts. If you are interested in more details about that, you can ask for my cv and menu samples here or get in touch for further information.
WHY - This blog is meant to share a little of an “unconventional” life experience, the cultural melting pot probably being the key-point for a different way to look at things. But also to share all the different life, job and travel experiences collected over the years, which helped to build up a bulk of stories to tell.
I’ve been travelling for most of my life and always felt the need to tell and show people what fantastic things I’ve seen.
I’ve been cooking since I was a young girl and always loved to share my passion for good food and thoughts with my friends, loved ones and strangers.
I’ve been longing for years to have my old family home finally restored, and I want to invite you to follow the step by step accomplishment of one of my numerous projects.
I have left journalism and writing for yachting and left yachting to become a Mum: now I would like to put all of this in one cylinder and come out with one giant rabbit, allowing me to work, write and be a Mum all at once. Challenging?
WHEN - To start with I am planning to publish roughly one new post every week. 1 In The Kitchen, 1 On the Terrace, 1 DIY, 1 On The Road a month. In the future I may increase the posts, but being a busy Mom I want to be sure to be able to cope with the amount of work. For now Yachting Services is going to be a static page, as it is meant to be a way to advertise my services to yachts coming to the Gulf of Naples, with a chance I may be adding some events at a later stage.
WHAT - This blog is about an Anglo-German-Italian experience on an island in the Med. It is about:
FOOD – in the broader sense. Recipes, of course, and cooking: a bit of the Neapolitan and Italian culinary tradition, as well as German dishes, and not to forget the British influence. Get ready for some international stuff too, since I have been collecting recipes for years on my travels I will have to let you know if they work once back home. But also about farmers markets, organic food, the challenge of finding the right ingredients in the wrong countries, the importance of having good quality for your basic ingredients, etc.
YACHTING ASSISTANCE FOR THE GULF OF NAPLES – Go to the Yachting Services page to find out about my shore-based “Yachting Assistance Company” based in the Gulf of Naples and about my career at sea.
GARDENING – More than gardening, this is going to be about the frustration of not owning a garden and doing with what you have: a terrace and a roof. But, believe me, the results can still be excellent.
DIY and HOME IMPROVEMENT – Be part of our team and follow our step by step major Home Improvement Project, as well as the little daily creations, surrounding it.
TRAVEL – Or the adventures you can live out there. It’s not about historical or architectural details, good restaurants or places to stay – you can find those anywhere – but about how many incredible things and people you can find in the world, if only you are open and flexible enough. And of course, about life at sea.
HOW - A few little notes about the use of this website.
1) On www.inthesun.it I am sharing a little about my passions and experiences: all recipes, stories, pictures are tiny fragments of my life or will otherwise be credited for. I am probably not creating anything new, but at least I’m doing it in my own way.
I am happy and proud if this can be of your interest, and I’d feel blessed if you find it so incredibly brilliant you feel like sharing it with friends or on social networks.
I’d feel less flattered though, if you were not citing my blog appropriately where due, or if you were not linking back to www.inthesun.it when sharing.
2) Recipes are tested at least 3 times before publishing, but there can be differences in the end result. This in most of cases is due to the different quality of ingredients, sometimes climate, temperature and latitude, but of course there is infinite other variables. I hope you don’t get stressed if something doesn’t work straight away: I’ll be on the other side of your computer, more than willing to give suggestions or support. Sometimes it is just a matter of trying again, until you find your own little tricks. As my Grandma used to say: practice makes the master!
3) When this Blog first started in 2004, it was tri-lingual (German, English, and Italian). It was extremely hard work and too difficult to cope with, especially if you want to do regular postings. I never really managed to catch up with all the translating I should have done. Let’s be honest it was a total disaster.
After deep soul searching, I came to the conclusion that this time my web-site should only be written in English, although not my native language. My family, friendship, work and also my mental environments are English-speaking and I believe using this language to start my new adventure is a fantastic challenge.
Please, forgive if you find errors or poetic licences, if grammar, syntax and punctuation are not always spot on. I’m doing the best I can! After all, I’m Italian (at least partially).
4) I am not a photographer. I adore taking pictures, but in the best of cases I can be a photo-amateur, and I know for a fact there is still too much I need to learn, especially as regards to food-photography, so bare with me. On my side, I am using Photoshop as little as possible, if not-at-all: for a start I am a kind of useless with it, but also because it forces me to try to take a decent picture in the first place.
5) I am definitely not Chef; a good home-cook and crew-chef, yes. But working side by side with many trained and qualified chefs over the past years, thought me to recognize my limits.
6) I am not a travelling agent, a professional florist or gardener, a DIY authority (I have got my husband for that, thank God), but would still like to tell you stories about my experiences in those fields. For each section you will find a short description of what I am planning to do.
Nowadays the world has a widespread diffusion of all sorts of experts: I am not. I have too much respect for the hard work and training of the above-mentioned professions to think I am. And still, I believe there can be a nice exchange: I can show you my little discoveries and experiments and you can tell me about yours.
Life is for learning, and here I am waiting for input.
7) I hope to be mainly writing for home cooks, mothers, mothers who would like to be home-cooks and the other way around, balcony and roof gardeners, vegivores, mentally independent travellers, home improvement fans, expats who moved to Italy, eco-friendly people, yachties coming to the Gulf of Naples and needing shore-based assistance and anyone who finds my little personal sphere interesting enough to spend time and effort reading my mental quibbles.
www.inthesun.it MAY NOT BE FOR:
Any sort of fundamentalism, (whether it be about food, eco-friendliness, healthy life style, view of the world, etc.). You are welcome to be anything you like and live as you please, but I am free to have my own views and don’t need to be converted, thanks. So are probably not my readers. Looking for proselytes for you cause? The internet is immense, I’m sure you will find somewhere more suitable.
People looking for perfection: I am trying to wean myself off my own perfectionism and I would just like to be “me” on here, without having to strive for an ideal of flawlessness. If perfection is what you are looking for, please try somewhere else.
For a more detailed version of the Terms and Conditions, have a read of my Legal Notes.