We only had 6 hours on the island of Lipari. It was August 7, 2019 and my family and I had arrived by traghetto from mainland Sicily around midday. For the daily dip in the sea essential to many Italians on vacation like Enrico’s father who was with us, we went straight to a black pebble beach called Canneto. Those who dared swam with the jellyfish, and in our wet bathing suits, we all ate Sicilian bread called pane cunzato piled high with salty capers, marinated eggplant, and sundried tomatoes.

In a drive around the island, we stopped at a cliff where prickly pear cactus with yellow fruits and magenta bougainvillea tumbled down a dirt path towards the sea. In the distance Stromboli exhaled white smoke from its crater and the wind blew it along like a song.

At a single stand, a single man was selling little bottles of Malvasia wine and figurines carved out of volcanic rock. I was drawn to a bag of hand-made cookies, as if they needed to tell me something, so I counted six euros from my wallet and took them home.  

In a very brief piece published today in a literary journal called River Teeth, I try to understand why — of all the things I needed to bring home from Sicily — it was these Italian pastries.

Happy to share it with you: These Italian Pastries at River Teeth.