“From Scratch” by Tembi Locke

In her novel From Scratch, Tembi Locke documented her tragic love story with Sicilian chef Saro. Locke claims that in Sicily, every story begins with a marriage or a death. Saro’s death and the tragedy of this story served as an incentive to start the novel (1). The woman has long and sorrowfully experienced the death of her husband, but at the same time, his death put pen to flame once again (Locke 4). Having come to terms with the loss, she decides to keep the memories of him in her stories forever.

The main character felt different from other girls and did not converge with their interests. She came to study art history and expand her knowledge; she did not have a credit card from her parents and wanted to spend time in Italy on shopping trips and walks with friends. For this reason, she couldn’t wait to be able to separate herself from the bulk of the girls.

In this scene, Tembi compares himself to his long-lost girlfriend Sloane, against which he loses in appearance. Sloane, being an actress, was able to present herself against the background of an insecure and tired Tembi.

Tembi failed to calculate the budget and spent more than she expected. Due to the girl’s nature, she could not admit to her parents about her difficult life situation and ask them for more support than they had already given her.

The husband was born in Sicily to a family of farmers and lived for a while in Buffalo, New York, when his family moved there as a teenager. However, they soon had to return to Sicily, and a year later, he left for New York to study translation at the University of Florence.

Stolen bicycles were often traded on the Florence black market, and the shiny red bike with a basket and a bell that was given to Timbi was, in fact, probably stolen goods. The gift was considered big for the heroine since no man had ever made an effort before for the sake of fulfilling her fleeting mentioned needs.

The irony of the quote in this context is that the heroine first could not accept the gift and wanted to pay for it. She did not believe Saro’s intentions at first, but only by allowing herself to accept this gift, she begins a love story with a young man.

The exquisite menu and undeniable Italian hospitality were one of the reasons. It was a place where future Italian movie stars, indie musicians, leftist politicians, and stage veterans dined with tourists. People also flocked here because of the unusual, elegant interior and the atmosphere of luxury.

Even though Caroline pretended that she was not interested in other people’s personal lives, for the main character, she gave the impression of a person who was very interested in this. Caroline could consider herself superior to other people, and the heroine’s detachment from the guys seemed fake to her.

Saro bought a bicycle for Tembi on the black market to save money on the purchase, but meanwhile to fulfill the heroine’s wish, which she never asked for directions. Knowing that the bike was stolen, Tembi called Saro a “bicycle thief.”

In this scene, Lucia refers to an old American TV show that Tembi didn’t know about before. This was typical for Italians but not for Tembi, who felt cornered at mentioning something local.

Tembi’s parents divorced when she was eight and then created new families and divorced again. Due to frequent moves, the heroine had no home concept; she did not feel needed anywhere. The name Tembekile was given to the heroine Miriam Makeba, an exiled South African folk singer known as Mama Africa.

Tembi’s father arrived in all Texas regalia, complete with a cowboy hat, denim trousers, and crocodile leather boots. This authenticity made Tembi’s heart melt because she loved her father and was glad to see him in the old repertoire.

According to Tembi’s mother, she was the child of activists who instilled in her a sense of cultural pride and political awareness. For this reason, her daughter’s desire to study in Italy was incomprehensible to her.

In this scene, Tembi’s father tells his daughter about his understanding of love. He believes that there are many people with whom she can fall in love, but without coming to peace and harmony with her partner, the relationship will never succeed.

Contrasting views were reduced to the confrontation of water and stone in the landscape. Tembi felt between fluidity and impenetrability, and this unity with nature made her feel like she was the only one in the plane.

Zoela was the reason Saro continued to fight for his life. Tembi, who also went through a difficult period, found peace in daughter as well. The time in Sicily helped the heroes regain the strength they needed.

I agree with both parts of this statement. The choice of relationships depends only on the person since, in most cases, each person receives as much love as they give. Consequently, harmonious relationships are achieved with equal efforts on all family members.

This statement in the context of the book is the name of a locality in Sicily. It shows that one should bow low before cultivating the land. Because of the nature of the soil, those who rely on the land to feed themselves must submit to backbreaking labor to survive.

I can partially agree with this statement. The environment in which a person is brought up has a key effect and forms his personality. It is easier for a traitor to grow up in the land of traitors than for a conscientious and kind person.

In this scene, Tembi gives Nonna the ash of her child. Realizing that the baby she gave birth to and brought up was lying in a small bag handed to her, she could not hide the emotions of horror and despair on her face.

Emanuela pulls Nonna away from the ash of her child, which is why the analogy with the image of the first responder takes place. She took the woman away from the traumatic experience and is trying especially to protect her from the coming horror.

During Tembi’s stay in Sicily, the Leaden seventies, characterized by rampant street violence ultra-right and ultra-left terrorism, had just ended. Tembi divided her husband’s ashes into three parts because she wanted to scatter one over an apricot tree and send the other two for burial in Los Angeles and to his mother.

Realizing that her daughter noticed this pattern, Tembi invites Zoela’s five friends to the house. Together with friends, the daughter played, wrote a letter to her deceased father, and after that, she asked to see her father’s ashes; Tembi could not fulfill this request for ethical reasons.

In this scene, Tembi refers to motherhood as something that helped her through difficult times. If earlier it was for the daughter’s sake that the parents continued to struggle with death, now for the sake of the daughter, Tembi tried to survive the loss of their loved one.

Work Cited

Locke, Tembi. From Scratch. Simon & Schuster, 2019.

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