When my mother gets home, she always does two things: she changes into her home clogs (zoccoli) and puts on her apron. You will never catch her at home wearing shoes or without her apron.
As soon as my mother entered my kitchen in the house where my husband and I were about to get married, in Orinda, California, she asked me where my apron was. The direct consequence of growing up with a constant apron-wearing mother was that I had mixed feelings about aprons and did not own one. I did not explain to my mother the cause, only the effect, i.e., the total absence of aprons in the house. My mother frowned and then plotted with my (then still future) husband to get an apron for herself while I was not watching, which was the morning after her arrival, when I was at work. The covert operation encountered some difficulties due to the high cost of aprons sold at Macy's, the only place my husband could think of as a possible source of the wanted item. Fortunately, TJ MAxx saved the day, and when I got back home from the office in the afternoon I found my mother solidly installed in my kitchen, wearing an apron. When she left to go back to Italy, the following week, she packed her grembiule and therefore my kitchen went back to its prior apron-less state.
The word grembiule comes from grembo, meaning lap. The same word is also used to describe the protective garment children in Italy wear in primary school. The one mandated by our school district was white. At the time I loved writing with a fountain pen and you can imagine the result, about which my mother was not happy, though I thought that blue ink and white fabric were a perfect match. As an aside, I still write with a blue-inked fountain pen (penna stilografica).
A little while ago, Chef Paz posted a photo of herself (minus the head) donning a brand new apron that was very much admired: Ilva at Lucullian Delights liked the apron idea and launched a one off event called Show Us Your Apron, for which this is my entry. Here's the roundup for this extremely successful event.
Well, indeed, I now own an apron, which I had considered buying even before I had read about the event. The apron came from the Arcata Farmers' Market, my favorite place in the world to shop for organic vegetables, fruit, plants and fresh eggs. The bench in the top photo is located just outside my home office and overlooks the ocean. The stump is next to our house and until about six months ago was the base of a giant spruce that had to be cut to prevent it from falling on our house.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the grembiule audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]