While most of you enjoy the UK Bank Holiday or Memorial Day, I was glancing through the Italian newspapers and they all make mention of a new study into the Med diet as it is known by a Spanish group of doctors specialising in the working of the brain. It seems that if you combine the diet with eating walnuts ( noce) on a daily basis your memory function diminishes less as you get older. Whenever the Med diet is mentioned in the press here Puglia gets a mention too as Italy believes probably rightly that we stick pretty much to the diet down here. We also produce a load of walnuts ( noce) though quite why I can buy Californian ones cheaper than I can local ones I haven’t figured out yet. The big difference here in Puglia to most places I have lived is the lack of dairy and red meat in the diet. Milk is expensive €1.59 a litre and Puglians drink it only in their first cup of coffee. Red meat is also quite costly lamb say is €18-20 a kilo and rarely features on the table apart from on Easter Sunday. Cheese other than to be grated and put on pasta is not eaten a great deal , double cream is unheard of and butter whilst available I have never seen in any Italian household I have been to.
The Spanish study adds that the diet rich in fresh foods like veg, fruit and pulses not only helps you remember things but also guards against heart problems, strokes, high blood pressure and all the other usual suspects. I am always a little dubious about these claims as when I was wheeled into the E.R. in Florida with my heart attack the duty doctor nodded to me sagely and said ‘ heavy smoker are you’, no don’t smoke. ‘high cholesterol’ no normal. ‘ no exercise’ 45 mins a day on a rowing machine 3 four mile walks a week. Oh well he said we will put you in the don’t know why category .
I have been eating walnuts for several years now only because I like them and as a snack they are good if you store them in their shells as they take so long to get into you eat very few a day. So do they, along with this wonderful diet we eat down here, help the memory. Well this morning I put my porridge bowl not into the microwave but into the appliance alongside it, the fridge, and then sat down to read the paper until, after a few minutes, I realised that there was no ping from the kitchen so the answer is no !!
Now if you have 9 minutes this is not only a song about the sea ( Mediterranean so you get the link ) but is an history lesson for this region. We were the Kingdom of Two Sicilies and indeed for many years the Northern League political party thought we should go back to being a separate country again. It is interesting to see all the countries that have invaded and owned this neck of the woods.
Finally it wouldn’t be Monday without a quick update for you on the hated but now so much talked about IMU first property building tax. It seems the EU are now going to relax the measures they placed on Italy at the height of the crisis and will allow direct taxes to be repealed. The sting in the tail is of course that they want to see indirect taxes increased instead. So wily old Silvio Berlosconi ( Pdl righties) stood on a platform to repeal the tax ( a direct tax) in his election campaign whilst the government lead by Sr. Letta ( PD lefties) stood on a platform to not raise IVA ( sales tax VAT etc) which is an indirect tax. Let the games begin.