The Horrors of your Childhood Never Truly Die

When I was a kid, my family went every summer (every one, mandatorily) to Southern Italy, specificlly to Puglia, where my father was born.

We would get sunburned, swim, overeat... everything you can expect from Southern Italy in summer. And then there was the Horror in the Cupboard.

My grandmother, you see, in one occasion had made limoncello. This particular limoncello, it seems, was not particularly tasty. Every night she would ask my parents "Volete un po' di limoncello?", and my parents would politely refuse. The bottle was then replaced in the cupboard.

Over the years, the limoncello did not improve. The sugar started to crystallize. Possibily the color changed a bit. The alcohol certainly evaporated. But my grandmother (who does not drink liquor) never noticed. She continued offering it to the family, who continued to refuse. The only reductions in the level of the bottle happened when unsuspecting guests that had not been warned accepted the drink.

I never actually tried that specific bottle, being a kid, but I tried others later on. And I never liked the cloying sweetness. But this did not concern me too much, because -you see- limoncello at that time, the Eighties, was completely unknown outside of Southern Italy. Limoncello was safely confined in its cupboard.

When the Horrors go Global

And then it so happened that the global fashion/trade engine that decides what things become popular grabbed limoncello as the drink-of-the-decade. It could have picked slivovitz. It could have picked sburlon. But no, it chose the damn yellow sludge... and, to my horror, in duty free shops everywhere, in liquor stores, in supermarkets where prices are written in strange currencies, it appeared. People were drinking, no, they were swilling limoncello! They were offering it to me, and they would insist, because hey you are Italian and so is limoncello, so...

And I have learned this much: You can't escape your limoncello.