From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home Summary & Study Guide

Tembi Locke
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From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home Summary & Study Guide Description

From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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The following version of the book was used to create this study guide: Locke, Tembi. From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home. Simon & Schuster, 2019. Amazon Kindle Ebook Edition.

In the Prologue, Tembi Locke is in Sicily, about to scatter her husband Saro's ashes on his family's land. The first chapter opens with the story of how they met and fell in love while Tembi was on an exchange trip in Florence. It then flashes forward to the time surrounding Saro's death from cancer, and the early days of grief during which Tembi plans to take Saro's ashes to Sicily with their daughter Zoela. Tembi then returns to the early years of their relationship, writing about how Saro's parents essentially disowned him for marrying outside their Sicilian culture.

During the first summer after Saro's death, Tembi and Zoela travel to his hometown in Sicily to spend a month there living with his mother, who is also a widow. It is clear that there has been a rapprochement between Saro, Tembi, and his parents in the intervening years since their marriage, but it is unclear how close Tembi is to her mother-in-law. In Sicily, they begin to forge a new relationship, sharing in their grief, the traditional death rituals of the town, and a common love of good food. Tembi writes about how Saro's parents eventually came to accept his marriage to Tembi and reflects on some of the cross-cultural elements in their relationship. She and Zoela travel around Sicily, learning how to navigate their grief. Tembi and Nonna grow closer to each other, though Tembi wonders what the future will hold for them and their relationship. Before leaving Sicily, Tembi scatters Saro's remaining ashes in his family's olive grove.

On the one-year anniversary of Saro's death, Tembi has a get-together in his honor where she tries to recreate his characteristic hospitality and signature culinary dishes. She writes about some of their life together during his many-year battle with cancer, focusing on when his parents came to visit them in LA after his diagnosis. The trip highlighted cultural differences, but also the similarities between their two families who share a love of good food and good hospitality. Perhaps for the first time, Saro's parents realize that he has a life full of love and support in America, even though it is far away from them.

Tembi decides to return to Sicily for another extended stay with Nonna in the second summer after Saro's death. Tembi is keen for Zoela to experience Sicilian culture and learn where food comes from, so she arranges for them to make cheese with the local cheesemonger. During the process, Tembi realizes that her life is like the cheese, being remolded and reshaped through her process of grieving and living without Saro. During this second summer, Tembi and Nonna's relationship reaches new levels of closeness and intimacy. Nonna shows Tembi what she has prepared in case of her own illness or death, and announces that she is giving her house to Tembi and Zoella. Tembi now has a home of her own in Saro's birthplace and a strong familial connection with his blood relatives.

In Part Four, Tembi and Zoela return to Sicily for the third summer after Saro's death. Though grief is still there, Tembi is learning to navigate it and is slowly starting to think about what the future may hold for her. In Saro's hometown, she is now accepted as one of the locals and feels a sense of belonging and connection to this place where she has built a second home for herself and her daughter. Her parents come to visit them in Sicily, bringing her two families, two worlds, and two homes together in one place where she concludes that "the wound of loss had become a scar of love" (3812).

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This section contains 642 words
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