Stone containers full of wheat, ceramic tubs full of olive oil, wooden barrels of wine. All around us hung herbs, balsam, rosemary, melissa, oregano, basil, chamomile, spearmint and many more. On top of wooden boards fresh soap was drying, letting off an amazing smell. We smelt the soap bars again and again and kept asking grandma to tell us its secrets.
Oil, wheat, wine and soap, are essential goods for every household (grandmother used to say); when they are around, the household is rich. Soap is not just for the bathroom and the laundry, but also for the garden and wardrobes. I grate a bar of soap and mix it with the soil of my tomato plants and vegetables in my garden. I put a few shavings of lavender soap in the wardrobes to deter moths. Where there is soap, it is clean.
I’ve kept the smell of soap in my memory till today. I have inherited grandma’s soap recipes, all stating that soap should be made with 100% olive oil. I have kept the recipes and have tried to revive them properly. I wanted to feel the caress and the aroma of real soap once again.