An essay by Andrea Petrini
Once upon a time there was a little girl. Much better: once upon a time there was a clever little girl in a green coat. One day, Little Green Riding Hood – green, of course, as the color of her beloved country – went into the woods. Alone. Unlike Hans, unlike Gretel, she didn’t have a clue, a hint of what to do or a trail of stones to return to. But she made it all by herself, no help needed. And, despite all odds, came back a woman. Everybody then rushed to her place down in the valley to greet her back home with presents and good will. Of course, she never was the same again. Once you manage to see the world, you change forever. She had been dating and hanging out with the Wolf and, as the truly foxy person she was, she nailed the old fucker once and for all. A happy end of the story to be continued – in a fairytale, you might think this was the conclusion – but it was only the beginning of a brand new one.
Like the most universal fairytales, this Slovenian one comes with a complimentary bonus or, if you behave, even two. You have to go with the flow, though, and abandon all you already know. Our present fairytale might sound like a most convenient resume. A public recap of general interest that fits all sizes and needs, a Reader’s Digest meant to help the slow ones to carefully insert, step by step, the right pieces into the puzzle. Oh, but beware, dear reader, when you enter our beautiful realm. Ana Roš is, for sure, our cherished Slovenian Queenie. She might knit for us all the most dexterous, the most plausible storytelling one could stumble into these days, but Hiša Franko in truth is no fancy fairytale. Her life and times are a much more complex, rewarding narrative. When it comes to cooking, to devoting your life to the stove, to representing your country and pushing things through, no one has taken this as literally as Ana did. The long and winding road sports many narrow bends, sudden cul de sacs, uncountable parallel paths and a profuseness of hidden ways. To circle down and get closer to the spotted truth. Each fellow traveler that sets down on his way to Kobarid should take time to breathe, to enjoy the wanderlust. The future lies ahead, but so does the past. And nowhere more than at Ana and Valter’s Hiša Franko does it go round and around.