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My Generation

A Tuscan Dream Come True

How one couple sacrificed everything for life in a Tuscan village

Have you ever dreamed of leaving behind your ordinary life and moving to the picturesque hills of Tuscany? For Bill and Patty Sutherland, it was more than a fleeting fantasy.

See also: Recipe for success.

Ready to embrace their 50+ freedoms, they sold their house and business and moved to a scenic Tuscan Village. “The question that came to both of us was ‘what are you running away from?’” Bills says. “We’re not running away from anything,” Patty continued. “We’re running toward something.”

But instead of a retirement plan, Bill and Patty were working on a financial plan. They needed to come up with a way to support themselves. Soon, a delicious solution began to simmer. “We had been invited to enough (Tuscan) homes and the best food (came from) the local women who were just making dinner for us,” Patty says. Eventually, an idea started forming … and before they knew it, a Tuscan cooking school was formed.

Five months a year, a dozen students a week come to Tuscan Women Cook in this small Italian village to learn traditional cooking from the local matriarchs. Classes are in the morning — but this is no ordinary cooking school. The style of cooking they teach is called “poor food,” meaning they live off the land in the same way locals have been doing for hundreds of years. For lunch — they enjoy the fruits of their labor, and then in the afternoon, it’s off to experience local history and art with Patty. “We want them to understand the history and the poverty that existed in this area because it really, really does affect the culinary traditions here,” she says.

For students enrolled in the cooking classes, it’s a Tuscan dream vacation. But this is not just a source of income for Bill and Patty; they are also giving back to the town they now call home. “We realized that through the cooking school we really were affecting the economy of the village,” Patty says. “Their grandchildren could get that new computer this year cause Grandma made a little extra money.”

My Generation got a tasty look at how these childhood sweethearts made their Tuscan dreams come true.

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