MALTESE DOMESTIC LIFE
Density of population brings with it both noise and a lack of privacy. Neither of these appear to bother the Maltese. Only in their own home do they treasure quiet and privacy. Once outside, they bask in the crush of cars and people and the cadenza of horns, noisy talk, and church bells. The Maltese have an extended home; the city streets are part of their living room and they are friendly and gracious to everyone (the Maltese have a phenomenal memory for names and faces). The church is their second home, a place for help and prayer, thanksgiving and consolation.
Maltese cooking and hospitality is probably best symbolized by sourdough Maltese bread and white fresh Rikotta cheese. Simple and honest, these foods are a part of almost every meal and form the edible centerpiece of the table. They are not only sustaining in themselves but also represent a blend of tastes and textures that would cause a Maltese mouth to water anywhere in the world. The crusty white sourdough bread shaped in a gentle golden oval, eaten with creamy mild Rikotta cheese, may form the appetizer, the main dish or merely a side dish of any meal. Add a glass of Maltese wine and you have the quintessence of hospitality.
The delicious aromas that pour forth from Maltese kitchens belie their tiny size. Sideboards and open shelves store groceries and utensils, while a small refrigerator holds perishables. Maltese enjoy fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables and prefer to shop daily in nearby stores for their needs. Although supermarkets and a wide range of prepared mixes are slowly changing old ways, the pot of soup simmering on the small petrol stove is so much a part of the meal pattern (and the aroma of Malta) it is difficult to visualize it being preempted by a cold sandwich for lunch. Freezers for the home and small kitchen appliances such as blenders, pressure cookers, and so on, are not common in Malta. Baking is usually done in commercial communal ovens, carefully watched over by the local baker.