Recipe for Life by Nicky Pellegrino

January4

I have just returned from a 9 day winter vacation where I did a whole lot of nothing except drink and eat (more about that later), collect shells on the beach and read in the hammock strung across our balcony.  Interpret this as: bliss. 

I try to rotate my reading selections between non-fiction, what I refer to as “literature” and finally- fascinating fiction.  The fascination part changes according to whim.  Ever since my travels to Italy I have been on a kick of novels set in Italy but they must also have to do with food.  On this trip I read “Delicious” by Nicky Pellegrino which I will write about in the future.  Just before we left I read her “Recipe for Life”.  Those of you who know me well, will understand that her books are the perfect blend of many of my loves:  Italy, strong women, cooking, eating and the exploration of food as a means of expressing love.    

Her books are not available at the Winnipeg library so I actually had to buy a number of them.  Usually I rave about a book and then cannot pass it along because of my library addiction.  I won’t tell you a whole lot more about it; this excerpt will give you a sense :

“She smiled and went over to the sideboard where she retrieved a tattered old handwritten recipe book.  Its pages were frayed and falling out the ink faded and smudged in places, but she held it as though it were something very precious.

“This belonged to my mother,” she explained, turning the pages so I wouldn’t have to touch the book.  “She was an amazing cook and collected recipes all of her life”.  Many of the dishes we make come from here, others we’ve come across ourselves or concocted over the years,  Every day I learn something new about food.  That’s why I love it.”…

“Food is so important.  In my family its how we speak to each other, express gratitude, show we care, sometimes even say we are sorry.  Good food must be made with love.  You can taste if it’s not.”

“Even restaurant food?”

“Of especially that”.

Cooking with love was a new idea to me but there was certainly nothing stressful about working in the the kitchen of the trattoria.  Once customers began to arrive, Raffaella moved to the front of the house, showing them to their seats and taking orders.  I ferried food to the tables, cleared away dirty dishes and filled tall glasses with ice cream or tiramisu for dessert.  In the kitchen, Ciro seemed in control.  He worked with quiet concentration, occaisionally asking me to plate up a dish for him, making himself understood with the pointing and clicking of fingers.

Out in the dining room and on the terrace beyond it, customers were eating.  This was not refined picking over plates with knives and forks we saw at Teatro.  No one came here to be seen or to socialise.  They were solely for the food and they enjoyed it, bending their heads over the dishes, slurping hungrily, wiping up every last slick of oily juice with crusty bread. 

Once everyone had eaten and left, we stacked the dirty dishes and Ciro put out food for us.  The fish, as they had promised was all finished, so instead we had my herb ravioli drizzled in a sauce of crushed walnuts and dressed with shards of pecorino cheese.  There was a little of the octopus to taste , some of the chicken stew, a bowl of steamed greens dressed with lemon and olive oil and some crusty bread.

We ate it out on the terrace with a glass of white wine that tasted like apples and Rafaella told me about their lives.”

Can’t you just smell the smells of garlic and onions and feel the evening breeze on your face?  Can’t you hear the waves lapping in the distance and taste the crispness of the wine?  Ah, I love books that sweep me away.

Kath’s quote: “It is good food and not fine words that keeps me alive.”
Moliere


Warning: Use of undefined constant addtofacebook - assumed 'addtofacebook' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/48927/domains/foodmusings.ca/html/wp-content/themes/notepad-chaos-v2/single.php on line 12

Warning: Use of undefined constant wpurl - assumed 'wpurl' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /nfs/c03/h02/mnt/48927/domains/foodmusings.ca/html/wp-content/plugins/add-to-facebook-plugin/addtofacebook.php on line 85

2 Comments to

“Recipe for Life by Nicky Pellegrino”

  1. Avatar January 5th, 2012 at 12:52 pm Roopa Says:

    Kathryne, this was a lovely post. I came across your blog when I was googling quotes of Nicky Pellegrino. Having just discovered her books, I completely agree with you when you say that ‘ her books are the perfect blend of many of my loves: Italy, strong women, cooking, eating and the exploration of food as a means of expressing love. ‘.
    I LOVE your blog! Celebrating life with food is really what you do here on your blog. Keep writing! I will surely keep visiting:)


  2. Avatar January 6th, 2012 at 7:55 am Kathryne Says:

    Roopa, Thank you so much for your encouraging comments-I am truly blessed and inspired by my readers. Where is it that you are writing from?


Email will not be published

Website example

Your Comment: