This post requires a brief introduction: on my mother side my blood is half Austrian and half Bolivian, on the other half from Trieste, half from the Ligurian seaside (Cinqueterre is the living proof God exists!).My wife is a natural born swimmer from Sardinia.
It’s a bunch of places, where intense beauties challenge with harsh nature and extreme weather.
As I wrote in a previous post, I remember the thrill of sudden cold rains in the mountains – my grandmother lighting the fire -, or a breathless rush back to the car as a summer storm caught us on the seaside. The same is true when it comes to cooking: scarcity and the sheer harshness of the places critically impact on the priorities you give yourself.
When I cook in my comfortable house in Milan I give for granted I have the knives, pots, casseroles I may need, a wide manner to set the table and the widest choice/availability of ingredients. As feeding is not a matter of necessity, cooking is almost a proof of concept. The real effort is about techniques, degrees of palatable challenges, aestethics. It comes to the artistic addendum you seek to add.
As the environmental context is different, the whole of this may be not that true. In the mountains life begins earlier in the day, at 4pm your day is almost over, whatever the season. When the tide is high or the sky darkens angrily, you feel extremely fragile as nature’s strenght proves that overwhelming.
I cooked fish soups in improvised places by the sea side, steamed deer with wild spices, digged holes to hay-steam lamb, put together a halibut ceviche with algae on a pier. Scarcity and the sheer harshness of the places critically impact on the priorities you give yourself. Feeding rather than tasting experience, only substance matters.
These days cooking has too much to with showbiz and other stuff… I love testing techniques and new culinary challenges, but nothing is so vital to me as bringing cooking back to what it is supposed to be: feeding people you love with the few poor ingredients you may have. That’s where the artist proofs true!
Pictures by myself, Riccardo Rama de Tisi
Drawing by Mrs. Senoner, Hotel Adler in Ortisei