Carmela (born 1913) was a butler in a forgettable place between Verona and Vicenza, Zita (born 1917) an austrian blooded artist (a painter and a piano player), Fiorenza (my mom, born 1947) a flower child artist. To them food meant no pleasure, it just had to do with filling the belly. Their dishes used to be no frills… overcooked veggies (greens turned brown) poorly drained, chewy meat, boiled fish, onions and liver (blackened in the outside, raw in the inside), straight-from-the-fridge leftovers keep scaring me since then.
As “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, desire starts from imagining and staring at your dish, its colors, the elegance of smells, crispness and firmness of ingredients. No doubt, it may take time and dedication. But adding this kind of attention is a way to state you love yourself and the ones you cook for.
When I cook just for myself, I love eating with a furnished tablecloth, a sip of wine, sober dishes. I let creativity in the aesthetics for other occasions and focus instead on ingredients: a fresh gazpacho with steamed cod, a warm grains and legumes soup, a rich bowl with soba, miso, bok choi and edamame, tarka dhal, babaganoush with chickpeas and harissa dressing, panzanella, frittata (veggies by the season, peas, onions, courgette flowers, radicchio) but my own killer application is dark bread, butter and anchovies.
As poor as it can be, well, it makes me the happiest person in the world!
Picture and food preparation by myself, Riccardo Rama de Tisi