tagine florentine

Who would have thought that I would be teaching Moroccan cooking to Italians? Last Friday, I was invited to dinner to the aunt of my friend Raffaella. We had spent some beach time near Campiglia Marittima the week before. We talked about cooking all the way in the car, it seemed, and then on the beach, some dish would come to mind. Like a spend the night party as a girl, I withdrew from the conversation and just listened. It went on like a fairy tale, in Italian with all the nuances the language can give, especially when something is delicious.

I went in and out with the sound of the waves, the descriptions of ‘zuppa di fagioli con cavolo nero della nonna’..la pappa al pomodoro in estate quando era caldo, caldo al mare’ My grandmothers’ bean soup with black cabbage, cool tomato bread soup in summer when it was hot’..La nostalgia da mangiare bene, quando si sta bene’..The memories of days past when life was full and everyone, all loved ones, in the family were present.

We talked about every cuisine in the world. Eventually, we came around to Morocco and they nearly squealed in delight for something new and exotic to think about. We got stuck on tagines. What they are, what kind of tagines can we make and.. preserved lemons? Where can we get them? ‘We make them’, I said. It became a theme for a cooking class the following week.

Good food gives us something delightful and satisfying to chew on, when it seems that the rest of life is flying by. It can soothe the soul and be a comforting friend or better yet, be endless entertainment for the bereaved and the brilliant. Not to mention a way that life goes on.