In a writing challenge in which I’m taking part, I was asked to take the book nearest me and turn to page 29, taking note of the first word that jumped out at me.
It was no surprise to me that your cookbook was the closest book to me. That and my Bible – though page 29 of my Bible had me reading about Jacob’s speckled goats. Page 29 of your book placed me in the midst of your instructions about buying, storing and preparing radicchio.
Radicchio is just one of many vegetables appearing among your recipes that causes me some concern. I do not live in Italy and so it can feel a challenge to know where to source the ingredients I need. However, you do warn me not to buy those red and white leaves in the summer as they will be most bitter then. So I feel a sense of respite from having to search the streets of this city for them – at least until Autumn. There are just so many ingredients and recipes in your book that I am unfamiliar with – as unfamiliar as I am with the shepherding of speckled goats in the ancient near east.
Nevertheless, I am enjoying getting to know you better – at least knowing your writing and cooking methods better. I will never have the opportunity to meet you as a google search informed me that you had died some time ago. I wish I could have met you – or at least written a letter that you might have had a chance of reading.
If I could write such a letter to you, I would want you to know that I love your book. I love the careful and detailed way that you guide me through each recipe. I love that your recipes are so obviously tested, as they all work beautifully. I love that when you say your friends or students loved a particular dish – that my guests love it too!
Tonight I will be assembling another selection of recipes as friends are coming to join me for dinner. I’ve a little pre-reading to do to make sure everything goes smoothly, but I shall make a cup of tea and sit and read your words, imagining that you sit here with me.
Your faithful follower,