Wednesday, December 07, 2016

From the Archives: Puglia in Tavola

I'm an inveterate book lover -- you probably are, too -- and I'm a sucker basically for all books, especially if they come with a simple but soulful packaging.

That means, even cook books, despite my well-known aversion to cooking (as I like to say -- to myself and now to you -- I have a man to do those things).

I think I only want to write this post because I've fallen in love with the cover of this book. Perhaps you can judge a book by its cover!

Here's the thought process: this book looks so lovely, I want to pretend I am a person that I am not -- namely a person who collects cookbooks and then uses them to, ahem, cook.

Earlier this week, I went over to the book shelf in the kitchen where we keep the cook books and I re-discovered the book. It's a small volume that we bought in Puglia. I love the simple title: Puglia in Tavola (Deceptively simple because how should I translate it? Literally: 'Puglia at table.' But that doesn't sound right. Perhaps: 'The Pugliese Table," or "Reciples from Puglia.")

Look at the cover. Are you swooning yet?

As I opened it up, I flipped away from a recipe I had bookmarked to see what else is hidden inside there, and I find names of recipes that read like the seeds of prose poems in Italian.

Words so foreign to me, that they beggar the imagination that they could be Italian (and yet I see they are).

Words like: quagghjariedde and ghiemeridde.

(I take them to be words in Pugliese dialect. In traditional Italian, one doesn't see the letter 'j' much).

So what about the recipes? Well, we have yet to cook anything out of the book, perhaps because I was the one who bought it in the first place -- not the cook of our household, also known here as Il Nostro Inviato, a.k.a Mike.

But it contains lots of rabbit stews, something called Tiella, which makes me think of that dish from the movie "Big Night," and some very simple pasta recipes including one with spaghetti, acciughe and bread crumbs (we've had a similar dish with bread crumbs and it's fantastic. If you can imagine, you're already eating pasta, then you add bread. Could be an American carb-lover's delight!)

I don't cook. But reading a recipe book in Italian? A little piece of heaven. Almost as good as a ciambellina.

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