Yesterday, I saw the documentary “Food Inc.,” a take on ‘the way we eat’ in the US. An organic farmer discussed the pig-ness of the pig. Oh well. But his pigs certainly were rather lovely.
One point in the film made me quite nostalgic: the lack of seasons in today’s way of life. I used to have a seasonal mind-set. In my former life in Europe, the year would unfold: you move from oranges in the winter to the first strawberries in March, then you look forward to asparagus in April, to apricots in June, blueberries in July, grapes in September, minestrone in October, and walnuts in November. In the winter you eat game; but not in the summer. Salads divide up into winter salads, the hard and resilient kinds, like radicchio, and summer salads, the softer variants. And so on.
I once spent part of a winter in Venice, and practically lived on ‘winter salads’: in soups, in risotto, in pasta sauces, in the fillings of ravioli – they work everywhere, and they have the loveliest colors. The movie reminded me of this, for personal reasons, rather sad winter. I first spent time in Padua, where one can buy the most delicious game-poultry at that time of the year, and then I moved on to Venice, trying to finish a project and eating my way through the offerings of the cold city. All of this is now, that I’m pretty much here in Manhattan, a way of life of the past. That life comes with a kind of heavy-set traditional trot through the year, not unlike traditional holidays, and large family celebrations. But it’s also charming, and hard not to miss. Anyway, I continue to debate my whereabouts in terms of what to eat where.