An absolutely delightful book!! In Her Kitchen, Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World, by Gabriele Calimberti. Soooo precious, these lovely women in their kitchens with a meal they've prepared for family and friends. And, what a raft of countries are represented in the pages of his beautifully photographed book.
Gabriele begins with a photo of his own grandmother, Marisa, in her kitchen in Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy on one side and a shot of the meal on the opposing page, then her story and recipe follow on the next two pages. He continues with that format throughout the book, making for 58 evocative profiles and recipes.
All so different, and sympathetically portrayed. Several of them had me in tears. No matter their situations these special women show their love for home and family through the food they prepare. As the publisher's blurb states:
"The kitchens he photographed illustrate both the diversity of world cuisine and the universal nature of a dish served up with generosity and love. At each woman's table, Gabriele became a curious and hungry grandson, exploring new ingredients and gathering stories....From a Swedish housewife and her homemade lox and vegetables to a Zambian villager and her roasted spiced chicken, this collection features a global palate: included are hand-stuffed empanadas from Argentina, twice-fried pork and vegetables from China, slow-roasted ratatouille from France, and a decadent toffee trifle from the United States."
Not to mention the Honduran iguana with rice and beans. I hardly knew where to begin for a representative meal, however guided by my garden and fridge, decided on collard greens, with Sadza, which is an African version of polenta, made from white maize flour. In Zimbabwe and many neighboring areas it is a common accompaniment to vegetables, meat or fish. I looked up the difference between white and yellow corn and found, that aside from color, there is only a slight nutritional advantage with the yellow, due to the beta carotene, so felt free to use the yellow variety, which is what I had.
I served my greens and sadza as sides with the sauce and slices of a pork loin roast, previously cooked in a braise with tomatillos, which gave a nice piquant note to the sauce.
Another delightful photo from the book is that of Julia Enaigua of La Paz, Bolivia, who is posed above with her ingredients for Queso Humacha. Wouldn't you love to meet her?
We both enjoyed the combination of greens, corn meal mush (sadza) and pork with sauce. Just perfect, though Bob did say he'd rather have the peanut butter on bread and some roasted peanuts tossed with the greens. I think I'd agree with him on this one, even given he is a picky eater. The crunch would be a good contrast, and wouldn't muddy the vibrant color of the collards.
I was lucky enough to win the book in Heather's monthly book giveaway, over at her Foodies Read Challenge. Thanks Heather! I'll share this post there, and with Beth Fish Reads for her Weekend Cooking link-up. Be sure to visit and check out all the good food and book recommendations.