Food for Thought

Food for Thought
Freshly harvested fava beans (Troina, Sicily)

Gioacchino Rossini, the Italian composer famous for The Barber of Seville, wrote once that appetite is to the stomach what love is to the heart. If that’s true—and I have every reason to believe it is—then Sicily is both Demeter’s fork and cupid’s arrow.

You wouldn’t know it of course these days, but for the first few hundred years of human history, eating was more or less a matter of survival. There was nothing sexy about it. You gathered or you killed and you ate. End of story.

But fortunately for us eating, like sex, grew into one of those pleasures built into our nervous system, and as such we feel happier and more relaxed whenever presented with food. Over time, the preparation and even presentation of food we ate became an art form that provided both enjoyment as well as pleasure. Despite this new attitude, even now the food we choose to eat, often as an afterthought, fails on both accounts.

To change that, we must start paying attention to what we put in our mouths.

To give us some hint of how that was accomplished in Sicily, a region known, even by Italian standards, as having some of the best cuisine in the world, we spent the day with our friend, Guisseppe, who showed us some of the old ways of cooking using fresh fava beans and of course, a delightful wood fire.

Some still images from our day: