I am going to cook a feast when this is all over.
A full, five course, Italian themed meal.
A triumphant gathering. Even if it is just the four of us at home. Or in the garden.
To use the friends I have on the shelves. Yes, a cookbook is a friend.
Either picking a series of dishes from one, or taking a theme and running it through all of the books I have. Where a sense of the Italian life pours out from each page that you turn.
But where to start?
That’s easy. A spritz from Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau’s Spritz book. A Bicicletta or a Hugo. To be enjoyed with a plate of broad beans and Mario Olianas’s Yorkshire Pecorino. Giving a nod to the opening of Rachel Roddy’s Five Quarters.
Staying in Rome, I will then dive in to a mix of Five Quarters, Jacob Kenedy’s Bocca Cookbook or Katie Parla’s Tasting Rome for a handful of antipasti offerings. Sure there’s a chance we will have more food than we need – but I can’t think of many feasts that have appropriate portion sizings applied.
Think fried stuff. Supplì, artichokes, courgette flowers, sage leaves and salt cod.
Maybe some crudités or bruschetta for crunch, and a respite from the booze and batter.
Next – and this depends on when we come out of this – it might be worth looking at Emiko Davies’ Tortellini at Midnight or Russell Norman’s Venice. Both have a sense of structure around seasonal cooking. With Davies offering menus and feasts associated with the many days of celebration in the Italian calendar. Whilst Venice is chaptered by the four seasons.
Finally, I might look to Anna Del Conte for a side dish or three of vegetables. We really will need some greens to help us through a day of fine food and matching wines.
And whose to say we have to stop at the one spritz!
At least it will be something to look forward to. There’s always something to look forward to when it involves Campari, a deep fat fryer and the words of the fine storytellers in the books above.