There is always a sort of fairy-godmother in the fairytales who teaches you something special , who gives you a special talent...something concerning love and passion and beauty and goodness, isn't it ?
Well I was certainly fortunate to have Aunt Carla teaching me ALL I needed to know about natural and mainly vegetarian food .
I would spend my summer vacations with her in beautiful Puglia - Southern Italy when school was off. We used to take the old Cinquecento and go to shop at local markets, where I learnt from my aunt how to pick the best fruits and vegetable in the market, distinguish the flavors of the different types of cheese asking the owner of the stall to have a taste.. I discovered with aunt all the variety of olives, tried the abundance of exotic local greens and learned how each one would be best cooked and served.
Thanks to her amazing cooking lesson I would learn how to use little amounts of extra virgin olive oil, the importance to give the food a good slow cook, how to precisely cut each kind of vegetable depending on the dish, how to use the Mediterranean herbs and flavors, how to do pizza (of course!) and many of the typical delicious recipes of southern tradition.
But the main reason of all what I received from " la zia " was her authentic gifts , is that she was pursuing health at the table as an act of love and protection toward her loved ones.
As a result I was fascinated and delighted by the combination of taste and energy, colors, happiness and wisdom that her food produced for me .
She really inspired me for most of the summers of my childhood and ignited in me the fire of love for cooking and using natural food.