….Says Giovanni when he first puts a piece of curried chicken in his mouth. He pulls his napkin to his mouth and is just yelling into it with his eyes scrunched up.
The thing about northern Italians (and I’m sorry to lump them all together – obviously there are some exclusions) is that they like really mild food. They lightly salt their tomato salads, and will maybe add some olive oil or balsamic vinegar. But that’s as far as their seasoning goes. There is no pepper to be found in this house, maybe even this region. The one time we did see it (at a small bistro in Santa Margherita), we coveted it and its sharp smell and taste. I think we might have used the whole pepper grinder we were so excited to see some seasoning! Oh and don’t even think about garlic. I don’t know that we’ve had garlic in any of our meals.
The thing about me, is I love spices – the hotter, the better. Indian food has become my comfort food. Hot, mild, peppery, smokey, cool, these are all things I like about spices. They cause so many different sensations. Two nights ago, I almost cried in pure joy when I saw a bit of saffron and some capers going into my rice, if that’s any indicator of my love for zest and how much I might be missing it.
So imagine my delight when C and M tell me they are making a traditional Trini curry for dinner. Ok, I might have gasped and then laughed in hysterics when they said ‘pumpkin with coriander and cumin’. Arms around my legs, rocking myself back and forth, ‘I LOVE PUMPKIN. I LOVE CUMIN. I LOVE CORIANDER.’ Then imagine me staring down four pots and pans on the stove, filled with curried chicken, curried potatoes & eggplant, pumpkin mash of some sort, and rice. The thick aroma of garam masala and garlic in the air. Sigh.
These ladies know how to cook!
However, I’m not sure that everyone was as prepared as I was to inhale this glorious food. Paolo commented that he liked going to some of the Sri Lankan restaurants in Milan. Anna smiled and dipped her fork into the pumpkin, which might have been the more mild of the dishes. Giovanni put a piece of curried chicken in his mouth and started yelling AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Maria, encouraged by how quickly I was gobbling the pumpkin, tentatively stuck her fork into it and scooped the smallest bit in her mouth.
In the end, Paolo enjoyed it. Good thing because both Maria and Giovanni’s plates ended up being emptied onto Paolo’s. They had rice with pesto on it. Let’s be honest, Italian or not, most children aren’t into spices. Anna got up for seconds, so that was promising. I had seconds (and thirds of the pumpkin). I would deem it a success. I will now be forced (as if I really needed an actual reason) to visit my new friends in Trinidad to get some more of that delicious food.
My apologies-I’ve been in a stupor all day in anticipation of the curries, so I didn’t even think to take pictures.