How the delicate pairing of food with family can find healing in the kitchen. How to make farinata, an earthy dish from Liguria that will make you very happy.
Food and family are a very delicate pairing for me. At the dining table, in fact, my dearest and worst memories resurface.
While writing my food memoir, which is in the works, I discovered the important connection between Clean Language Therapy, which ultimately brought me back into the kitchen, and what I began to call Clean Food Therapy.
I have been treated with Clean Language by both its original developer, Cei Davies Linn, and my therapist, Davies’ scolar Diane. These two women changed my life; they helped me save myself, and I will forever be grateful for their unconditional care and hard work.
This therapy is based on the the principle that the client’s experience shouldn’t be contaminated by the therapist’s words, context, and ideas. In other words, in order to create such a system, one that would protect the integrity of their client’s experience, Davies and Grove (David, her late husband and co-developer of Clean Language) developed a template of very simple questions, with a specific syntax, and with a unique tone of voice that would minimally interfere with the client’s experience.
Being that these questions were cleansed and stripped of any presupposition or old idea, I asked myself if I could apply the same principle to my relationship with food. That’s how I began to bypass the rational linear process in the kitchen. And here I am.
In a couple of days, my parents will arrive from Italy.
I am very happy to see them. In fact, I haven’t seen them since my wedding (the second ceremony), last year. But as I said before, food and family are a very delicate pairing for me.
So yesterday I went into the kitchen, after church and after napping in the sun, and I prepared farinata for our guests, Libby and her husband Herb. The dish is an earthy and tasty ‘crêpe’ originally from the coastal region Liguria, in Italy. It’s made of garbanzo beans flour, extra-virgin olive oil, water, salt and lots of black ground pepper; it’s usually cooked in a wooden oven, just like pizza, but it’s fantastic in the gas one, too. I remember eating it with my parents and with maternal grandparents as a treat, rarely, and usually on a Saturday night.
Many are the dishes that bear painful and uncomfortable memories, but farinata is among those that take me back to a place of innocence and joy.
My parents will be in Los Angeles on Wednesday. I have never cooked with my mother; I always derided my mom’s passion for cooking. I hated food and everything related to it. Perhaps this is my chance to make up for lost time.
You can find this recipe on the RECIPE page. Give it a try, you’ll love it!
ps. Next time I’ll talk about washing the dishes after dinner…