The (damn) Back

Just as I thought that I was sailing through making the transition from the Italian countryside and all that I ate and all that I did and all that I dreamed, I got up from the breakfast table and went right to the floor. My brain is like a refrigerator full of old, old food that I just keep closing the door on–saying I can always clean it out tomorrow or next year, or when I die. If you leave the food in there–whether you bolt the door or wallpaper the whole thing over– the food will find its way out and may leave you without hope that there could ever be fresh air in your kitchen again.

Clean your fridge.

And your larder.

I found a butternut squash and borlotti beans and a bay leaf and yesterday’s bread. Do the like the girls Rogers and Gray and simmer the beans after you soak them with a little of your best olive oil, a few pieces of leek, a clove of garlic, a sprig of thyme and a bay leaf. Peel a butternut squash with your knife then cube it, toss it with olive oil and salt and roast it at 400 degrees. Cook up an onion with another bay leaf, your good olive oil and salt the way you know how until it’s gorgeous. Scoop the beans up from their liquid with a slotted spoon and combine with the squash with a ratio of one to one. Add your onions. Taste. If you have a balsamic to be proud of you could give it a little drizzle of that. Or not. Serve it over a toasted piece of crusty bread and shower the whole thing with pecorino if you are lucky enough to have some, or parmesan–equally good.

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