Gianrico Carofiglio no doubt. He explained, on the occasion of the launch of the novel “The measurement of time”, “the question of food is delicate in novels, because, like certain spices, you have to put an extremely small quantity, otherwise they make the dish disgusting”. . I stop reading novels that talk too much about food. It is a question of dosing it with precaution, because the risk is to spoil the dish. I like to think that, like all the digressions contained in the novel, they have a metaphorical value, a narrative function”.
Complies with this analysis is the reinterpretation of the series written by the magistrate with the lawyer Guido Guerrieri and capable of selling more than six million copies, with translations in twenty-nine countries. The food is there and it is important. It emerges in the key phases of stories, when it comes to deciding, thinking, courting. There is also a punching bag, by the way, equally important. But here we are talking about food and the recipe for Spaghetti a lassina cooked by Guerrieri is more striking, it goes into the plot, into the characters. “In a large saucepan pour a few tablespoons of oil and add the garlic and chilli into small pieces. When the garlic is golden, add the tomato sauce, the washed and halved cherry tomatoes, a pinch of salt. Cook for ten minutes over low heat while boiling the salted water. Cook the spaghetti in water for only three minutes, drain and add to the sauce, not before removing the garlic. Finish cooking the spaghetti in the sauce until they have absorbed it. Raise the heat and let it dry well to obtain grilled and crispy spaghetti”. A typical dish of Bari cuisine, poor but able to improve the little available. Un po’ come gli spaghetti “alla fumo negli occhi” di “Ragionevoli dubbi”, che si chiama così – spiega l’autore – “perché è una ricetta facilissima ma molto gustosa che dà l’impressione di essere più elaborata di quanto non sia effectively”.
Yet, speaking for himself, Carofiglio admits “not being a great cook but I manage, especially with starters and some desserts”. He finds cooking “relaxing”, “I love fish, especially raw, and I use legumes more and more”. And in everyday life he approaches the subject of food, also from an ethical point of view. In a podcast made with his daughter Giorgia, he had the opportunity to talk about the change in habits of his daughter, who stopped eating meat, while the author himself reduced his consumption and “j I also stopped tasting foie gras, given the forced feeding to which the geese are subjected to have this product”. “It is the way we eat that characterizes our identity”, say father and daughter, because “there has a delicate relationship between food and morals, but also between food and politics”. And so, Carofiglio says to “shop in organic stores, where I like to discover foods that are new to me like the seitan, and I try to buy as much as possible at zero kilometer, both to have fresh food and to feel comfortable with a conscience”. Finally, “for products like banana, coffee, chocolate, I turn to the fair trade market”.
The writing was also in danger of suffering of this dietary variation of the writer, if it is true that in “Rancore”, the last book published by Einaudi, the protagonists, starting with the investigator Penelope Spada, former prosecutor, leave the meat-fish diet. Here is an example: “I don’t eat meat and I eat very little fish. Only once in a while a plate of spaghetti with clams and, if that happens, some sushi. But usually I get the protein from legumes, cheese, soy. Much of the tofu I’ll let you taste tonight.” And that food is a family affair is also remembered by a book like “La casa nel bosco” (Rizzoli), written with his brother Francesco, where memories of the past resurfaced through food, with a cookbook of seven proposals, one for each day of the week. From panzanella, in Bari “Ciallèd” to orecchiette with turnip greens (with the variant of green cabbage), Spaghetti alleassina with chicory with broad beans and even Spaghetti alla San Giuannid, baked pasta and, to finish , a staple of Bari cuisine like “Rice, potatoes and mussels”.
The Carofiglio brothers’ panzanella, called “ciallèd” in Bari, for which frisella is used instead of stale bread. It is a twice-baked bread, prepared first in the form of a baked donut, then cut in half horizontally and then baked again, so as to have the part of the crumb, once ready, particularly rough and ready to intensely absorb the aromas, fragrances and flavors of condiments. Apart from the frisella (which can be replaced with stale bread), the other ingredients are tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, boiled potatoes, tuna or pieces of fresh cheese.