Years ago, I was complaining about everything wrong with America, when a good friend blurted out in frustration, “why don’t you just move!” Of course, he didn’t really mean it (we had also been having a little wine), but, he had a good point; I was going on endlessly about how bad America is and how great Italy is that, at a minimum, it was good for me to dial it back a bit!
Twenty years ago, when Marco and I began our lives together, we embarked upon a path of a sort of country-less living. We neither feel at home in the United States, nor Italy. We are caught between the two cultures, the two worlds of our countries of origin. Don’t get me wrong, as this blog’s mission states, we live our bella vita life joining the best of both worlds, making our home with our family and friends in Salem, doing our best to bring forth the Italian culture in the midst of our American way of life. But, there is always an undercurrent of longing for the other.
Over the years, we’ve talked to many other bi-national couples and ours is not a unique story. When a couple joins together from two nations of origin, it often results in this feeling of displacement such that neither place is truly a match. Again, I’m not complaining, but simply stating our truth. We love our lives and wouldn’t choose any other path. . . as Dag Hammarskjöld said, “For all that has been — Thanks. For all that shall be — Yes”.
Perhaps this is one reason why we love fusion food. By that we mean meals that blend traditions and spices from more than one culture. In Boston we love Taranta, a restaurant that combines food of Peru and Italy. In Baltimore, we had sushi that merged the flavors of South American with their maki. In the Boston area the Elephant Walk group brings food from the marriage of French and Vietnamese cuisine. I suspect that food historians study how the foods we eat are shaped by the mingling of people down through the centuries.
In an earlier blog I spoke about our new favorite cookbook, “Ottolenghi The Cookbook” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Smi Tamimi. It merges Middle-Eastern flavors and inspirations with Italian and other influences born at a little restaurant in London. The recipe for this salmon with roasted red peppers and hazelnut salsa can be found by clicking here.