*Photo of gnocchi from epicurious.com
Whenever you dip into Threefold Love you’ll realize right away that Duncan loves food. Food is part of the entire book in many ways because, well, people have to eat several times a day. Food is a fact of life, and something that would be easy to skip over. If I don’t read about someone eating I assume they did in fact get around to that at some point, but I would rather use the smaller points of a person’s life to add to the story. The kitchen is kind of the meeting place for the day in a lot of ways because everyone who lives in a house together has to go there sometime whether they want to ignore everyone else, hate them, love them, or any other thing. It’s hard to argue that the fridge is only in one room. The kitchen can become an area of cohesion or contention.
I like to think about food a lot, and I generally like to know what’s in my food, and that’s reflected in some ways in the book. Duncan cooks most of his and Andrew’s food from scratch. One particular food in Threefold Love was a sweet potato gnocchi that I had the good luck to learn to make with one of my best friend’s now deceased brother in law, Peter Grammatico. He was a great guy, warm and robust, and he was perfectly content to teach me, almost a complete kitchen novice at the time, how to make sweet potato gnocchi by hand. I was terrible too. I didn’t know how to do anything at all, was worse than a shrinking violet, so he took everything very slow, step by step. I didn’t remember every single point and had to look up some things later, but I was touched that someone who didn’t know me very well would kindly and patiently teach me something new, just for the sake of spreading the food love. He also made a sage syrup to go with the dish, and that is something I’ve used endlessly to this day. (At the same meal he also made prosciutto stuffed mushrooms that were a rich gift to the taste buds.) It’s utterly delightful and simple to do, and adds an earthy note to any breakfast or sweet dish it’s used in. All you do is throw about ten fresh sage leaves into a pan with syrup, bring it to a boil, and let it simmer for about ten minutes or until you can really smell the sage. Some people like to pick out the leaves, but I don’t. They’re a nice pop of green on the plate.
What are some of your favorite foods? Who taught you to make them?