I was watching a new cookery series on telly last night called “Two Greedy Italian Cooks” which I found both very sweet, very Italian, very funny and very sad all at the same time. These two famous Italian chefs Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo go in search of that legendary Italian female who is a fabulous cook and homemaker. Antonio is doubtful she still exists with most women going out to work with little time to cook and indeed they came across plenty of young unmarried women who know nothing of cooking and were not particularly bothered; although Antonio was of the opinion that unless you can cook you will not find a husband (hummmm?) What do you say to that? The men were bothered of course and in one cafe where they were chatting to a group of young women and one solitary male who was bemoaning the fact that he missed home cooking as his partner worked very hard and had no time to cook so (sigh) he had to cook. One young woman had the audacity to say that wouldn’t it be lovely to find a young man who could cook for them? Now it didn’t seem to occur to these two greedy cooks, that they were, indeed, capable of cooking a lovely meal for the hard working girls and surely instead of expecting the women to take sole responsibility for cooking a family meal that they could promote both the men and the girls learn to cook “lika mamma used ta make” after all that is what they did. “Lungo la parità live” or in English, long live equality I say!!!
They were very relieved to see that a cookery school has been established which teaches women how to make pasta, The Awaiting Table, in the south of Italy. On visiting this… well who should they see but one of the hard working young women they had spoken to earlier who couldn’t cook for toffee and had obviously decided after Antonio’s pronouncement, she had better buck her ideas up and learn to cook that pasta or she will be left on the shelf along with her bag of flour.
However, I agreed wholeheartedly with Carluccio’s sentiment that “cooking for someone is an act of love.” I love cooking for others, not all the time mark you but I certainly get a kick out of it.
My grandmother passed her knowledge down to my auntie who cooked along side her when she was alive and I was privileged that she gave my cousin Androula and I a master class in how to make pasta the Cypriot way when I visited last May to gather information for my book “Androula’s Kitchen”. I am pleased to read on the Awaiting Table web site, that the traditional Italian way to make pasta is identical to that which aunt Eugenia showed us, using just flour and water and a very long rolling pin.