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2016年3月29日 (火)

With such food

If the name Anna Tasca Lanza rings a bell for you, there’s a good reason. In her day, she was the authority on Sicilian food—the Marcella Hazan of the south. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, before any kind of regional awareness had entered the Italian food lexicon in the US, she began writing about traditional Sicilian cooking for the American market hong kong service apartments for rent. As people woke up to the bold, rustic flavors of the island, her fame spread, and she began regularly collaborating luminaries as James Beard, Julia Child* and Alice Waters, and making frequent appearances on television and radio. She published two books of her own, and among the other numerous Sicilian cookbooks on my shelf, I doubt there is one that doesn’t mention her name. She also opened a cooking school on her family’s 19th-century estate, Regaleali. Located about halfway between Palermo and Agrigento in the mountainous Sicilian heartland, Regaleali has been in the Tasca family since 1830, when it was bought by Anna’s great-great-great grandfather, Count Lucio Tasca. It’s still very much a working farm; wine, olive oil, wheat, almonds, favas and citrus are grown on its 1,200 acres of softly rolling hills, and even today it represents one of the major sources of employment for people in this impoverished corner of the island. Over the years it has evolved, though, first with the establishment by Anna’s father of a state-of-the-art winery which now ranks among Sicily’s best, and later, when he divided up the estate among his children. His son inherited the ‘main house’ and winery, and his three daughters were given smaller houses and land around the property; Anna’s was a traditional farmhouse set around a cobbled courtyard, called Case Vecchie. The estate is home to thousands of olive trees which produce a beautifully mellow, grassy oil the color of the afternoon sun. I think if I had an unlimited supply of oil like that, life would be pretty much complete. Anna and her husband had one daughter, Fabrizia. In her younger days Fabrizia was, by her own admission, interested in anything that wasn’t Sicilian HKUE amec, and as soon as she was old enough moved north, where she established a career as an art historian and had two children of her own. When Anna launched herself into the culinary world, Fabrizia cheered her mother on from afar, at first. In her mid-40s, though, after suddenly finding herself out of a job, Fabrizia realized the not only was she deeply homesick for Sicily, but what she really wanted to do was dedicate her life to keeping traditional Sicilian cuisine alive too.

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