The wide variety of bread salads available throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East is due surely to the region’s ancient peasant cultures and the need for desperate cooks to feed large, starving families as cheaply and swiftly as possible.
So I was intrigued to flip through Bread Salad and Italian Men – A 60s Food Memory ** by US writer Marjorie Harris who like many women of a certain class and era has maintained a half-drunk ardour for Italian food – and handsome men – long after everyone’s supposed to know better!
Harris, who boasts a doctorate in Italian literature and a background in law, recalls ogling the copy of Michelangelo’s David in the Piazza dell a Signoria, Florence and wonders how anyone viewing it could not “be captivated by the beauty of the archetypal Italian male”?
True enough! But I must remind the author that the original David lived not a thousand miles from where I sit writing this in western Galilee and where all the ingredients for an Israeli style tomato-bread salad with za’atar vinaigrette are easily available. I invite her to visit and would be delighted to host her to some nosh accompanied by a splash of our favourite local merlot!
This new book is her second in a series of short food memoirs, the first being based on her aunt’s ‘hot pink kugel’ Oy!
** The Kindle edition of Bread Salad and Italian Men: A 60’s Food Memory by Marjorie Harris is presently available for free download at Amazon.
© Natalie Wood (24 June 2017)