“One month! I’m here in in Germany for a month already!”
She hadn’t even unpacked yet. Her mind was still in Rio, in the last preparations for the trip. When she was packaging everything, a friend phoned and asked if she still had the sardine pizza recipe – a family flavour. The question seemed like an inner call and came with an urgency that made her eager to find it.
She had a vague notion of where the recipe would be. In the back room closet, on the bookshelf over the corner table. Or something like this…
She stopped everything, and there she went hunting for her “flavours” book, a thin black notebook that kept the family recipes she loved the most.
She could swear it was there, hidden somewhere. She almost gave up just before the moment she found it on the shelf above her eyes.
Somethings have the power to carry us to a secret place, ours alone. She opened the notebook, as if unknowingly opening a closed door from the past.
And suddenly she saw them. First the letters, the calligraphy, then the recipes, and finally the handwriting.
Ah, the calligraphy! What a magical thing. The rounded letters, drawn, as they have long been unseen.
She hardly did any handwriting herself. Modern times.
Images came out from the pages, all together, faster and faster, one on top of the other, all filled with tastes and smells. Salty, sour, and many, many sweets. Never bitter or spicy. And she could have sworn she heard voices.
The little book was nothing more than a collection of nine or ten recipes, selected by a child’s taste, but containing a world of flavours, from memories she did not even know still existed.
Both of them were there, alive, together in the yellow pages of this little book.
“This is my grandmother’s handwriting and this one belongs to my mother!” She was sure of it.
She recognised them, and in the blink of an eye, they were both there with her.
The grandmother and the mother.
She was surprised of how she could still remember what had not been seen for more than 30 years.
So she fed on yesterday memories, typed in the recipe to send to her friend and smiling, put her little treasure in the same place it was before. At eye level.
She left the house for the last purchases before traveling to Germany. When she came back, just cooked the exactly same recipe as on the family book.
She invited her sister to lunch and, without any warning, served her a slice of it, with coffee.
“Sardine pizza!” exclaimed her sister, smiling. “And just like home,” she said, already serving herself with a second one.
Feeling happy, she thought, “Yeah, we are always hungry for flavours from home!”
And the recipe continued with her. Well-kept inside her heart.
This is the first chapter of a collaboration between Cooknst and Do Rio Pra Cá. Follow www.doriopraca.com and enjoy the soulful routes of these amazing storytellers around the world.
Photos: Sonaira DÁvila
Translation: Daniele Aronque