She made me realize that every dish is a synthesis of a long history, a scientific faithful guardian of an archive of memory that is renewed at the table, repeated in each family, even after centuries...
And in my opinion, with the hard life she had faced, she learned the meaning of “caress” from “cooking”, rather than by people.
And yet (who comes from Maremma knows) Acquacotta needs just 3 ingredients to be exquisite: onion, celery, bread.
It belongs to the Tuscan country, just like the Onion Soup and the “Bordatino”
And it is telling me about “Butteri” and their adventures that my granny Amossina took me in her arms and she told me about her childhood spent in contact with nature and, between a nursery rhyme and another on her knees, she often told me the story of “Ultimo” and the origin of Acquacotta.
He put a little ‘of water on a frying pan and he broke inside the onion, then began to turn around the barnyard and right there, on the edge of a field, he ripped some wild chicory and after a brief rinse poured even this in the pan; then went near the hen house and took a few loaf of dry bread for chickens from the sack… and threw also this one in the pan. While he was watching all that “poverty” that floated and seethed, his brothers called him from afar: “Ultimo! Ultimo, what are you doing?” “Nothing of important” he replied “I’m cooking the water, I’m doing Acquacotta!! “.
I found an exceptional Acquacotta in Castiglione della Pescaia, in the restaurant of a hotel overlooking the sea. The chef was called Enrica and note the coincidence, she had won an award for the best “Acquacotta”, over the years.
For our party Enrica gave everyone a poem about Acquacotta, written on a sheet of yellow paper rolled up, beribboned with raffia bordeau. I still have this gift and I give it to the “students” who attend the course on “Tuscan soups” … and recipes that I give after cooking classes in general, are always rolled up and closed with a raffia bow dark red...