To celebrate the spring in Rome, they often take in a vegetable stew known as vignarola. Like the summer succotash of the American South or the ratatouille of France, vignarola is a vegetable stew that, in its perfect type, is radiant with freshness. It is made from artichokes, small fresh new fava beans and freshly shelled peas, all braised collectively with spring onions and white wine with contemporary mint included at the finish. Vignarola is a mellow combination of all things inexperienced and new. It would the moment have marked the start out of the new season immediately after the hungry gap of late wintertime. But in an period when frozen peas are offered all calendar year round, the dish’s stunning spring freshness no more time signifies as much.
The wonderful wonder of our contemporary food process has been to source us with the freshness of spring all 12 months round—or at the very least with an approximation of it. We can get juicy aromatic herbs in the depths of winter and spring chickens in the fall. When I obtain myself receiving twinges of nostalgia for the food stuff of the earlier, I recall how grim it ought to have been to endure for fifty percent the calendar year on minor but salt pork, bread and molasses (as described in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books for youngsters). Before refrigeration and contemporary solutions of agriculture, even butter and eggs were seasonal foodstuff. Nineteenth-century American cookbooks involved unappetizing recipes for retaining eggs “perfectly good” by coating them in a thick layer of grease or submerging them in saltwater. In some way, these do not seem properly good—or at the very least not as great as residing in a time when clean eggs are accessible yr-round.