Salve. In anteprima e in esclusiva lo scrittore inglese Jojo Tulloh ha concesso al Tacco di pubblicare un estratto del libro di ricette salentine
Di Maggie Armstrong Nel mese di maggio la rinominata casa editrice di Londra Chatto & Windus pubblicherà un libro che apre con un omaggio alla scrittrice inglese Patience Gray che, per trentacinque anni, ha vissuto presso la Masseria Spigolizzi, nel feudo di Salve, con il suo compagno, lo scultore fiammingo Norman Mommens. Jojo Tulloh, l’autrice del nuovo libro “The Modern Peasant” (il contadino moderno/la contadina moderna), ha intrapreso un vero e proprio pellegrinaggio fino alla masseria, ispirata dal classico libro di Patience Gray “Honey from a Weed” (Miele da un’erbaccia) pubblicato in 1986 da Prospect Books.
La copertina del libro di Patience Gray Per Jojo Tulloh è stato un sogno di visitare il Salento e i luoghi frequentati dalla coppia. Un’esperienza incantevole quella di preparare il pasto nella cucina della sua maestra. Non mancava il pane dal vecchio forno a legna che si trova nel centro storico di Salve e gli ingredienti freschi comprati al mercato del borgo del mercoledì. Jojo Tulloh ha anche raccolto la verdura selvatica dal terreno intorno alla masseria dove regnano sovrane macchia mediterranea e le piante spontanee. Per favorire la biodiversità. “The Modern Peasant” comprende ricette salentine estratte dal libro di Patience Gray. Queste, insieme alle descrizioni del paesaggio, sicuramente sveglieranno in molti altri appassionati della gastronomia contadina l’appetito di visitare il Salento. Già numerosi gli amanti dell’arte che vengono per visitare le opere di Norman Mommens. In anticipo e in esclusiva Jojo Tulloh ha concesso il suo permesso al Tacco d‘Italia di pubblicare estratti dal libro. Però è un libro in inglese! La festa per la pubblicazione del libro è il 30 maggio al ristorante di Jason Lowe, il fotografo che è venuto a Spigolizzi insieme a Jojo.
L'invito alla presentazione “As this was a pilgrimage of sorts, it seemed right that we had arrived on November 1st, the Day of the Dead, the day after what would have been Patience’s ninety-fourth birthday. On the first morning mist clung to the bottom of the valley, snaking through the olive orchards below. The soft orange light of dawn backlit the drifts of wild sage holding withered stalks topped with seedheads, showing sere and brown against clumps of felty grey-green leaves. I picked a handful of wild herbs: mentuccia (wild mint), sage, thyme, rosemary and resinous red-berried lentisk (mastic tree).” “Whatever fate led Norman and Patience to this hillside, it seems a peculiarly perfect habitat for both of them. For the sculptor, there is stone everywhere and the evidence of the various uses to which it has been put for millennia by the hillside’s former inhabitants. The hillside may be dry, but there is water in the valley beneath and a holy well. The amount of prehistoric tools found here encouraged Norman and Patience to believe that others before them had found this long flat hilltop a fruitful and productive place. Later inhabitants eked out a living by farming. The hillside is dotted with the rudimentary, one-room pudding-shaped stone houses called trulli or pajare. Empty and yet intact, their dry-stone walls spiral up to a flat top reached by a spiral staircase that turns around the outside of the dome. Beside each one is a stone bread oven, which was mainly used for drying figs. This landscape is a living witness to ancient ways of life. Patience anchored herself in it as firmly as one of Norman’s large stone figures. She lived on it, and from it she gathered wild chicory and snails, dug out edible hyacinth bulbs and washed her hair in a tonic of water infused with rosemary gathered on the hillside.” “It is customary to visit the graves of relatives on the Day of the Dead and the cemeteries we drove past were full of smartly dressed Italian families with flowers. We made our own visit to the graveyard outside the nearby town of Salve, where Patience and Norman are buried. Her plaque bears only her dates and place of birth, and an engraving of a writer’s plumed quill from which the silvering has faded in the sun. Norman’s has the words meraviglia tutela, which are elusive, but mean something like ‘a capacity to wonder’. They are fitting monuments to these two remarkable people. Norman’s talent as an artist seems to have been fed by his ability to fan that spark of wonder. It certainly sustained an extraordinary capacity for hard physical work, while Patience had poetry enough to record their life together in a book that grabs your attention every time you open it.” “In her kitchen, Patience cooked with what was at hand, both wild and cultivated, and on our visit to Spigolizzi this was what we tried to do. Over several clear autumnal days, with Maggie and Nick’s help, we gathered wild chicory and fennel in the fields around the masseria and picked huge deep-yellow quinces in the garden. We used Patience’s blackened cauldrons to boil the quinces, and the large copper preserving pan to make the jelly. We went to the fish market for moscardini (little cuttlefish), then cleaned them on the large oval chopping board that appears alongside the recipe for that dish in Honey from a Weed. We clambered up the steps that spiral round the small stone igloos that dot the hillside and marvelled at the opacity of the Apulian sky and the rigid horizontal line where that sky meets the sea. In back streets we sought out bakers baking bread in ancient stone ovens, bought capers, puntarelle (chicory), bouquets of round red peppers, mushrooms and anchovies in the market, and we indulged in Patience’s concept of breakfast (damascene plum jam with ricotta and fresh bread). Stepping into the reality of Honey from a Weed is like going back in time. Yet it is a journey that throws light on the future too.” Tutti gli articoli dell'inchiesta su località Montani: Il Salento d'amare colpito al cuore Il villaggio con la 'stalla' al centro Salve, turismo a (sole) tre vele La collina delle selci