NEW YORK (Reuters) - Photographer Gabriele Galimberti’s grandmother Marisa fretted what about he would eat during a two-year global trip for his latest book so he reassured her there were other grandmothers like her who would cook for him.
“In Her Kitchen,” Galimberti’s first cookbook, pays homage to his octogenarian “nonna” and her concern for his well being. It contains recipes ranging from hearty soups to iguana with rice and beans, along with profiles and photographs of the food and the grandmothers who contributed them, from the 60 countries he traveled to.
Galimberti, 37, who was born and still lives in Castiglion Fiorentino in Tuscany, Italy, spoke to Reuters about his adventures while traveling around the world and how the grandmothers he writes about in the book changed the way he eats.
Q: Were the grandmothers in the book hard to find?
A: Most of them were the grandmothers of my hosts or someone in the neighborhoods they knew. It was pretty easy to find them.
Q: Were you an adventurous eater before writing this book?
A: When I started the project, I was a lot pickier about food. I’m Italian and we are spoiled in Italy about food. I had to try a lot of different things. In the book, I tried bugs and iguana. Now I have changed and I think I can pretty much eat everything. I still love Italian food.
Q: What were the dishes you force yourself to eat even though you knew you would dislike them?
A: In Malawi (it was) the bugs. In the Cayman Islands (it was) the iguana. In the end, the taste of the iguana wasn’t that bad. But the whole preparation disgusted me a lot. When we opened the stomach of the iguana, the smell that came out of its stomach was terrible. I was disgusted for five hours. In Spain with lamb organs, that was pretty hard. I don’t like innards of animals. I had to be nice to the lady and eat what she cooked.
Q: What are you favorite cuisines that are not Italian?
A: Everything in Asia especially Japan and Thailand. I always like recipes made with coconut milk and ginger.
Q: What was the first thing you ate when you returned to Italy after your overseas trips?
A: I’m always up for a good pasta dish.
Editing by Patricia Reaney and Steve Orlofsky