Photo by pogurì/Flickr CC
On a fall trip to Napa, I was lucky enough to have dinner made by one of my favorite cooks, Janet Fletcher, author of Fresh From The Farmers' Market and other books--an incredible 18, according to her bio on the site of the San Francisco Chronicle, where she's a contributor. I've long known Fletcher as one of the most common-sense and thorough of food writers, with a sensibility perfectly attuned to what's in season and fresh, uncomplicated, tasty food--maybe a result of her being a graduate of the Chez Panisse kitchen in addition to the Culinary Institute of America. And maybe it's from getting to live and garden--her bio says she's a certified Master Gardener, which sounds nearly as difficult as being a Master Sommelier--in Napa, where I perhaps romantically think it's hard not to be attuned to fresh food.
As is often the case with writers working on cookbooks, we got to have recipes Fletcher is testing for her next book--about, as it happens, a woman from another part of the world with that same sensibility, Calabria, and a bountifully good cook named Rosetta Costantino, whose family emigrated when she was 14 and set about growing and preserving as much as they could in their own traditions. Now Costantino teaches her own classes in Sonoma, and is collaborating with Fletcher, who first wrote about her five years ago. With just a touch of envy, Fletcher, who has her own large garden, told me in a letter, "Rosetta's father, who was a farmer in Calabria, maintains the garden in her backyard. You have never seen such gorgeous produce. The secret, apparently, is rabbit manure."