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Edible Nonfiction: Today's pick

Risotto by Danielle Gregoire

When we were in love he made me risotto. I was twenty years old and this was the only risotto I knew. He made it with Texas long grain rice. His secret ingredient was Worcestershire sauce. He always garnished it Havarti cheese. It was his specialty; his gourmet. I loved watching him make it. We would stand hip to hip next to the stove; alternately stirring. It required attention. Attention we didn't give to our relationship.  When he broke my heart I forgot about risotto. There was a blank space in my memory where it used to be. He said, after two years, «I just want to be friends», and the risotto disappeared. 

Then my best friend opened her cook book to a page I had never seen before; Mushroom and chicken risotto. The word didn't ring any bells. We made the recipe together. We used short grain Arborio rice. We added chicken stock, painstakingly, stirring in cup by cup until the liquid was imbibed by the grains. This rice that was meant for risotto. We took turns with the wooden spoon. I watched from our cozy kitchen chair. Then she watched. Thirty minutes of culinary togetherness. Slow food re-awakening my appetite. My best friend, and this simple risotto brought my tongue back from the dead. This risotto requested parmesan; freshly grated, tender butter soaked button mushrooms and savoury chicken bits lightly fried in a sizzling pan. My first bite reminded my whole body what it was to love food again. I moved on. Every new risotto leading me further from the man who thought that risotto should be made with long grain rice, Worcestershire and garnished with havarti and closer to myself.

Danielle Gregoire is from Almonte, ON

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