Elisa, the woman from Benevento who gave me the recipes for pickled eggplant that appear, is my mother’s cleaning woman. When she arrives for work, the mutual good mornings are followed by a ritual exchange. I ask Elisa what she cooked the previous evening and, exultingly, she recites the specialties she prepared for her Giuseppe, trumpeting the names as though she were a general asked to cite the battles won.
Occasionally, a dish is new to me. On