This is a book about eating as much as it is about cooking. About eating with friends—and cooking for friends—and why that matters so much. Let me paint you a picture. The scene is Venice, Italy, in the autumn. The sun sets early in a gray sky. Bright orange persimmons hang on dark leafless branches. It’s the cold-weather version of Venice, with rainy days and flooded walkways. (If this example sounds too rarified, imagine us in Baja, or Brooklyn.)
As it happens, it’s Bob’s birthday, which provides an excuse for a party. Instead of going to a restaurant, we’d rather cook together. Always. Of all the places we are staying, Alice’s apartment has the best kitchen and biggest dining table, so we’ll have dinner there. We rendezvous in the morning at the old, old market by the Rialto Bridge. As we stand upon a history of wet stone, the party has already begun.