It was once the kitchen of my grandmother. Baka Lela. A dark and always warm place. The wood stove always on, even in summer, because it was for cooking, coffee and hot water.
The well water in white enamelled metal buckets, and the metal cup from which all drank. And the blue bucket with the lid, where she held the lard for cooking.
When she was preparing lunch, often I could not even get in, because the smells were too strong and the heat stifling.
Now my grandmother’s house no longer exists, literally swallowed by time and earth. And the way of living and coking has changed.
I have an old recipe book that I almost don’t read anymore, and with the help of the memory of my mother and my aunts I’m trying to find mood, lights, flavors and smells of my grandmother’s kitchen. Of Croatian traditional cuisine. The flavors along the river Drava. The plain where the ancient Romans planted wheat. And where Austrians, Turks and Hungarians have, over time, left their mark on culture, ways and flavors.
From an Italian father and a Croatian mother, I live between Italy and Croatia. I use Vania Zemunic to share Croatian culture, and Vania Gianese for the professional profile, that you can find here.
All images are copyrighted to © Cooking along the Drava and cannot be used without permission.