Other people's pantries. Q&A with Enrica Monzani
Her cooking classes in Genoa, Liguria | An all around pantry and her love for fresh herbs| A recipe for pasta with anchovies | Enrica's limoncino
Other people’s pantries is a series of Q&A with a focus on pantries as a privileged way to get into people’s lives, cooking styles, and favourite recipes.
Read here the first Q&A with Vea Carpi from Mas del Saro.
Today I’m sharing the conversation I had with my friend and colleague Enrica, from A Small Kitchen in Genoa. In the past years, sharing our experiences and hopes, struggling with the same problems - a pandemic when you work with tourism is devastating -, and dreaming big while writing our cookbooks, we bonded and found in each other support and inspiration.
Find Enrica on Instagram: @asmallkitcheningenoa and on her blog: A Small Kitchen in Genoa Listen to our conversation here: 2x02 - Liguria e Cinque Terre: in conversation with Enrica Monzani of A small kitchen in Genoa
And now, to the interview with Enrica.
Part of our conversation is paywalled, and the subscribers will find Enrica’s recipes for limoncino and for one of her pantry staples, pasta with anchovies, pinenuts and breadcrumbs.
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Ciao Enrica, can you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Enrica Monzani, I was born and bred in Genoa, the main city of Liguria, also known as the Italian Riviera.
I write about traditional Ligurian cuisine and I share recipes and foodie tips through my food blog A Small Kitchen in Genoa. I also organize food experiences for tourists vising my Region, among which regional cooking classes in my home, food tours of Genoa and I also help people to design their own food adventures in Liguria.
Tell us about your cooking classes, both virtual and in-person?
I organize regional cooking classes in my home kitchen, in the centre of Genoa.
Classes are mainly in English and just for small groups as I wish to keep the experience as intimate as possible.
Usually, we start the day with a visit to the Genoa historical market where we buy fresh ingredients together. Then we have a coffee in a local pastry shop and then we move home for cooking.
During my classes, I teach how to prepare traditional Ligurian recipes and whilst cooking I tell stories about the origin of the recipes, the history behind them and the local products we use in the kitchen.
So, basically, my cooking classes are a jump in the Ligurian food culture as I always do my best for sharing all my knowledge about Ligurian and Italian cuisine with my guests.
As to my online cooking classes, I started organizing them via Zoom during the pandemic as my classes in person stopped overnight. They are always focused on Ligurian cuisine, they last less than two hours and they are in English and Italian as well. People can register for the classes through the shop page on my blog.
If you had to describe your pantry with one word, which would it be?
Embracing, as it is all around me!
Which is your relationship with the pantry? Which is the role of the pantry in your family? And for the cooking classes?
My pantry actually is spread in any corner of my kitchen. I would say that I cook inside my pantry! It envelopes and surrounds me when I cook. Some ingredients are hidden in the cupboards, spices and oils are close to the stove within arm’s reach, preserves and other foods are on the shelves ready to use or simply just because nice looking. Fresh herbs are always on the windowsill.
My pantry is like a dear, reliable friend that keeps me company in the kitchen and gives me confidence and inspiration whilst cooking.
When I think of the pantry in relation to my family, my granny comes immediately to my mind. She used to stock her pantry with so many hand-made preserves and her freezer with so many already prepared dishes. As if filling the pantry with homemade food was a way of prolonging her own existence. A way also to feel protected from the passing of time and as well as from the uncertainties of the future.
Indeed I inherited her very same feelings towards the pantry, which I experienced stronger than ever in these last two years.
During cooking classes, I tell my guests what they can expect to find in a Ligurian cook’s pantry. Though, I confess, I do not show them what’s hidden inside my cupboards as I’m not the tidiest person in the world!
Which is your must-have pantry ingredient?
Do you have a favourite recipe to make with pantry staples?
Many actually! Among them, my forte is pasta with salted anchovies.
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