Q&A: Other people's pantries.

When I walk on the back roads of a new town, I’m attracted by the open windows that shed a light on other people’s lives. I imagine their daily life and create stories based on what they let us see from behind the open curtains.

Kitchen windows crowded with jars, bowls, and their most-used spices, bookshelves on the opposite wall crammed with books, and an armchair - is that their favourite armchair to read? or is it where they watch tv at night? Pictures framed on the walls, a penchant for fresh flowers or toys scattered on a rug. These are all clues that make me guess how it would be to live there.

It is the same with pantries.

When I have the chance to visit a friend, or when I’m invited for the first time to a new home, I’m delighted when I have the chance to have a furtive look at their pantry. You can really tell a lot from other people’s pantries: their favourite jam to spread on toast, if they are a pasta or rice person, how many spices they use in their daily cooking, if they are enthusiast preserve makers, or if they opt instead for organic, traditional, or fancy store-bought preserves and competes.

You can tell which is their cooking style, their approach to food, and often, to life.

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. It is also an opportunity to chat with professionals I admire, and with friends with whom I have shared an important part of my personal and professional growth.

Read here the first Q&A with Vea Carpi from Mas del Saro, a mountain farmer and a cook who lives in the Italian Alps.

Here is the interview with Enrica Monzani, a friend and colleague who gives cooking classes and food tours in Genoa, and you know you don’t want to miss the opportunity to learn to make basil pesto from her.

Myriam Sabolla is a friend, a communication strategist, a food coach and a keen cook. I’m very excited about this conversation with Myriam because she is one of the Italian women I want to have here. We’re far from the classic stereotype: Myriam is modern, curious, open-minded, and a professional cook. She created her own business approaching food in a new, fresh way.

In July I talked with Rossella Venezia, a volcanic, passionate woman, an exceptional food photographer - one of the best we have in Italy in my opinion - and one of the first blog friends, with whom I also share part of my origins (her family is also from Melfi, Basilicata).

After a summer break, in September I talked with Manuela Conti. Although we already knew each other online, Manuela and I met in person in 2016 when she took part in our first Three Acres Creative Gathering. Now she is a dear friend. She touched us with her emotion, her love for bread. She taught us how to work with a sourdough starter. It is not a matter of flour and techniques, as everything is involved: heart, soul, and dedication.

In October 2022 we talked with Valentina Raffaelli, a culinary nomad and food researcher, food writer and chef, one of the most interesting profiles to follow on Instagram for her creativity in the kitchen, her research, passion, insight and, last but not least, for the glimpses of the world out there she shares with us when she is out and about with her BigBlue.

In November 2022, we had a chat with Emanuela Regi, a pastry chef with a suitcase, as she likes to describe herself. She is constantly divided between in-person and online learning courses - both for beginners and for more experienced ones -, the production of cookies, cakes, and croissants for restaurants and cafés, and continuous training, with frequent Parisian escapes.

In March 2023 our guest was Laura Ottaviantonio, high school teacher in Rome, food blogger and photographer, with a unique and unmistakable voice in the Italian food writing scene. We chatted about inclusive ingredients and pantries, with a look at what it meant for her to explore the gluten-free world.

In June 2023, it was the turn of Domenica Marchetti, a food writer, and author of many cookbooks, including Preserving Italy (one of my favourite and most used preserving books), and also the author of one of my favourite newsletters here on Substack, where she shares recipes, interviews, and inspiration. We talked about Abruzzo.