To rejoice the spring in Rome, they from time to time consume a vegetable stew named vignarola. Like the summertime succotash of the American South or the ratatouille of France, vignarola is a vegetable stew that, in its ideal type, is radiant with freshness. It is manufactured from artichokes, very small refreshing fava beans and freshly shelled peas, all braised with each other with spring onions and white wine with contemporary mint extra at the finish. Vignarola is a mellow combination of all issues inexperienced and new. It would once have marked the start of the new period soon after the hungry hole of late winter season. But in an period when frozen peas are accessible all calendar year spherical, the dish’s stunning spring freshness no more time indicates as a lot.
The good miracle of our present day foods method has been to supply us with the freshness of spring all year round—or at the very least with an approximation of it. We can acquire juicy fragrant herbs in the depths of winter season and spring chickens in the slide. When I come across myself getting twinges of nostalgia for the foodstuff of the earlier, I don’t forget how grim it ought to have been to survive for fifty percent the year on minor but salt pork, bread and molasses (as explained in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books for kids). Just before refrigeration and fashionable procedures of agriculture, even butter and eggs had been seasonal foodstuff. Nineteenth-century American cookbooks incorporated unappetizing recipes for preserving eggs “perfectly good” by coating them in a thick layer of grease or submerging them in saltwater. Someway, these don’t sound beautifully good—or at the very least not as good as residing in a time when fresh new eggs are readily available year-spherical.