When we are kids, we are used to have the same food and beverages. We are creatures of habit and we don’t like exploring new ingredients. We just stick to what we like – usually three or four dishes – and that’s it. Then, we grow up, we try new food and those flavours, tastes and smells disappear.
Last year I was at Fritto Misto All’Italiana, an annual food show focused on fried food. Regional recipes with fried ingredients are offered at stands, and even though fried food is a sort of bugbear for high-cholesterol-level people (i.e. almost everybody), visitors wolf down every single piece of food, showing no regret at all. While I was strolling around the stands, I got close the beverage stand and I saw it. Perhaps I haven’t seen it for forty years.
I felt as if a time machine took me back when I was six and I was sipping my favourite soft drink with my cousins and my uncle. I believe that was the same feeling Marcel Proust experienced with his madeleine.
My madeleine is the spuma, whose taste is hard to explain, since it is not an orange juice, it is not a coke. Nor any other popular drinks that kids usually have these days. The best thing is to try it out. As for me, when I opened the bottle, the gas hissing out of the crown cap was like music for my years and the taste on my mouth was the taste of happiness. The taste that just a comfort food can give. I raised the glass and had a toast to my uncle. He used to spoil us, and needless to say, we deeply loved him. One of his treat was to take us to the local “osteria” and he would ask for a glass of wine for him and a small bottle of spuma for us kids. He is no longer with us, but every time I drink a glass of spuma, I know he’s right beside me. Cheers to my uncle, wherever is now!
This post originally appeared in Italian on Verba Volant Il sapore della felicità (ovvero: Na onbreta par mì e na spuma pa’ i boce)