Welcome to The Kitchen Sofa! I’m glad you are here.
My name is Anna, I come from Italy, moved to Chicago, Copenhagen, Paris, and settled in London five years ago.
I had all sorts of kitchens. One had only a microwave. One had twenty-three wooden spoons. One had a mouse as an unwanted sous-chef. One had a fake window that my friend Inga and I draw on a wall. And my current one has twelve cabinets that I filled up with cake tins. Every kitchen taught me a different way of cooking, but every dish, every cake, every drink was always made with love – love for the food and above all for the people I shared it with.
I moved from one kitchen to another bringing all my pans, pots, and recipes with me. I am completely obsessed with food and have a tower of cookbooks on my bedside table. I basically live in the kitchen, baking, cooking, and always making a mess. It all got even more fun with Riccardo, a guy with a great appetite and so good at doing the dishes that I simply had to marry him.
There is one kitchen above all that has a special place in my heart. It’s the kitchen I grew up in.
I don’t know why but we always had a sofa in my family’s kitchen. It is white with red stripes. It is so tiny that only two people can sit on it, really close to each other. I’ve spent all my childhood on that sofa.
I cuddled my cat on that sofa during long afternoons. I playfully squeezed my brother there. I pretended to fall asleep there, so my dad would pick me up and carry me to bed. I observed my mum cooking from there. At first, I wasn’t allowed to join in but just to sit and watch. She always told me ‘Chi sta attento tutto impara’, something like ‘One who pays attention learns everything’. I didn’t miss a move. Whisk, wipe, wash. Her hands moved quickly. There were love and strength in all her moves.
I don’t know why but one day I was allowed in.
I joined her at the table and played with flour, eggs, and milk. It was love at first sight! Don’t imagine this as a quiet ceremony. Flour everywhere, in my hair, in my eyes…in my socks. And how loud was our kitchen! The radio was always on, volume up. Songs of the eighties. A karaoke bar. My mum knew every single word. Every two minutes, we received a call from one of my aunties. A proper call centre. How nice it was to be forgotten and listen to the mysterious adult gossip. ‘One who pays attention learns everything’, after all.
One day, my mum added a note from a book she liked to the fridge’s door, right across the sofa. ‘A volte hai delle domande senza risposte, passano anni e l’universo ti risponde’, ‘sometimes you have questions with no answers, years will pass by and the universe will answer’. I stared at that note so many times, I loved and hated it. When will the universe answer my questions?
I recently thought back to the kitchen sofa, its white and red stripes, and all the versions of myself. I longed for a place to observe and cook, look for answers from the universe, and grow up in.
I stopped, draw my very own kitchen sofa with a cat sleeping on it, and started this blog.
You’ll find here simple and flexible recipes – only vegetarian because I believe we can make a difference for our planet. Taste and flavours have the power to bring back memories and create new stories. I can’t wait to share them all with you.