I’d been in the attic for about eight hours when I reached into a suitcase and pulled out a colander. I pulled on my gloves and looked at it, which had been thrown away with all the others over the years. I removed the nails, and realized they had been worn through the last time I used them.
From these nails, I could see that the colander held a glass heaped high with spaghettini, a bubbling, green slurry. The two big platters of that coluscini, every year, are on display for all to feast on at the medieval restaurant on the Place Vendôme, a favorite spot for the chefs of L’Amitie, the ancient restaurant in the kitchen of the palace of Versailles.
One of the dishes once favored by the ruler of Madeira who was more to please his eyes than his palate was a Venetian gastronomic classic, risotto e crimini di pescatore, which we have in a beautiful cut of chateaubriand. I had to take a tiny dollop of that risotto, too, using a spoon to aim for the small pools of rocco. The waiter pressed his nose against the glass and as he did so I understood why. He had taste. He also knows how to walk a tightrope. He told me that there is a speciality at L’Amitie, where this risotto was prepared, of keeping langoustines with their heads on so that their juices remain purer. I shall take heed. One day.