It’s almost Easter. This will be the first year I don’t make Easter dinner. My mother is sick, and she can’t eat, so it seems a little pointless, or at least the pleasure has gone out of it. Being an atheist, I don’t need much to get my mind off of Easter. The food has always been the thing, so now that I’m free to let my mind wander, I find it moving toward women with fish, as it often does. I’m thinking about Italian women and the sea. This is me with a wooden bowl filled with freshly caught branzino. I can tell it’s me in the painting because I own that skirt (Agnes B., bought on eBay), and I often wear it when I go fishing near Bari (the cross is an Italian fashion statement). My plan is to give most of these fish away. I’ll keep one and grill it whole, stuffed with marjoram and lemon, and I’ll make a simple sauce with marjoram, capers, and olive oil to drizzle over the top. That will be my dinner, to eat alone, outside, sitting on a busted-up wooden chair, while everyone else in Bari is inside celebrating Easter in the usual Puglian way, with artichokes, lamb, fava beans. For a while I was a bit worried about Easter. It seemed odd not to be preparing something traditional like a pastiera. But now that I’ve got a plan, everything will be all right. It’s nice to mix it up a bit.
Happy Easter to you.