• 2017.01.17
  • Bright yellow favorite
I clearly remember how, after coming to Italy, I thought cooking could be fun for the first time in my life. It was because I, who was not good at cooking, realized that I had made an Italian dish that was truly easy to make and looked (and tasted) delicious.
The classic dish everyone thinks of when imagining Italian food is pasta covered in tomato sauce and topped with basil leaves, likened to the three colors of the flag of Italy. It looks luxurious and has rich aromas, and, as long as you can skillfully adjust the degree to how much you boil the noodles, you can create a dish that is very satisfying.

The coloring of Italian food is very different from that of Japanese cuisine, and the great significance of color in dishes goes way back in Italy.
Lombardy that contains many marshes developed thriving rice production after rice was introduced via Spain long ago. White color in food symbolizes purity and is highly valued in Christianity. White rice that is used as a medicine for its antidiarrhetic effects was considered to be a useful substitute for high fat lard or milk. In Milan, Milanese risotto was created. This risotto that has expensive saffron added to create a brilliant yellow color was probably very popular among aristocrats when it first appeared.

The legend behind the creation of this Milanese risotto begins with the Duomo di Milano cathedral. Valerio di Fiandra was the glassworks artisan in charge of making the stained glass for the cathedral, and he had an apprentice nicknamed Saffron. This apprentice liked how brilliant colors could be created by mixing saffron into the color powders, and had a habit of mixing saffron into everything, earning him his nickname. Exasperated by this, Di Fiandra teased him, saying, “If you are going to put saffron everywhere, why don’t you put it in food as well?” The apprentice Saffron never forgot this, and he teamed up with the chef to play a joke on his master for the feast of his daughter’s wedding, adding saffron to the food. The risotto was supposed to be seasoned with only butter.
The guests at the feast were surprised at first to see the odd bright yellow food, but as they hesitantly took one bite and then another of the dish containing saffron, they exclaimed, “This is quite delicious!” The guests were excited by the vivid yellow color and rich flavor, and the style instantly became a big trend among the Milanese people.

So, what are the chances that this Milanese risotto will become trendy among Japanese people who place great value on how rice is cooked, favoring Japanese rice that has been polished until it sparkles like a pearl with a brilliant sheen and cooking it until it stands up like a demon’s fangs.

Very slim, I think...

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  • Yuriko Mikami
  • AgeDog (INU)
  • GenderFemale
  • JobMusician

A cellist based in Milan. Performs solo and ensemble concerts, as well as produces multi-style stage performances that combine theatrical shows, images, dances and live music.

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