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Double Life – Fusion

fubiniBy Daniela Fubini

Once upon a time, in that part of my life that happened in the North of Italy, we witnessed two opposed and equally social trends: the era of the aperitivo, and the one of fusion food. Since I was born in Turin, that little pre-meal treat made of light wine (absolutely no beer, please) and finger food is part of my DNA, and till today, I regard to the aperitivo as one of the too many good things that Milano took from Turin and made bigger.

Now, bigger is not always better, and certain things are good exactly because they stay in their measure and don’t use hubris; but then again, it’s a Turin thing to avoid any exaggeration and keep cool. So the folks in Milan now think the aperitivo is their own thing, be it.

The fusion food, contemporary and complementary, is that magic that enables you to eat Japanese food that includes hummus or Italian risotto with quite un-blending cranberries, and it’s not, under any circumstance, to be considered something serious. It is obviously a way for very confused cooks to feel like small gods and play with food and taste.

In Israel, given the playful attitude towards life we built somehow, we could have easily become the kings and queens of fusion cuisine, if we ever made the effort. We have in one Country, in a very small geographic area, the highest number of cultures and traditional cuisines in the world. I have no scientific proof over this last statement, but I can bet on it blindfolded.

So why didn’t we become the Babel tower of food before god’s curse, and instead restaurants and homes are always proud to be labeled with one very clear definition, location and taste? Maybe because through the process of “kibbutz galuyot”, the ingathering of the exiles, each family and group needed to keep something from the life before Israel, a shrine of distant memories and long generations now lost. If this is true, I should bring my own beloved aperitivo culture and live happy ever after.

*Daniela Fubini (Twitter @d_fubini) lives and writes in Tel Aviv, where she arrived in 2008 from Turin via New York.