In today's world where everything moves fast (aside from 5PM traffic) and results are expected instantly, it's a relief to know that some of us are finding the way back to slow food.
Mamma Shop, Simone's newly refurbished eatery in sunshine colours suggests that he sets his clock back according to the olden days of Nonnas and Mammas. With cheeky demeanour and sparkle in his eyes he rolls his sleeves up and gets stuck in – flour and egg is the basic recipe of the magic called home made pasta. His hearty pizzas with generous toppings are also fabulous but more and more he puts emphasis on the traditional way of making pasta – this, after all, sets him aside from others in town also serving Italian food.
I remember that my own grandmother – or babička if you like – used to be in the same league and this sets me right back. Flour dusted wooden board, rolling pin, balls of dough and a lot of fun.
Today I am hanging out with young Patrick from Kunming in the southern Chinese province of Yunnan full of beautiful, mystical sugarloaf mountains. Patrick is spending just under a month in Cambodia learning the ropes of photography under the wing of locally based shutterbugs with different backgrounds and styles of work. What a great experience! By the end of his trip he will have learned a lot about natural and artificial lighting, the ins and outs of studio shooting and portraiture, nature and macro photography and with me he will go through the process of commercial shoots for a restaurant and/or business.
Through discussion of the expected photo shoot result the general knowledge of Italians and their love affair with food is confirmed. Our shots are to convey the value of slow cooked, home made dishes and that patience in Mamma shop is rewarded with delicious traditional meals that any Mamma or Nonna would be proud to present to their families in the heart of Italy.
Simone's legacy of skilful pasta making has been passed on to his Cambodian staff who are champion pasta makers and a great team altogether.
Our challenge is low light, fast moving subjects (those girls are like machines!) and hot environment. Patrick is learning that photography is hardly ever as glamorous as most believe. We try to find the best angles to capture the “behind the scenes of home made pasta” and admire the skill and precision of the Mamma team. Simone occasionally steps in and shows that pasta making business is by no means only women's business; his hands lovingly create many wonderful shapes and the passion for slow food shows.
“It is a family affair” he says in his sing-song voice. In Italy, we learn, pasta making is a group activity where folks get together and create. Many deals are sealed around tables laden with slow home cooked meals and often, the longer it takes to consume the feast the better the outcome of the business deal. No wonder siesta (or riposo) is such an integral part of Italian day structure – this food business is a hard work on all fronts! As a reward for our work we get to eat our subjects and this is definitely the highlight of our day – perfect timing for lunch!
If you are looking for the authentic taste of Italy and have not been to Mamma Shop yet – do yourself a favour and treat your tastebuds to something special. My personal favourite are the gnocchi with tomato and mozzarella sauce.... May I add that the gnocchi are also filled with cheese. Yum!
anna bella betts
Never still, always on the move, looking for the perfect capture... Cambodia is currently my home, presenting endless opportunities....
In this blog you will find no profound wisdom.
Just accounts of daily life, sometimes about photography, often about wine, occasionally about travel adventures and sometimes about nothing at all.