Last week I went into the village to spend a day helping make zacusca (zah-koos-kuh). In short, this means chopping a pile of red peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, and onion, then stewing it all together in a huge pot. You can see in the picture that for this we used the old wood stove, which made it a little warm in the kitchen, but seriously, how would you be able to use that massive pot on a regular stove?

It takes awhile to make -- about 4-5 hours with 5 people working together -- but the whole day reminded me of sitting on my cousins' back porch shelling beans together this summer. Messy? Yes. Hands cramping? Yes. Quality time? Yes. And look at that steaming pot of veggie goodness! Zacusca is a delicious way to get a good serving of veggies every day, preferably heaped onto a slice of fresh bread with a slice of salty white brânza cheese.

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