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Matters of taste: The universal language of food

"Cooking is universal, even if individual dishes are not."

This spring I was in Beirut for several weeks and one Saturday morning I went to the farmers’ market. It was the season of artichokes, fresh almonds and those hard unripe plums that are so good stewed with lamb. But for some reason I was taken by a bouquet of long-stemmed, leafy broccoli. It made me think of an Italian pasta dish called orchiette di crema di rapa, which calls for the brassica to be wilted down in a pot with fresh salsicce. I had my…

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