Cuisine in the Suitcase

Original title: La cucina in valigia

Author: Servadio, Gaia

Publication Date:

May 2022



Original language and publisher

Italian | Neri Pozza

Territories Handled

English (North America), Netherlands


Literary Fiction

Cuisine in the Suitcase

Original title: La cucina in valigia

Author: Servadio, Gaia


Life congregated around the warmth of her kitchen like the volcanic vents on the ocean floor. Gaia felt an exuberant pleasure in serving us food as we sat down. Her relief to see us eating was the relief of someone who had known hunger. (…) Around the table came a kaleidoscope of humanity, a list from a Rossinian aria: novelists, filmmakers, ministers, painters, poets, directors and producers, publishers and actors – Orlando Mostyn-Owen

Gaia Servadio was many things: a distinguished journalist and writer, a curious and adventurous traveler, a citizen of the world who had always crossed boundaries, starting from those of writing. And she was also a woman who loved to eat, to cook, to watch her friends and loved ones coming together at the table and enjoying the simple and precious company of each other. The woman who discovered Connecticut’s peach butter with Philip Roth and was invited to China in the early 80s to write about local cuisine. In her kitchen in London, attended by a kaleidoscope of humanity, class differences and conventionality weren’t allowed: it was a place full of smells, music and interesting people, brimming with joy, curiosity and life. For her, food was the most truthful expression of a culture, the binder of friendships; a story to tell, a world to explore, a gift to give.
In Cuisine in the Suitcase, Gaia Servadio takes us on a journey of thoughts, memories, and recipes, weaving her love of food and passion for cooking with the stories of her travels as well as her investigations as a news correspondent. With a pleasing eye for sensual detail and a lightness that goes beyond the pages, she leads us into the bohémienne atmosphere of her kitchen and into the streets and landscapes of the many countries she visited, from Italy to Greece, from Middle East to East Europe.

A captivating, lively and staggeringly written book on culinary and other pleasures of life, filled with a rich array of anecdotes, meetings, events that tell so much about the world. Cuisine in the Suitcase is a dainty treasure that will appeal to many readers: a delicious treat for those who want to recreate its appetizing recipes and a whirling literary journey for those who, through food, will follow the extraordinary life of a woman who had never stopped being curious and passionate throughout her life.