Socca-styles of the Rich & Famous
I remember sometime during February of 2012 the university where I was teaching English had a two week break (seemed like in France then they had a 6-weeks-on 2-weeks-off thing.)
The smog curtains of Paris were weighing on me (it was also a record cold winter, and we were in the “tool shed” apartment with a space heater and black mold 😸.)
So I decided to leave my bf & slumped futon couch and get away to the sunny promises of southern France. I remember that I got to share my train (literally, in my car it was me & them) from Paris to Lyon with a carousing bunch of tweenagers on a school trip whose best joke was farting really loudly. I tried to keep a travelogue.
But this isn’t a travelogue. I just wanted to frame this memory.
When I was in high school I started dieting, and it went pretty well for several years. It wasn’t an extreme diet, more a way of only making “healthy” choices. Instead of white bread I chose whole grains, I tried to substitute anything with empty calories with whatever I could that had some nutrition. So when I heard of chickpea flour it became really interesting to me. I read of Indian flat breads made with this nutritious & fibrous flour, and also a specialty in Nice, France, a flatbread cooked on a skillet called socca.
I can’t say why, but these things became mythical to me. I was seeking meaning in my life through “real” food (I guess it makes sense what I’ve become today). While some people seek houses of worship I meditated over the promise of an ingredient, the possibilities for life.
I could write a lot about this trip, but I’ll let the details wash over like the ancient Mediterranean on the black pebble sea shore of Nice (getting there was when I discovered Nice had a rock beach - that indeed I sat on in defiance 😸).
One thing I’ll say is that the night I arrived, I went out into the chilly oceanic air & tourist festival lights, and lined up with the others for, I think an hour, for my slice of the socca.
And I have to say, that I mean no offense. Some things just don’t work out. We are complicated people. And maybe I’ve changed. But when I got that hot flabby/crusty wedge that either was too salty or not salty enough (can’t remember now, where are my travel notes??), I just couldn’t get it down.
I sat alone on a picnic table in the dark, the socca steaming, the socca never ending, eating and eating and it was still there, the socca reminding me of what dreams are made of 🙏
And for that, I love socca, not exactly for what it is, but for not yielding to me. For keeping its secrets for those who understand. We all have our dishes that speak to us. And I truly respect you if socca is yours 😸