A Journey to the Heart and Soul of Dalmatian Cuisine
To: The Global Croatian Community
Re: "ADRIA: A Journey to the Heart and Soul of Dalmatian Cuisine"
Some of you may remember my post to some Croatian groups and lists a few months back concerning a book project about Dalmatian food and wine that I had begun to develop. I received letters of support and encouragement from many of you, and some valuable connections and alliances have been made. Before I go on to the main purpose of this letter though, I would like to say that my communication with Croatians worldwide has been one of the most positively refreshing experiences I've ever had. You are all such proud, warm and enthusiastic people, with a profoundly deep love for your homeland and its cultural treasures. I consider it a privilege and an honor to bring the richness and diversity of the culinary traditions of Dalmatia to the world through this book. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being the proud, warm and vital people you are, and for aiding me in educating the world about one aspect (perhaps the most important!) of your vibrant culture.
I have spent countless hours researching the food and wine of your country, and it gives me great joy to announce that I will travel to Croatia with a photographer in mid-April to do the most important part of the research. We land in Zagreb on April 15th, Easter weekend, where we will meet with Dr. Jasenka Piljac of the Institut Rudjer Boskovic to discuss Croatian wine and the research currently surrounding it. Some of you may have read her fantastic book, "Zinfandel: A Croatian-American Wine Story". On the 18th we will travel to the coast and journey south to visit wineries, restaurants and villas, and experience the richness of the coastal cuisine, wine and breathtaking landscapes firsthand so that we may adequately document them in words and images for the book. There are no words existing in any language to describe the excitement I have for this journey. We have been invited to several vineyards, restaurants and villas along the coast to do our research and photography, and some proprietors are actually extending me the opportunity to use my skills in the kitchen (I am a 17-year veteran of the culinary industry here in the US) to learn the intricacies and details of how the food is prepared. I intend to document our experiences in the food and culture daily through words, images - and hopefully some audio - at my website, JohnJGoddard.com, and at the food website I operate, ArticlesOfMastication.com. You will be able to see the progress of the book as it is being written there, and I hope you'll stop by and encourage friends and family to do the same. From Zagreb we will head to Porec, then make stops in Sibenik, Grebastica, Trogir, Podgora and Gradac. We will then stay in Orebic for the month of May, and make visits to Korcula, Dubrovnik, Vid, Hvar, and other surrounding towns and islands. For the months of June and July, I will begin the tasks of compiling and editing the book in Podgora, where I will stay at a little house in an olive grove overlooking the bay.
I have more hard work ahead of me than I ever have in my life, but again, my excitement for what I am about to experience cannot be described. I am still seeking a publisher for the book, but I'm confident that the project will find adequate representation and be made available to the world. With God's help, it will become a reality.
At this point in its development, I intend to divide the book into two main sections, "The Journey," and "The Recipes". The first section will detail our travels along the Dalmatian coast and describe the culture, food, wine and landscapes we come across. The second section will provide readers with recipes for preparing favorite Dalmatian dishes in their own homes. I have amassed a small collection of recipes from various websites and books, but I would also like to invite each and every one of you to contribute favorite family recipes to the book by emailing them to me directly. If you have a family story or treasured memory associated with a particular recipe, I hope you'll consider sharing these as well. I would like to include short stories with the recipes to add an emotional element to their depiction. I will, of course, give credit to contributions with each recipe I choose. I have faith that the response to this request will be as positive as the response I've received from you so far, and I look forward to preparing and tasting the recipes you submit.
All of the experiences I've had in developing this project so far have been so incredible that I have not made plans to return to the United States once the work on the book is complete. I have decided to stay in Croatia for as long as your country's government will allow, and it's my sincere hope that I can make my permanent home there. I feel a strong affinity for your country; I believe that Croatia and I have a lot in common. I too have experienced horrendous conflict and devastating battles in my life. And, like Croatia, I have now found peace, and work diligently with every fiber of my being to rebuild and be strong once again. It seems only natural that while I do this, I contribute what I can to the awareness of your beautiful country, its rich cultural heritage and the proud, amazing people who inhabit its cities, hills, valleys and shores.
Ja marljivo ucim hrvatski jezik, ali jos govorim, razumijem i pisam malo... But please feel free to contact me directly at the email address below with your recipes, stories and suggestions for the book, or forward this message to friends and family who would be interested in the project. I look forward to hearing from you and meeting as many of you as possible while I am in Croatia.
John J. Goddard
PS - If anyone has the time or desire to translate this message properly into Croatian and send along a copy to me, I will give a copy of the book in exchange once it has been published.
John J. Goddard is an independent writer.