I have known Hugo for a handful of years. I was lucky to have gotten closer to him back in 2015. He invited me over to his place and cooked for me. Some other night, he took his leftovers back to my place and prepared a meal for the two of us. Although this might sound romantic, the only romance we shared was the one we had with food. He loves food. He can talk endlessly about food. It takes a lot of selflessness to talk so much about food. You might be confused with this affirmation but consider this scenario: you are meeting a friend, you cook for her, and then you share stories around food. You barely talk about yourself. But when Hugo talks about food, he talks about himself. Food for him is not only physical sustenance, it is a motto, a propeller for his life. A key word in his discourse is sustainability. Hugo talks about food and pleasure, intertwined, but he considers the future. He takes in account the soil, the animals, the person who picked up the fruit. He has such a global idea about food, something we tend to reduce to obligatory ingestion of nutrients, that you can't help but to feel part of something bigger.
When we met on a sunny morning, I was expecting his regular way of cooking. Fresh seasonal produce, ripen by the sun and time, blueberries so sweet you want to reach for a tall glass of fresh water. You keep on munching these blueberries, tiny crumbles of cured cheese, then you pick a rocket leaf left behind, and you keep on going, listening to him talking.
This is how I love to spend time with Hugo. Going back and forth between the counter and the table, reaching for more.
That morning we had roasted leeks, shiitake mushrooms and red onions. A spoonful of lamb fat on top of it, then, into the oven. Meanwhile, he prepared some tea a friend of him had brought from Austria. We sliced some cheese, roasted some almonds. There was