Rosa Maria Zito

With citrus fruits I do everything.

I live in Uditore, one of Palermo’s “troublesome” neighbourhood, and I’m quite lucky to be surrounded by a beautiful citrus garden. Oranges, tangerines and lemons. This year I had a great harvest. My fridge is filled up with jams.

My father had a restaurant which is also surrounded by a citrus garden. Citrus fruits are part of my life. I do everything with them. I’ve always loved to cook. My mother wouldn’t let me in the kitchen, so I kneaded the earth with water, in the garden. But it was the restaurant, the passion for good food, my father’s and his associates cuisine, and his desire for experimenting to get me interested into the culinary art. I do it for passion, not as a job, in my house. I cook for Fabio, my partner, and for him I experiment new things. I don’t like to repeat the dishes, I like to keep changing the recipe. I try to invent, otherwise I won’t enjoy it.

In the past few years I started to write the story of a distant relative. His family had roots in Morreale and Palermo, they traded oranges. It’s a story about citrus fruit and mafia. While writing, I realised that I don’t love particularly to write about mafia, it seems so awful that it was hard for me to keep writing the story. But during this research I “met” my grandmother. My father’s mother. She was the nephew of the main character of my story. Everybody says she was a great chef, very passionate, and she passed on this love to all her children. I found her diary of 1951, a recipe book. It’s the only thing I have that belongs to her. So I’m thinking of writing another book, a book of my grandmother’s stories and recipes, but with revisited and “gluten free” recipes.

Recently I’ve “created” a blog about short stories and kitchen, stories about food, and animals that are my other passion. Cooking is a pleasure nobody can take away from me. I can’t wait to get up and go to the kitchen.

Graduated in Architecture, during her PhD at the University of Palermo, she was involved in museology presentation of archaeological heritage. Passionate researcher she loves to write, communicate. She currently works as an architect, and she loves to cook especially for others. Rosa Maria is a chef for DINNER4.ME.