Francesco Maccapani Missoni, of the Missonis, recently released The Missoni Family Cookbook, a 240-page collection of recipes from his childhood. Interspersed among the recipes (Pesche alla Piemontese con l’Amaretto, Rombo al Limone) are photos. More specifically: extremely aspirational archival photographs of the Missoni family living their colorful, glamorous, sprezzatura Italian lives.
Many of these photos contain time-capsule-worthy artifacts from the ’70s: Orzotto is served in lettuceware (as in bowls that look like lettuce cups), Linguine alle Zucchine di Francesco is served in a bowl shaped to resemble a tomato, and tiered hanging fruit baskets abound. Not to mention a photograph of a young and dapper Quincy Jones, who wrote the forward to the book and indicates that he considers himself part of the Missoni family. (“I call Angela my sister,” he writes. “My bellissima sorellina.” Okay.)
In these maximalist, whimsical photographs, the Missonis serve fish on plates that look like fish. Their dining-room table is somehow yellow, blue, orange, and red all at once, and is surrounded by pink and green chairs with striped cushions. No two plates have the same pattern or color, no two glasses match. Salt and pepper shakers resemble yellow polka-dotted party hats. The whole thing is deeply cheerful and pretty, and if I could step into the pages I surely would.
Besides assuaging me of some of my millennial minimalism exhaustion, the photographs also clearly demonstrated that the Missoni family valued homeyness and quirk over aesthetics. In one picture, the family is shown around two pulled-together tables set with different tablecloths, a chandelier above their head hung with dozens of mismatched ornaments. In another, you can see a window ledge cluttered with glass votives and small portraits of animals dressed as humans. They are a little messy and seem to never have enough room on the table for their heaping portions of homemade Risotto alla Trevisana. In other words: They’re chic, but they also look like fun. I like the Missonis’ at-home vibe.
Though we may not be able to snag an invite for a family lunch at Rosita and Ottavio’s Italian villa like Quincy Jone did in the summer of ’72, we can fill our homes with plates, cups, salad bowls, and baking accoutrements that will at least help us closely replicate their kitchen. Mangiamo!
In The Missoni Family Cookbook, Zucchine alla Parmigiana is prepared in an enamel spatterware roasting pan.
You better believe that when the Missoni family makes Linguine alle Zucchine di Francesco (that’s Francesco’s linguine with zucchini, obviously), it’s being served in a bowl that resembles a tomato. This version is considerably smaller, but it has that Missoni essence.
Like in my kitchen, the Missonis have mugs scattered about their counter. Except theirs are bright and chic. I spotted two tin polka-dotted mugs in a photograph of Ottavio and Rosita preparing one of their famous lunches.
It should come as no surprise to you that the Missonis put their Le Creusets to good use. They cook their Risi e Bisi (rice and peas) in a bright-yellow one. They also have a red one. It’s seen being used to cook their Risotto.
Sometimes even the Missonis will just use a plain old wooden bowl. At the Missoni house, though, the plain old wooden bowl is overflowing with a lush summer salad.
There is a great deal of pink glass at the Missoni home. This hobnail pitcher looks a lot like the hobnail cocktail glass that Quincy Jones seems to be drinking from in his photograph in the intro.
Many of the vases in the Missoni house have faces. Wouldn’t you love to be stared at by a vase, like the Missonis?
And this one. I suggest serving the Missonis’ One and Only Chocolate Pudding on this because that is what they did in the book. According to Francesco, “This recipe is always prepared for Zia Teresa’s birthday in Sardinia.”
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