Torta della Nonna is a custard filled cake topped with pine nuts, a delicious tart full of sweetness and danger. After having swallowed a bite of this sweet dream, Anonymous felt a tingling sensation in his mouth. His airways seemed to tighten up; and he gasped for air. He looked horrified. Strangely enough, he had known all along that he was allergic to pine nuts, but he wanted to show that he could overcome this. So it went on: pesto in and pesto out, Torta della Nonna in and out of the system. He did not mind the rash, the shortness of breath, the tingling sensation in his mouth and airways, the swollen glands, the swelling of tissue, the sickness and even once the danger of anaphylactic shock. Perhaps, he had a form of self-hatred, the wish to overcome every obstacle, or he just wanted to prove that he was stronger than all hindrances, be they small or gigantic. Obviously, he had the wish to die before his time. He saw himself as James Dean, food allergens being his motor bikes.
The most common food allergies are against milk, fish, shellfish, peanuts, nuts in general, eggs, soya and wheat. Pine nut allergy hero had also stuffed immense amounts of soya into his body and had developed Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease. There is some controversy about soya and hypothyroidism, so more studies are needed.
Anonyma had always loved the taste of ripe strawberries, squashed and mixed with vanilla sugar and a tiny amount of rum, sprinkled with almond flakes and powdered with a hint of cinnamon and a whiff of nutmeg. Her mother had introduced her to this sumptuous, reddish and somewhat erotic dessert. So, many years after her mother’s death, she went to a famous patisserie in Vienna and ordered strawberries with cream. She ate them with gusto; and in the middle of the process, she seemed to get stuck. Her breathing got shallow, her skin felt hot, her airways narrowed, her eyes got watery; and she needed the help of the pharmacy located near the patisserie. There is an apothecary in every street in Vienna. It is Freud’s city, after all; even if London had acquired Freud, and perhaps rightfully so, as he had not been appreciated by the Viennese and had to leave the country because of Hitler and his supporters. A. had developed an allergy against these wonderful, sweet and red life-berries. Perhaps, there was a psychological reason for this, as she had been thinking about her mother while happily tucking into the rich dessert. She saw herself as Ingrid Bergman, who had become an orphan in early childhood. Food allergens had replaced the mother. Freudians, please note that this is food for thought.
First aid for allergies: http://firstaid.webmd.com/allergic-reaction-treatment
Music: Nonna nonna (old Italian song). Interpreted by Gennaro Pasquariello. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SEKG0fknZM
Film 1: Ingmar Bergman. Wild Strawberries. 1957. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3n4TxNeaPg
Film 2: Nicholas Ray. Rebel Without a Cause. 1955. With James Dean. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E1QdvCC0Eg
Film 3: Roberto Rossellini. Stromboli. 1950. With Ingrid Bergman. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZH2lBC_z0-0
Photo sources: gingerandtomato.com, flickr.com