"For us, taste is not mechanical," explains Dinallo over a glass of Lambrusco, Emilia-Romagna's local sweet wine. We are sitting in Mara's living room as she insists on clearing the dishes by herself. "It's an experience, with many meanings—a mix of physical sensations and sentimental emotions." I look at Dinallo, a kindly grandmother type herself, and wonder if she is actually reading my mind. Mara and Dinallo know nothing of my failed relationship or my subsequent desire to be restored through food. They cook to protect traditions, to educate, to elicit an emotional response; and from Mara's tiny tiled kitchen, they gave me—hungry for comfort food in the most literal way—exactly what I needed: some good Italian home cooking.