It's midmorning, and Bastianich is already in the kitchen, cooking a menu of dishes that come straight from Istria. She works swiftly and surely, whacking the head off a baby goat carcass and slicing up its dark, glistening organs with plump hands that look as if they belong in a Botticelli painting. A crepnia crammed with chunks of rabbit, onions, potatoes, and white wine cooks slowly in one of the hearths outside, piled round with embers. Polenta suffused with fresh bay leaves bubbles on the stove. A muscular gray eel lies coiled in the sink, destined for brodetto—a silky reduction of tomato paste, onions, olive oil, and vinegar. She strokes the beast and grins, ''My uncle used to fish for these, and we kids would tease them. They'd give us shocks—just little ones.'' Erminia comes in from the garden with a big bowlful of radicchio zuccherino, just like the kind from Pula, for our salad. As she stuffs the kid with rosemary, Lidia remembers how the men in Busoler used to take turns rotating the spit, drinking and telling stories. This spit is motor driven, but we baste the roast the old-fashioned way: with fresh rosemary dunked in olive oil and sea salt. There is griddled squid, too, marinated first in lots of olive oil, garlic, hot red pepper flakes, and thyme.