My Grandmother was a short woman with a hawkish nose and a certain distant look in her eyes that I couldn’t interpret or understand for the longest time. I spent my childhood summers in her house on the island and in the winters I had lunch with her and my cousin in her small apartment in the capital on Fridays.

Her flat was in the building that was temporarily erected for construction workers and that now, more than seventy years later, still awaits its long promised demolition. As she grew older and more frail, she lived there entirely, closer to the rest of the family, until that day I found her curled on the floor. Her place was simply furnished, with basic chairs, tables, and beds, a gramophone and two fireplaces, one in each room. She used to place tangerine peels on top of them, a scent I can still feel in my nostrils. There was no art on the walls, only revolutionary posters proclaiming that grave was better than slavery and war better than cooperating with the occupation.

I loved her cooking. She could cook many things, but obliging my cousin’s and my wishes, she settled for a very limited winter rotation including tomato soup with dumplings, my favorite, and traditional Croatian meals like brudet or pašticada. We ate in the kitchen, sitting on the bench that doubled as a storage space, small windows in front of us and the pantry to the right. Continue reading Dada