In the summer of 1971, when I was just 21 years old, my girlfriend and I traveled around Europe for two months. We spent the last couple of weeks in the Croatian fishing village on the Adriatic where my father was born.
My grandmother still lived in Zablace and was in her 80s then. She could get around just fine but didn’t cook much anymore, so a cousin who lived nearby made our meals. The big meal of the day was served at noon and usually consisted of fish caught that morning sautéed in olive oil with garlic and parsley. My Baba’s garden provided fresh green beans and the salad: lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers tossed with homemade red wine vinegar. There was always a hot loaf of crusty bread — we’d call it “artisan bread” now — that we mopped our plates with.