Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ordinary eating

Piazza Armeria, May 26, 2010 —
IN FACT NOT Piazza Armeria; outside of town in a country hotel not far from the celebrated Villa Romana — celebrated for its mosaics, alas presently in a state of considerable lavorazione in progress, and not that readily appreciated.

No matter. After the incredible noise and dirt and crowds of Catania, and an hour or two on the road, we're back in the country, in a pretty good-sized hotel with only two other paying guests, as far as I can tell. We ate in the hotel restaurant. I hardly looked at the menu: when there are only four guests in a restaurant you don't look at a menu, you ask the waiter what he suggests, and you take his advice. We had:
  • Antipasto: what we've always called giardiniera, raw vegetables pickled in brine, with a little salami and cheese
  • Lasagna al forno, with bechamel and bolognese
  • Castrato, lamb cutlets grilled and served with a quarter lemon
  • Insalata verde, simply fresh local lettuces (the whole meal was local) dressed with salt, oil, and lemon; and
  • Melanzana, eggplant slow-cooked in oil.
  • #alttext#
    When I was a boy I never had lamb. My father refused to have it in the house. The result was a morbid fascination for it, which is strange: for the most part I don't eat things I didn't eat as a child, but lamb is an exception. I started eating it as soon as I left home, and it's been a favorite ever since.
    Cheap Nero d'Avola, and I mean very cheap, and local
  • Mosaici Da Battiato, Contrada Paratore, Piazza Armerina; tel. +39 0935 685453


    Curtis Faville said...

    I don't recall our having any prohibitions against lamb when I was growing up. What superstition might this have been based on?

    My stepfather refused to have garlic on anything. He'd visited Rio and Buenos Aires as a young man in the 'twenties, and had grown sick of all the peppers and garlic there, so we never got to eat it when I was growing up. Also, my parents didn't like organ meats, except for liver, which we had with onions about once a month, in the familiar round-robin of repeated dishes. I think they tried beef tongue once, which I refused to try.

    For several years, we'd order a whole "side" of beef, and stuff the big double freezer in the basement with it, so there were inevitably some "cuts" which came with it that we didn't want, and so gave away. We used to get big five gallon tubs of vanilla ice-cream, and on hot summer days I'd sneak into the basement and feast on it. "Where'd all the vanilla ice cream disappear to?"

    Charles Shere said...

    No superstition. His family were cattleman types, and hates sheepherding types, and would have nothing to do with such animals. There's a lot of history in that.