I think it's safe to say that yesterday was the last food fest of the 2008 holiday season. We had an amazing few weeks filled with friends of all flavors, we ate, drank and were merry until it was time to sleep so we could eat, drink and be merry all over again.
As I said, yesterday was the end. And appropriately enough this luncheon extravaganza was here in Maberga. No, not at our house. We were with, Franco and Lisa - of pig slaughter fame, Augusto and Lina -our adopted family, and Mimmo and Rosa. Get this - Rosa's family owned our house 50 years ago so she spent every summer of her youth picking fruit during the days and sleeping on a straw mattress in what is now our bedroom at night. Isn't that weird? I guess it's not THAT weird, Taggia is not such a big place. I suppose it would be much weirder to find out that Mimmo's family had owned the house I grew up it at 201 Pearson Dr in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in the US. Now THAT would be weird. And rather unlikely since I'm pretty sure Mimmo has never been out of Italy.
Anyway, back to yesterday's lunch.
So we were with the folks David and I have come to lovingly refer to as "The Calabrese". The Calabrese, or the Calabrians, come from the region in Italy called, well, Calabria. Here's some info if you're not up on all things Italian. Over the past 50 years or so many Calabrians have been moving north to find work and better economic possibilities. When the Calabrese first started coming to towns in the north like Taggia there was terrible discrimination against them. You know that Italian-American stereotype we have of "Tony", the greasy, gold chain wearing, gesticulating, mama loving guy who is really fun to have a coffee with but not on your short list for a job in your company or for house-sitting when you go on vacation? Yeah, well Tony comes from southern Italy, not northern. In fact, Tony's real name is most likely Pasquale and he is Calabrian.
Not so long ago Taggia, like most cities in the north, was segregated. The Calabrese had to live in certain sections of town, not allowed to mingle with the Ligurians. As it happened, these parts of town didn't have running water or electricity.
Today it's not that bad but the echos of discrimination are still very audible. Calabrians do things differently than others. They are a little louder, a bit more showy, well, more exaggerated in most every way. Don't get me wrong, some of my best friends are Calabrese! In fact, having a grandfather who came from Calabria gives me the right to call myself Calabrese (apparently it only takes a drop to make your blood Calabrian).
So, we had lunch yesterday - bread and cold cuts, hand rolled pasta in a tomato sauce, meatballs, pork and potatoes, fried meatballs (yes, there were two types of meatballs), peas, carrots and onions, salad, fruit, salami and more bread, and panettone. As we stumbled out the door Lisa handed all her guests "to go" bags. Mimmo and Rosa got lemons for making limoncello. Augusto and Lina got salami. This is what we got
homemade bread (that was the big score!)
home grown chili peppers (one was lost on the way home)
well, I don't know what that other stuff is.
Let's have a closer look, shall we?
I'm quite confident that it is a pig slaughter by-product. Although we weren't told exactly what it was, we were given detailed instructions for its use...heaven forbid any of this delicacy goes to waste.
"put two spoonfuls (of stuff) in a pan, stir in some eggs. DON'T ADD SALT! It's delicious - you'll see"
If you'll excuse me now, it's time for lunch.