Thursday, November 6, 2014

Oranger than orange

In Sirmione, we found ourselves under what appeared to be a giant orange tree. Underneath were some smashed fruit that looked too pulpy to be oranges nor did they smell like them. The leaves did not look citrusy either. Later on, we would see trees laden with brilliant reddish orange fruit, much larger than orange trees usually were. Blood oranges or arancia rossa as they are called? Only red inside; dull orange outside. Steve loved the blood orange juice looking much like tomato juice served more often than the orange colored stuff.

Then at the Rialto market:
Kaki. More puzzlement as the Italians never use the letter K or J for that matter (kilometers are chilometri). In some stalls they were spelled Kakka. Someone asked if I wanted some kakka (ha!).
Turns out kakka is the Japanese word for persimmon.
Years ago, I went for a weeklong bike ride in southern Indiana. One town touted its annual persimmon festival and had persimmon ice cream so they do grow down there. Not in chilly Michigan though. Another puzzlement: several restaurants featuring 'cucina indiania'. Of all the states to feature. What would Hoosier cuisine be like? Vinegar pies? Buried meat? But then Silly  Sue, they mean Indian cuisine, not Indiana cuisine. Not that American cuisine isn't occasionally represented with several 'hamburgesias', one run by Eataly in Verona featuring hotdogs too. And then there was the NYCrispy, a chicken sandwich at McDonald's that gave a 'sapori di NYC'. And what would that taste like?
What does NYC taste like?

hamburger place in Sirmione
Going from region to region meant entirely different cuisines, not just the American demarcation between Northern and Southern Italians. In Bologna, we found a restaurant featuring food from Abruzzo, the region that I stayed in for more than a month.

Sorry about the fuzziness. Abruzzo is full of sheep thus most of the meat and cheese (pecorino) is ovine. Surprisingly, little lamb was served. Usually the mutton was in the form of roasted kebabs known as 'arrosticini'. I guess it makes sense that it is made from castrated animals otherwise it would be even more vile. In chemistry, there are a whole slew of foul acids named after goats, caproic acid, caprolic acid, etc.

Various villages have food festivals featuring their local products called 'sangre'. We went to several during my summer abroad. Here is a poster for one we went to in Molina:
This was the Sangra of the frog parts and gnocchi. Village ladies spent a year making the gnocchi and then freezing them for this event. And if you read the fine print, arrosticini was available too. I passed on the frog legs though the gnocchi were tasty. And do they have frogs in such an arid area? No, they got them from Roma.  Hmm...doesn't seem the right climate for frog ponds either. They then admitted they came from China. And these weren't giant frog legs from bullfrogs but frog halves of the more common frog. I am sorry but I just could not get myself to eat them. The arrosticini was enough of a stretch.

More strange fruit (and vegetables):

have not figured out what serasito is. The red stuff behind is red endive.


these went by a different  name than artichokes


Elephant's Child said...

I do love wandering through produce markets. Home and away. Though the fish markets in Delhi were confronting. As were the street butchers in Katmandu.
I have a weakness for persimmons myself. And blood oranges.
I had difficulties with lamb even when I ate meat. I think it is the strongest smelling meat of them all...

Kat&Chris said...

Hi Sue,
Great photos and narrative! The sarasito in your market photo appear to be cardoons -a thistle/artichoke family vegetable. I have never tried it,but have seen it before in seed catalogs.

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Thanks Kathy
I loved going to the markets and seeing new things. There were stands to buy seeds of various sorts which I was tempted to buy but I think they would not go through customs.


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