Sunday, May 09, 2004

I have been rather run down the last few days, the result of doing too many hours over the last few weeks, and culminating in spending all day yesterday in bed with digestion problems.

Regaining one’s appetite after such an experience makes one think more precisely about what they wish to eat. And, lying in bed this morning, I realised that: I’m sick of pasta.

I eat pasta most days for lunch: it’s quick and easy to prepare, so I can get home (the advantages of living in a small town), have lunch and get out again before the next lesson. But now I’m bored. I wrote here back in January that it seemed that the Italians took the shape of their pasta far too seriously. As time past I began to revise that opinion as I found myself thinking, for example, that “I fancy orrechiette today, and certainly not spaghetti”. But now, now that I’m suffering from pasta overdose, it’s time to get the headline message back to the top of the page: it is all, essentially, the same stuff, just dressed differently.

Being next to the mountains, Veronese kitchens have strong Alpine influences. Rather than the tomatoes, olives and suchlike typically associated with Italian cuisine, the local speciality is donkey meat with polenta. Now, I don’t eat meat, so I can’t report on the donkey (although a friend that visited said it was very good) but the polenta – which pops up on the menu of almost all local osterie – is universally excellent, and not the tasteless gooey muck one might expect. So much so, it’s exactly what I want to eat today, and not another bowl of sodding pasta. Unfortuanately I don’t have any in the flat and besides, all the polenta I’ve eaten has been from osterie, and no doubt the supermarket stuff is awful in comparison.

Beans. That’s the other thing I want. Not baked beans – I’m past missing them – but simple, well cooked juicy beans: canneloni, borlotti, pinto and all their friends. And this is something I can cook at home. So: a lunch of beans cooked in onions, garlic and chilli. Yum.

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