Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cooking and nostalgia

Today, I'm cooking wild boar ragu in the slow cooker, and polenta. And it reminds me of when we lived in Italia.
Wild boar is something we ate with my step-son's girlfriend - her family had local hunters give them wild boar. The flavor is rich and gamey in a good way.
But Polenta will always remind me of our honeymoon - up in the Italian Alps. The little hotel we stayed at invited all its guests to lunch at their Malga (a traditional farmhouse up slope from the village). To get there, we all walked along a path, through woods and flowers, along a creek, and then emerging to a pasture, high in the mountains, surrounded by grass, and rock, and flowers, with the sound of the creek audible below. Children played, running around with the dog that had accompanied us up, a happy little dog who was all energy and bounce. We sat and drank wine and chatted and explored while the hotel folk cooked over an open fire. The meat had been roasting since the morning, but the polenta - oh, the polenta pot was a thing to behold. A HUGE copper pot, over a wood fire built into the side of the farmhouse, at just the right height for us to take turns stirring with a wooden spoon that was at least 2 feet long. The polenta bubbled and boiled like the proverbial cauldron for hours, getting thicker, and creamier. Meanwhile, they plied us with coldcuts and bread and wine, but then came the grilled pork sausage and then the roasted venison and the polenta. All the picnic tables were set with bottles of red wine, as we sat at picnic tables under the summer sun, and ate until we couldn't eat any more. And as the evening began, we all walked together, down the long path, (very glad it was downhill), back to the hotel, before the next day's adventures.

5 comments:

Ken Whitesell said...

Wow. What a beautiful picture you paint with your words.

However, as one who is "culiarily challenged", I need to ask - what is "Polenta"?

Ken

Anna Martelli Ravenscroft said...

Polenta is a sort of cornmeal mush, that's much more appetizing than it sounds. ;-)

Matt said...

What a memory! Out of curiosity, what was the hotel, or what part of the Italian Alps?

Anna Martelli Ravenscroft said...

It was in the Val de Peio.

Tushar said...

I thought i knew all about the social status of women.