Monday, September 12, 2005

Try it, you'll like it!

I was thinking of the many new dishes and even new foods I've had since moving to Sicily just thirteen months ago. Not counting the varieties of Sicilian dishes or wines, the four that stand out in mind, and on my tongue, have been the following:

1. almond milk (latte de mandorla)
2. fresh figs (fichi freschi)
3. cactus fruit or prickly pears (figidindi)
4. squid ink spaghetti (spaghetti Nero di Sepia)

Where have these wonderful foods been hiding my whole life?? Well, none of them are exactly middle-class, midwestern foods, are they?

Here, almond milk is served cooled to guests in summer, as it was to me in the first week I arrived.

Figs are plucked right off the tree and peeled by hand, sweet and tart and ready to eat.

Prickly pears must be peeled and then eaten, seeds and all, tasting a bit like watermelon. (See photo of a woman in Polizzi Generosa making some for us.) They grow wild all over the place, but vendors sell them on every corner.

And, ah, the black spaghetti made with squid ink! It looks horrible and makes your mouth all black, splashes on the tablecloth like India ink. But, oh, the taste is exquisite and worth the mess!


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