17 November 2008

Dry legs

I moved to Italy now one month ago. From January on, I will start my new job as translator for INRAN, the Italian national institute for nutrition. Until then, I will focus on learning Italian and exploring my new home and its surroundings. Fascinated as I had become in Berlin by eating 'found food' from my roof terrace, I am happy to be able to explore this further here in Italy. It is autumn, and warm days where I can sit outside on the amazing terrace and read a book find their counterparts in heavy rains and thunderstorms. (Yesterday night, a lightning and thunder were right above the house and both struck so hard that the windows shook in their frames, the cat stayed under the bed for hours and my own body seemed to be electrified with adrenalin and maybe even electricity....) Autumn brings interesting weather and many things to find.

The first ever mushrooms I picked myself are called 'gambe secche', dry legs, and are apparently good in pasta (but hey, in Italy, everything which is not ananas or banana or peanut butter seems to be good with pasta! It is great that I finally can live without eating the dreaded 'Nudeln', the German blasphemisation of pasta....). Gambe secche have long stems which are quite hard and not very enjoyable. After having picked them on a field at sunset their legs were brutally removed and the crowns were carefully placed on newspaper so that they can dry. Interestingly, today they began to release their spores. Resting high on a shelf in the kitchen (to shield them from the cat and her omnipresent hairs), they throw a wave of their smell into the room every now and then: a bit irony, and downright weird. As they are still drying, I have no clue about how they taste, but I read somewhere that they are sweet and therefore are sometimes used in cookies. I do not have the abundance, nor a working oven to try such interesting experiments, but I trust the Italians and their pasta!

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