We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Eggplant is such a ubiquitous food in Sicily that you would not expect that the name, in Sicilian dialect "moolinyan", would also be a disparaging word for those with dark skin.
We had eggplant in Sicily at least three ways:
- We were served it as part of antipasto plates at least twice, sliced fairly thin with skin on and wood grilled and blackened a bit the way I like grilled vegetables.
- We were served it in the form of caponata as a bruschetta, again as part of an antipasto plate. It was served on wood-toasted bread. Fire-toasted bread is the best.
- We were served it at least three times as a pasta sauce. It's a peasant staple. Annoying that they sometimes do it with skin on, but they do. Sometimes they add chopped olives to that, or spicy pork sausage meat or zucchini. Pignoli or raisins, too. It's pretty good but not great. The only great southern Italian and Sicilian foods are their fish. Just my opinion, of course, and I do eat all of this stuff sometimes even though I am not a big fan of pasta courses.
As in the different parts of Italy, in Sicily they use whatever sizes or shapes their local sub-regional version of (non-egg, in S. Italy and Sicily) pasta happen to be, which is made fresh daily at the corner market. It's generally sold out before it's fully-dried. In northern Sicily, a preferred pasta is Busiata. It's a thick, curly, hand-made and hand-curled pasta. There's a career: Busiata-curler.
True story: I broke a front tooth on a hard piece of busiata and spent the rest of the trip with a missing front tooth. I told Mrs. BD that I was imitating a Brit, but also threatened to superglue a pebble in there. "Al dente" indeed. In Italy, they do serve pasta quite hard, pretty chewy with some hard and dry parts. I've broken a few front teeth, the first one playing hockey.
(A reminder about pasta: the authentic Italian way is not to put sauce on top, but to throw the pasta into the saucepan and to just lightly coat the pasta with the sauce. There is never very much sauce, just the flavoring really. After all, it's just a primi, pasta is a flavor-delivery system, but if you are a farmer you need those carbs.) I'll post on some very unusual Sicilian pasta dishes that we had, in the future. Some were more like soups.
In 1955 I (Scotch-English-Swiss mostly) asked the Sicilian daughter if she would marry me, and she took me home with her (150 miles from our college) so we could discuss it cold with her parents, native born Calabrian father and Sicilian mother. Believe me, I earned that engagement. We laugh about it now.