I have been calling the butchers, the bakers and the wine makers in Mercatale to order everything I need for my Easter dinner, which will be the first class I teach of the season. I’m hoping that everything I said was really what I meant to say, because I have been known to ask for reservations at a tractor when what I really want is reservations at a restaurant. Still, picnics in the plowed field are always nice.
And in case I ordered unknown parts of lamb instead of the tiny tasty leg, I’ll just ditch that idea and pack up some thin as paper prosciutto slices, mortadella, finocchiona (tuscan salami with fennel) and layer them in the round, flat as a pancake, oily, and addictive piadina breads, or the traditional unsalted bread, which is good, but might make some people feel like they’re eating leftovers from Lent. The truth is unsalted bread is perfect with prosciutto; you just have to get used to it.
I’ll get a bowl of cherries that will be in the market stalls from the South, some fresh ricotta to mix with a little sugar, lemon and orange rind for dessert, and serve it with brutti e buoni, ugly but good almond cookies. For the wine I go to a place called Casa Gialla, where I can pump the wine into my own bottles. The tank looks like it came from a modernized esso station, with the numbers flying around and everybody waiting in line. It costs 1.40 euro a liter. I pour it into a cold ceramic pitcher and pour everyone a glass to start the meal, saying “senza complimenti”, which basically means, don’t bother being nice, just eat.