Worthwhile efforts

I am wearing my olive stained knees proudly this morning, since yesterday I was up picking with my friend Caroline who is in a mad rush with everybody else to pick the olives before they fully ripen or freeze. Once you pull them from the branches and they fall into the nets, you have to carefully lift the edges of the nets from under the trees and tip the olives into a pile to sort them from their leaves and branches. We listened to Italian radio to improve our grammar but carried on in English as we always do. I speak Italian like I cook when I have to make anything French–with massive effort.
The ladies were serenaded by Pino yesterday as they drove through the hills of Montelpulciano and Montelcino. They bought wine and cheese and balsamic, stole off to ancient press for olive oil that still uses the stones to crush the goods, and then came home for a dinner of handmade sausages simmered in a sauce of tomato, garlic, onion, fresh sage, and rosemary with cannellini stirred in at the end, and parmesan grated over the top. Serve it with polenta, and when you make your polenta, be sure to add enough water. It should be the texture of sour cream. Stir the butter and cheese in only after you have turned off the heat.

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