Wednesday, November 22, 2017

What Are Venetians Eating This Week

Buon Giorno!
It has been awhile since the last posting.  I have been very busy painting watercolors almost every day, as I am planning an exhibition  in a few months.
This will be a short read for you.  There are two things on my mind.  I want to mention a dish served in Venezia, which is common to the people who live in the Veneto.  When I was a kid, my mother served this dish about once a month, and I hated it so much that I put a mountain of ketchup on it to survive the meal.  She didn’t really know how to cook it like the people here do.  That dish is liver and onions, commonly know here as fegato alla Veneziana.
featured with soft polenta

When we have guests from abroad, I always encourage them to try it.  I tell them if they don’t like it they can have what I have ordered, that way they won’t miss a chance to taste a regional dish.  
This weekend I ordered it in a restaurant in the hills called Colli Euganei, south of Padova.  One can find many good places for dining in these hills. There are many people from Germany that come here for the hot mineral pools, spa and hot mud treatments offered by a great number of hotels there.   Of course, they get hungry and venture away from the hotel food.  I think there are so many restaurants there that we could eat every night at a new one for many months and never run out of restaurants.  Almost all feature regional food, I can think of only one that features German cuisine and only  3 Asian.  
The taste of fegato alla veneziana is quite light, and they slice the meat thinly, which I think helps the flavor.  You won’t need ketchup.  The sauce is made from the juices of the meat, and it always seems to taste the same here no matter which restaurant makes it.  I suggest to you if you come to the Veneto to try it.  
My second item is a short discussion of the characteristics of Italians.  One of the more maddening things about them is when they have to line up.  You will find that they do not seem to know how to line up single file, in fact, I think they kind of resent lining up.  They seem to enjoy breaking what would be a rule in most countries, similar to when Italians come to a stop sign.  They won’t stop unless they have to miss a collision.  

Last weekend we were at the Venice Airport, and the announcement is made to line up for boarding.   We wanted to get a jump on things so we were already in a line behind about 25 others.  This was not a straight line, but you could tell it was a line formed for boarding.  People started coming and some were lining up behind us, but the majority of them began taking cuts, and standing at the side but closer to the attendant than us.  I stood there, always shocked at the blatant behavior, and I hope that they would turn and look behind them.  I am waiting to give them the stare, a visual that would tell them they are taking advantage of everyone who has tried to line up.  They NEVER look back.  They never look to the side.  But what really gets me is that they act like it is normal to just crowd in, and not line up.  BTW, this behavior can be seen in other occasions, bus stations, post office and even sometimes at my doctor’s office.    You begin to think that they have never considered standing in line.  
However on the way home, at the Barcelona airport, these same Italian folks made a  line, single file when the announcement was made.  Not one person took cuts, or tried to sneak in ahead of others.  It was very orderly.  I told my Italian wife, that I could not believe what we were seeing.  She was also a bit shocked to see such orderliness.   When you come to Italy for a visit, watch how the lines form and see if you experience the same thing.  Good luck, or buona fortuna, as they say here.

How they line up.....Have a smile on me.

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