Stories of Sicily
WHEN A HUMBLE DISH BECOME THE EVENT IN CASA BATTAGLIA…
“A FASOLA RO VARBIERE TESTAROSSA RI IUSU”
In the end, this bizarre period of late summer is leaving us, so, in a longed-for time, overnight we are once again finding ourselves hearing: war in Ukraine, the price of gasoline is unstoppable, be thrifty and hopeful in a better future…
Here we are, catapulted into autumn, the sweet end of September of the past…? no, today’s climate has taken on the appearance of a hot, boring and overheated climate in much of Italy.
I am inclined to associate the weather seasons with food, one of my passions and the first that comes to mind these days is pasta with fresh seasonal legumes and beans.
Not just a food, a ritual, something that always arrives at the table as a protagonist. She prepares not only for the pleasure of eating them but to be together. It is one of the clearest memories of my childhood and adolescence: “Testa Rossa the Barber’s Beans”. Even today it is a dish that alone makes the party in the Battaglia house…
I bring up the owner of a shop that supplied my father “U Varbieri” (THE Barber) Donna Vicè, she was the director of the whole activity, a small woman, bent under the weight of years and more, a tireless worker, sweet but extremely strong-willed character, authoritative and never authoritarian, never heard of arguing or arguing with her customers… she was the one who sold and peeled the fresh beans to cook at my house, my mother worked at the hospital.
On the morning of cooking, cooked rigorously on the wood stove, “U Varbieri” went to get the celery from the river… an unforgettable smell that inebriated the entire 750 Giannini.
Then we began, slowly, by rain, to lower all the seeds into the pot and then the knotty stick came into action, not too smooth to be able to handle it better, we turned, always strictly in the same direction for at least 40 minutes at intervals, the time for a Mass it was said.
At the end the pot was emptied onto ancient enamelled terracotta plates and mixed with fresh pasta called cudduceddi cooked in must and served at the table with the inevitable virgin olive oil… the magical touch. For the occasion, Uncle Benito was invited who, despite having already been married for some time… did not miss the opportunity to taste the renowned dish in the presence of his sister alias my Mother… More and more often I think of those times, of the protagonists who populated it, which today no longer exists. Sharing memories alone is sad, but it serves to rediscover emotions, the awareness of having lived peaceful times. They won’t return, but every time it’s like seeing a film again where we know the script and the protagonists.
President of the Prefi Academy