Lorenzo Pirisino
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The Eating Marathon

Posted on 2005/12/27 13:15:19 (December 2005).

Some call it Christmas, some call it Noel, some call it Navidad... In Italy as far as my cholesterol clotted synapses remember we call it Natale, but in reality is just an excuse, a cover up for food consuption above human possibilities...

[23rd December 2005]
"Pugi" Dinner

"Pugi" is the name of one of the most famous bakeries here in Florence, they are great a making schiacciata, which is basically a bread base that is cooked in the oven with salt and olive oil.
Abroad is known as focaccia, they are pretty much the same thing.

Anyways the idea of a "Pugi" dinner is an old one, more or less every year it is celebrated around Christmas as all the friends are likely to be in town ready for a fat + cholesterol whopper.

The idea is to buy a senseless amount of schiacciata, another sensless amount of sliced meat (salame, prosciutto, cooked ham, lard, whatever the grocery has at the moment), guests prepare a throng of different sauces (strictly cream or mayonese based) while other guests take it on themselves to dig out the most spicy and vicious peppers.
To cap it all off at least 7/8 different types of cheese are brought in the picture.

Since we are health conscious we also do buy some greens and salad.

Water is off limits, only wine is allowed at the table.

This year we had the dinner at Ivan and Angela's place. They also recently got married but I was in Japan when it happened so I couldn't attend, therefore it was the first time for me to see their house.

As you can imagine the dinner is a bit eating fest where the competition is to eat as many pieces of schiacciata as possible, but at the same time a simple ham+cheese filling is not worth half of a "lard+cream cheese+onion sauce+chili+salame" filling.. The real men are easily spottable after a Pugi Dinner....

[24th December 2005]
Dad's Dinner

As my parents are divorced I get to start Christmas parties the night of the 24th. All in all it's ok we got used to it, what you never get used to is the sheer amount of food that goes down during these days.

This year we had the classic Tuscan starters, followed by some potato ravioli, roast beef, grilled steak and sausages, chips and peas... Ah yes, dried fruits and massive cake a must here!
Fortunately my dad has got a good selection of whiskeys and I could wash down all the food with some nice Talisker Aged 15 Years. Nothing fancy as John would probably have but it did the trick, it was nice and mellow, cherry flavoured all the way.

The night was really pleasant chitchatting away until midnight when I eventually was taken back home.

[25th December 2005]
Christmas Lunch

In our family tradition is that we have a big Christmas Day lunch, after wich we unpack all the presents. This time we were here at my mother's house, mostly because of my injury it was easier to organize it all here. (My mum and granmother in the pic above by the way)
By today the level of food going through my bowels had reached world class records, BUT Christmas is Christmas so you cannot turn down the massive food fest of the 25th!

We started with a selection of three entrees, all new recipes made by my mother and aunt, all marvellous of course.

The main dish were homemade canederli a typical north italian dish, where you have bread, cheese, ham, eggs all mixed together in order to create these nice balls, which are then put in the oven to cook together with a lot of butter and other cheese.

A nice plum flavoured pork and several side vegetables completed the picture.

Of course the cake had to be featured, this time we had a massive cream tart with wild berries all over it.

I am not a great fan of Christmas Day. Maybe it's because in the past, when I was a kid, there always was a very tense atmosphere, we couldn't get there late, we had to do this and that, there were always a couple of relatives having an argument or something...
Opening presents was also strange. When there is a big family (when I was a kid there would be at least 15 people every Christmas), opening presents in front of everyone is a sort of freak show.
I never understood why everyone has to go "Ohhhhhh" every time a present is opened, as if they saw that item for the first time. Ok it's to underline that the present is nice, but I find it a bit false. Nobody can say that his or her present is crap. Also that is a bit annoying, I mean ok with all the Christmas atmosphere, but if I don't need that shoe polishing travel kit I should be entitled to express my feelings or not?
Maybe not. Social rules are the harder to break, in the end that shoe polisher looked like made my day, granny is happy, nobody is going to get hurt.

[26th December 2005]
Yet more Food

You would expect today to be the end of the Marathon... NOT A CHANCE IN HELL!!

Today I had to go to Renzo's house, my mum partner, with other SEVENTEEN people, to have yet another lunch. This time it was quite hard, because I don't know this people and it's quite boring for me.
But I cannot be a bastard the day after Christmas, so I played the game, chatting with people that I don't know about their hobbies, pretending to be interested in what they are telling me.
This is a very good technique that I have learnt thanks to my job, I have learnt to listen to useless things and base a whole conversation on them!
Anyways today more ravioli were featured, more vegetables and an extremely nice wild boar cooked is a mushroom and wine sauce. Cakes and dried fruits of course flooded the table.

In the evening I managed to get out of home and went to see Simone, he was also a survivor of a Christmas eating feast, so we opted for a very light dinner, and then we played Playstation all night!


Comment 1

So you survived all of the traditionals Xmas lunch/dinner. Now you've 4 days to recover before New Year's Eve :-)
(If we ever come out with some good idea about it ^__^;;)
See you soon

Posted by Federico at 2005/12/27 16:59:14.

Comment 2

You pretend to be interested in what they're telling you, though you couldn't care less. So do I. But don't you think they do the same with us ? My tactic, probably yours too, is to let them speak as much as possible, ask a few relevant questions and keep nodding.

Posted by Sheri at 2005/12/27 17:49:29.

Comment 3

The shoe polisher thing made me laugh... So true !

Posted by Sheri at 2005/12/27 17:51:48.

Comment 4

To be fair and square the shoe polisher thing was from last year... This time I was asked what I wanted! :)

Posted by Lox at 2005/12/27 23:47:45.

Comment 5

Thanks for sharing your Christmas with us Loxy boy! I had never really thought much about what Christmas is like in Italy before, actually it sounds like some things are fairly common throughout Europe (i.e. the over-eating) but I particularly liked the sound of all the Italian touches - the food sounds really excellent.

I want to go to Italy!

There is an apartment block on this road where our new place is called something like "Firenze Palace". We live in a pretty ugly part of Tokyo, a city which, let's face it, doesn't have anything much but ugly parts. It seems kind of rediculous to use the name Firenze in anything round here!

I always envy you living in such a beautiful city (even though, unfortunately, you seem to have to have your knee destroyed and rebuilt before you can spend any time there!)

Posted by John at 2005/12/29 10:20:31.

Comment 6

John: As you well know you are always welcome here, me casa es su casa!
As for me living in Florence it's not technically true, I live in Varese as a matter of fact, which is a shame because this place is marvellous, the injury got me to move back for a while which I really like (of course)... :)
Well we could organize a Xmas in Italy couldn't we? It would be cool! :)

Posted by Lox at 2005/12/29 17:29:46.

Comment 7

From what I have found the national chain stoers do not carry quality toys. Mostly it's over-commercialized plastic toys that are either sexy or violent. If you have to go with a national chain at least Target is starting to carry some quality toys. Your best bet is to find an independent toy store in your area. Do a google search on toy stoers and your city and state and you'll probably find some good ones. Every independent toy store I have been to is much better than the national chains.

Posted by Ginette at 2012/12/07 17:28:05.

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