Dinner with friends

Trip Start Jul 30, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Italy  ,
Saturday, October 14, 2006

 About once a month Stefano and Nellie get together with 4 other couples and have a dinner party.  They get together with their kids and catch up what has been happening in each others lives.  This has been going on for just over ten years!  They take turns in hosting and cooking.  Tonight we don't have far to go, the neighbors in the unit above us are hosting!  Sometimes it is themed by a holiday or or a birthday or a specific themed menu, tonights theme was truely authentic Sicilian cuisine and a birthday!  Everyone arrived about the same time. There were many introductions and many people to meet.  We mingled for awhile over the appetizers... a selection of olives (various types of green, black and stuffed), a selection of cheeses (Primosale con pepperoncini, pecorino -excellent, and parmigano).  There were a few items that were new to us.  One of which was 'musso'.  The musso was cubed and was white/transparent and had some giardiniere for color.  The locals loved this stuff and Stefano raved about it (a real delicacy!)  I added a sprinkle of salt to a smaller piece and picked it up w/a toothpick.  The texture was a little gelatinous and the flavor was not what I would call overwhelming.  But it was OK.  Turns out musso is cuts of cartiledge from around the jawbone and of the knees of a pig!  I think I will stick with the cheeses.  We enjoyed a few bottles of sicilian wine and everyones company. To my surprise most everybody spoke very good english and we discussed everything from politics to off the beaten path things to see while in Sicily.  Soon it was time for prima paitti.  We circled around the table and it seemed everyone knew exactly where to sit.  We started off with some baked pasta c'anciove (pasta with an anchovie sauce which was very good... to my surprise Lyn even liked it.  Next we enjoyed ludisco "agglessoto" con piselle e potato and a nice big pot of 'trippa-alla levitone' -Yep, tripe (cows stomach!)  Feeling adventurous I did try the tripe, it was spicy and so good, I had a second bowl!  Afterwards we enjoyed a traditional Cassata Siciliane which doubled as a birthday cake for the host.   We sang the usual 'Buon Compleanno' (Same as our Happy Birthday song, but in Italian)  But the big difference was that instead of giving the birthday boy 1 spank for each year of his birthday, they tug on the earlobes!  The cake was really sweet and went really well with the thick rich hot cafe.  We had a look at the menu which was written out and everone got together for a group photo.  Turns out they document these dinner parties and after 5 years they put it all together and publish a book and give a copy to each family.  This has been going on for 10 years so book #2 had just come out.  It was interesting to leaf through and see the different dinners and the kids growing up.   Lyn loved this idea and said she was going to start taking pictures of all our dinners while traveling. 
     We chatted for awhile and were able to get some really good tips on the places to see in Sicily that werent in the guide books.  The evening drew to a close and we were soon saying our good byes.  Since were were going to be in Sicily for two months, perhaps we would all meet again.
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