Posted by: lisetta | January 5, 2009

Piselli classici

Almost. Instead of using bits of prosciutto, I used: the uncured bacon I found in my freezer (Eric’s contribution to my birthday dinner, from the farmer’s market in DC), a sweet onion instead of a white one, and petit pois instead of the larger ones. Who cares? It still tasted great. I love peas!

piselliPiselli classici

Fry up some bits of bacon or prosciutto. 

Add chopped onion and cook until translucent. 

Add peas and cook about 5 minutes more. 

Italian lesson: the word pisello (pea) is a euphemism for a certain area of the male body, but not the part that’s round. Go figure. Even more confusing is the word patata (potato) for the corresponding area of a woman’s body.

Why am I sharing this? Dunno, exactly. It’s another side effect of hanging out with men, I think: a far cry from the early days of learning the Italian language through its literature, from Petrarca to Italo Calvino. 

Gets me to thinking about another poem I once memorized, from the Canzoniere, one of Petrarca’s few works written in the vernacular (but just as opaque for students of Italian). Don’t worry. It’s not as depressing as the Verlaine poem I shared in December. And it’s only the first part of the poem, when Petrarca blesses the moment that he first encounters Laura, his unrequited love (and no, I haven’t met someone). 

Benedetto sia ‘l giorno, e ‘l mese, et l’anno,

et la stagione, e ‘l tempo, et l’ora, e ‘l punto,

e ‘l bel paese, e ‘l loco ov’io fui giunto

da’ duo begli occhi che legato m’ànno

Lisetta’s nonliterary translation – which can teach you some more common words.

Blessed be the day and the month and the year

and the season and the time and the hour and the moment

and the countryside and the place where I was struck

by those two beautiful eyes that connected me (to her)

Though tempted to look up an English translation, I remembered, instead, that some composer had written songs to the poetry. Thank God my friend Google is there to repair my memory loss. This is Listz, and Mila Vilotijevic, a lovely soprano. Enjoy!


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