Posted by: lisetta | January 12, 2009


Made a cup of polenta tonight, and decided that Biba Caggiano’s recipe is off. At 4.5 c. water, 1 TBSP salt and 1.5 cups cornmeal, it’s simply way too salty. Pazienza! At least the veal stew I cooked yesterday was tasty. Lots of rosemary and red wine. 

While eating my bowl of polenta tonight, I got to thinking: In Italy, ‘polentoni‘ is a derogative term used for “polenta-eaters” who live in the north. As a non-native speaker, I don’t feel the term’s pragmatic force at all, and wonder how it could be that such a p(l)easant food could be twisted into an insult.

In my stint with environmental activism back in the nineties, an angry unemployed steelworker called me a tree-hugging hippie at a protest rally. Though he spewed the words with such derision, the phrase conveys such a pleasing and  vivid mental image that my only response was a smile. What’s not to love about hugging trees? Seems like he was the one who needed a hug. I’d have never mustered up the strength to provide it.

Seems now like the world is due another lesson in the ‘love thy enemy’ theme. Whatever your beliefs, please consider making a donation to the 1.5 million Gazan civilians caught in the crossfire:

Help the Victims in Gaza by Donating to United Palestinian Appeal, Inc. (UPA)

Help the Victims in Gaza by Donating to ANERA

Help the Victims by donating to UNRWA, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. Click here for more info. Though they’ve recently been forced to suspend their operations in Gaza, their need is clear.


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