Thursday, January 24, 2008

Eating at Minimum Speed

Millions of people around the world support the Slow Food movement, with its commitment to preserving the traditions of using the freshest ingredients and preparing them simply. Well, here in our neighborhood, we celebrate the Really Really Slow Food (RRSF) movement by going to eat at Le Noci in Grutti.

Everyone agrees that Danielle and her mother and her cousin, Marina, and their other relatives provide some of the best vittles here around and, since there is no written menu, we have all the offerings memorized. Nobody in the know asks for antipasto unless they have been on vacation in America and been forced to eat at Olive Garden -- for two weeks their systems can be purged only by regular meals
containing all four courses.

Since Le Noci is the home of RRSF, they have a reputation to maintain and we respect their commitment. However, we do have our methods of dealing with it: 1) arriving at the ristorante at 7:55 pm, well before any Italian (except my tolerant husband) would consider coming, 2) choosing what we want to eat in the car on the way over, to enable ordering ahead of other tables who are dawdling, and 3) drinking as much as possible on an empty stomach while waiting for the primo, so we don't care if it takes four hours to eat.

We start with pasta -- gnocchi ripieni (stuffed potato gnocchi) with porcini and fresh pomodoro sauce or fazzoletti (triangular ravioli) stuffed with ricotta and topped with cream sauce and shaved truffles, to name two of the best-- and continue with stewed cinghiale (wild boar), capriolo (roebuck), or scotta ditto (grilled lamb chops) plus a seasonal vegetable or salad. Since Danielle's husband makes really good wine, we ask for a bottle (or two) of Grott'Umbro red.

In theory this all sounds workable. In practice, the concept of serving everyone at once is alien here; so, the rule is to eat what you get when you get it, without waiting for anyone else to be served, no matter what your mother told you. There are times when all the plates in a single course have arrived within minutes of each other -- those are golden memories to be savored along with the wine. Most likely, I will be finished with my gnocchi before my husband gets his tagliatelle, and somebody else will get their secondo before the rest of the table receives the first course. On my birthday, the cake came out before I got my lamb chops. Oops.

Still, we all go to Le Noci, because their Really Really Slow Food
is Really Really Good.
Copyright Sharri Whiting Umbria Bella 2008

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