Monday, October 14, 2013

The Cable Train and the Milanzana


I went out to buy a little keyboard so that I could blog from my phone instead of hauling my computer across seas with me.

My phone rang. Yay, that means somebody is thinking about me. It was Corrado, who has generously taken me on as his project until my kayak arrives.*

"Where are you?" He asked me.

"I'm shopping." I asked the clerk what street we were on. He told me, I tried to say the Italian street name and failed. So I tried a few more times and with the clerk’s patient guidance I repeat the street name on the phone.

"I'll be there soon." Corrado told me.

By some miracle, the people in the store let me try out the keyboard before I bought it. The buttons don't always match up to what they do, so I still haven't found the delete, but overall it seemed like it would do the job. In the mean time, I'm using backspace.

My transaction complete, I found Corrado arriving just outside the shop.   He was there to invite me over for dinner with his family.  He had done quite a bit of research, and was ready to bend over backwards to make it kosher.**

 We walked towards his house which was on the top of a big hill. When we got to the bottom, we boarded the cable rail. It's a train that gets pulled up steep tracks by a cable at the top of the line. The car itself is built to match the angle of the climb with stairs running down the length of the aisle.

Walking along the top of the hill we had an awesome view of the island of Ischia. The sun was setting while dark spots of storm clouds lit the horizon up with lightning.


"They say that whenever it rains over Ischia, it rains here half an hour later." Corrado told me. Half an hour later, five minutes from Corrado's house, it started pouring.

Corrado's wife, in honor of my coming, made the dishes that everyone is always asking for. I will describe one of them here, because the world would be a better place if more people would make food this good.

Milinzana means eggplant, and this was an eggplant dish: First, it's baked in the oven. Then the eggplant is peeled and mashed. Add basilicon (basil), pretzemelo (parsley), wova (eggs), parmegano, and pane (bread).
Form the stuff into small balls, bread it, and then deep fry.

Make a lot, because it'll go quickly.
They also fried up some small tomatoes, basil, onions, and mushrooms and served it up in a pool of olive oil. And another eggplant dish that my hostess recently discovered on some islands off the southern coast.
Dinner was one of the tastiest experiences of my life. And the quality of the company and conversation matched.

Corrado was especially pleased with the French fries, since his wife never makes the beloved potatos for him. I said that of all the wonderful things on the table, I was least interested in them because we get them in America. Apparently that was the reason they had been made, so that I would feel at home.

*Good news - this should be any day now. Bad news - this has been the case since September 9th.
**Using kosher ingredients and thoroughly cleaning and boiling water over the tops of utensils and skillets and self cleaning the oven.

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