Salami in progress. Parts of one pig + red wine + cinnamon + cloves + juniper berries.
This morning I woke up early and set out for a brisk walk over to the PiedixTerra farm/educational space with no idea of what the day would hold except for the fact that there would be sausage/salami making and eventually lunch.
I have to say, in typical Italian style there was very little information about what was going on when we first got there… but somehow we managed to understand that the meat needed to be cleaned up a little bit.
Step 1: pretend to know how to clean up meat. At first I was kind of gingerly cutting stuff up and throwing it into the “fat” box but by the end I was hacking away. There was also no heat inside this building so I lost most of the feeling in my non-gloved hands pretty quickly.
Step 2: mincing up the sort-of-cleaned meat. Giulia, Megumi and Estefania were killing it over there. Go team.
Step 3: watch in awe as the guy in charge just absolutely killed it making the sausage. He was all speed and precision, speed and precision. From what I understood, the mixture was 75% veal and 25% pork. Needless to say this man in his purple cashmere sweater, blue button down and chic gray scarf managed to stay impeccable the entire day.
And here we have some raw sausage, ready for consumption.
Once my lips started to turn blue, I headed outside to stand by the fire where they were cooking down the extra fat. This fatty white-ish liquid ultimately will be used to help preserve the salami.
Eventually it was time for lunch. Hooray food!
The farm where all these meat activities were taking place is also a produce supplier to the CSA in town, so the idea was to have veggies a plenty and some bagna cauda to dip them in. Sort of same idea as fondue but this sauce is very anchovy-y, very garlicky, and very oily. A bit too heavy for me, but when in Rome (I’m actually in Piemonte, but the expression still applies), right?
I dipped a lot of celery, cauliflower and peppers into my pot, but there was also beets, cabbage, bread, potatoes, relatives of potatoes that I didn’t quite recognize, radishes…
After all that time up close and personal with meat, I heard a few remarks like, “Ugh, I want to become vegetarian now!” I actually had the quite opposite reaction. I saw how we transformed various parts of a pig that was slaughtered on the farm 2 days ago and then broken down part by part yesterday into sausage and salami today. When I wasn’t eating meat last year, I saw it as an opportunity to educate myself on what my body really needed in terms of nutrients. Now I just happen to be eating meat (sometimes) and I see it as a window into learning about how to take care of animals, the environment and ourselves. Yes, I was a little bit creeped out the first time I encountered the texture of salsiccia di Bra, but I tried it, and it’s deliciously different from anything I have ever known.
Buona domenica a tutti.