Excerpt from chapter twelve-Where’s the dessert?

Posted by admin on Feb 21, 2016

“Ragazzi questa settimana cucinamo i frattaglie,” Chef De Marco announced at the start of the week.  ‘I frattaglie’ in English are the cooking of the internal organs of an animal. The tail, heart, liver, veins, tripe and stomach. While most of us would and do gasp at the thought of eating internal organs. This was part of the Northern Italian diet and they love it. Most in the class clapped with excitement at the thought of eating foods that they had grown up with.

Chef De Marco handed out a recipe to the class titled ‘coda alla vaccinara,’ stewed cow tail. Now for someone like me that ate little meat, the thought of eating some meat was bearable but a tail took a significant amount of mind power. Does anyone know the real function of a tail? The cow uses it to clean the poo off its bum after it’s finished a dump. The thought made my stomach churn but if I was going to be a chef, I had to taste the dish. I had to understand every food type and what it tasted like, in order to be a successful chef. So I was told and I guess I believed them.

The list of ingredients were:

Celery, peeled tomatoes, white wine, peanuts, coco powder, water, salt and pepper, and olive oil.

Chef De Marco had a large piece of red meat on his whiteboard. It was long and bigger than I expected a tail to be up close. He removed some of the fat from the tail, cut it into smaller pieces, and then instructed each of us to chop vegetables that would go in the stew.

Mirko agreed to cut the celery finely. Leonardo agreed to put a pot of water on the boil for the tomatoes. The tomatoes had to be blanched in hot water so the skin could be removed easily. Leonardo was about to throw the tomatoes in the water when Chef De Marco yelled at him asking him what he was doing;

“Ragazzo che fai?”

“Pelare I pomodori,” Leonardo replied somewhat stunned that he was being yelled at, he had no idea what mistake he had made.

With a grimace Chef De Marco grabbed the tomato out of Leonardo’s hand and displayed the bottom of the tomato to the class, telling everyone to listen to what he was about to say.  He reminded the class that to peel a tomato you first have to cut a cross at the bottom, and with that Chef De Marco pointed at the spot on the tomato.  After it had been blanched the skin then will peel off easily. Leonardo realised his mistake and quickly retreated to his part of the bench and cut crosses on his tomatoes.IMG_0142

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