Friday, July 01, 2011

Chapter 13 final curiosities

Only a couple of curiosities this time around.
The first one: Who is Duccio?
Really, you don't remember him from chapter 4?
The mouse accident?

Let's see if this refreshes your memory a bit. He is the carpenter.
Helps Cat with all the carpentry on board. Including patching mice holes.

Guess why the doctor needs a carpenter so desperately?

Could it be because everybody keep on barging in his room without knocking while he is having dessert with the wifey? XDDD

The other question asked was: what are they eating?

It's not really important for the story but we did talk about food and diet before, especially since Pifo started cooking and less and less shark was used as a surrogate for other stuff.

It's round and it's warm, it's a vegetable that can be kept for quite sometimes and it's not a potato. It's beetroot with vinegar.
There are different kinds from red to white (the white ones are sweeter and are quite big).

The Mediterranean diet is based off of a perfect balance of carbs, meats/seafood and vegetables. We also eat a lot of cheese and legumes but not a lot of cereals as they are (we have to process them).

Now meats on board has to be preserved, that's why they attack the ship from Parma every time they have the chance (prosciutto, salame, capocollo, all kinds of preserved meat there). Vegetables... they really cannot keep fresh ones, although they might have some since they just left an island. You'd mostly see those kinds of vegetable that can be kept for long time, in a dark and not so damp room, like potatoes and all kinds of roots. You can also keep apples for quite some time.

Ways of cooking: things, in general, in the XVII century were mostly boiled, roasted, grilled (put under the ashes) and very seldom fried (it was expensive). Steaming was not so common, except some population could steam their cous cous.

Almost everything comes with bread or pizza (flat bread) or focaccia (another type of flat bread). Rice had just arrived and was not so popular.

So that's the reason why, when somebody said: They are eating steamed buns. - I had to answer with a no. It's impossible. Steamed buns are Asian, originally from China, come from rice flour, fresh minced meats and vegetables (there's also seafood, corn and sweet version). I eat them from breakfast everyday but, to be honest with you, the first time I ever had a steam bun was in San Francisco, in Chinatown, in 2001 and before that I only saw them in manga and anime and kept wondering what they were.

We don't have anything like it in my part of the World. Even the closest thing I can think of... which is an Iris, is fried, has ricotta cheese inside and tastes completely different.

It might interest to you to know that...

In the XVII century corn becomes very popular especially with farmers and polenta was born.
In the south polenta is made with chick peas.
A lot of liquors were invented, especially after dinners.
Béchamel sauce and Mayonnaise were invented in the XVII century and super rich people could afford to drink coffee, tea and hot chocolates at the end of their meal in the North of Europe. In the South coffee was already available through the Arabian cultures and was a way to aggregate and socialize (smoking too). :D

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