Rome Travel Guide

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Peel me a Fig: Dinner with Friends

A lovely meal with friends.  We are embarrassed to say that this was our introduction to "coppiette," a rope-like strand of dried, spicy meat (akin to our beef jerky, though more tender and not packaged in plastic).  Here, chopped into small, bite-size pieces, the perfect complement to a glass of wine. 

The main course was a delicious "ruote" (wheels) pasta, the ingredients, including dried pachino tomatoes and capers, brought from Sicily. 

Figs--fresh and dried, for comparison and contrast--for dessert, along with a lesson in how to select a perfect, ripe fig: make sure the green "shirt" is "torn" (slightly open) and there's a small hole at the bottom.  Peel and eat.  As Jack Kerouac wrote of the apple pie he consumed at stops across the country, "it was delicious, and nutritious of course." 

For figs he might have added, "sensual."  On the sensuous fig, we have the testimony of D.H. Lawrence in his poem, "Figs."  "The vulgar way [to eat a fig]," he wrote, "is just to put your mouth to the crack, and take out the flesh in one bite." 

"The fig is a very secretive fruit" [continued Lawrence].
"As you see it standing, growing, you feel at once it is symbolic.
And it seems male.
But when you come to know it better, you agree with the
Romans, it is female. 

The Italians vulgarly say, it stands for the female part, the fig-fruit:
The fissure, the moist conductivity, towards the centre."

It's a hot, steamy, late-summer evening.  Time for a fig.

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