My Italian farm is awesome and so are my grapes and my chickens and my fat pigs and my cat named Florinda

One of my fantasizes is to live on a farm in Italy that overlooks a tremendous emerald-green valley full of fig trees and roaming, lazy cows and olives trees and grape vines and big prosciuttos growing off prosciutto trees and hunks of Pecorino growing off of Pecorino trees.  Of course, I’m joking olives don’t grow on trees you buy them in jars or at the olive bar at the Italian store on Hanover Street in the North End of Boston.

On my farm, I would grow my own vegetables and raise my own pigs and chickens. I envision myself gathering eggs every morning and eating them scrambled with fresh rosemary whisked inside and topped with crispy potatoes and a dollop of Ricotta that I make fresh every other day, (I’d sell it to the locals and they’d love me for it and I’d love them for loving my Ricotta).

I see myself at noon each day gathering fresh herbs and vegetables and eating rosy red tomatoes like apples while having one foot on my fence and the other on the ground as I watch my pigs scramble in their pen and all the while I am thinking about which pig I am going to slaughter for Christmas next month. When I’m done, I’ll walk back to my house and  look at the sky that is full of low hanging clouds, so low in fact I try to touch them and each time I’d try, I’d laugh at my silly attempt and smile widely and I’ll say things to myself like, “la bella Vita!” and “Dio Mio Bella!” and a wild cat will follow me home and I’ll give it some goat milk and name it Florinda. Florinda will find a place on my roof and never go away and cry at midnight to the starry sky at night.

At three O’clock each day I see myself chasing plump chickens in my yard, catching one and twisting its neck off and plopping it in a vat of boiling water to loosen its feathers so I can pluck it naked, (I’d have a big cooper pot generations old for boiling water that I bought from a farmer in Tuscany who sold his farm equipment to me because he and was moving to Argentina to be with his childhood girlfriend).  I’d drink glasses of my own farm wine made with deep blue grapes that are so beautiful they almost look cartoonish, but I know they are indeed real because I pick them at night and plop them in my mouth (they are deeply tart and sweet and almost taste blue) and their sweet juice runs down my chin as I stroll through my vineyard by the light of the moon. I’d spit out their small seeds and I laugh, and say things like, “Amo la mia vita” and “Il mio uve roccia”

But I am getting ahead of myself, because before I’d walk through my grape vineyard by the light of the moon, I would have eaten my chicken for dinner that I slaughtered. Below is how I would make it and how I made it tonight, not in Italy, but in Boston…

Who in their right mind could possibly resist a sale on a Bell & Evans Chicken, certainly not me! I picked one up on sale today, a fat fucker with white, normal healthy looking skin. I chopped it into many small pieces keeping the bones intact. I covered the bottom of my prized and precious Le Creuset pan with olive oil and laid the chicken pieces skin side down, browning them nicely and turning them over carefully and keeping the skin on. Next I added chunks of Yukon potatoes, a handful of roughly chopped fat carrots and big meaty slices of Portobello mushrooms, a quartered sweet onion, sprigs of fresh fragrant thyme and a truck load of garlic cloves. I covered and steamed it for ten minutes, then I added plenty of dry white wine and let it all reduce back down to oil and chicken fat and let it all fry and get golden and dry and crispy, finishing off with dabs of Irish butter. I ate it with my hands and a fork and I drank white wine with it and now I am going out for a peppermint ice cream with my sister and tonight as I doze -off I’ll think about my Italian farm and how one day I hope to murder a chicken as good as the one I had tonight.


About johncpicardi

Welcome to my blog. I am the author of the novel Oliver Pepper's Pickle and the published plays The Sweepers and Seven Rabbits on a Pole, both plays have been produced off Broadway and around the US. I am a graduate of Johnson & Wales University where I majored in Culinary arts. I have a BA from The University of Massachusetts and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. This blog is about food and food memories and every other fantastic and scrumptious thing to do with it. My appetite and passion for food is large and runs deep, sometimes its indulgent and wild and other times wholesome and simple, often humorous and always immeasurable. I grew up outside of Boston and spent many hours of my childhood in front of the TV watching Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet) and Julia Child prepare all kinds of luscious meals that would make my mouth water. Other days I’d follow my mother and two grandmothers around their simple, tidy kitchens as they busily prepared hearty fragrant meals, hand-cut pastas, preserved fruits and vegetables, baked yeasty breads, spicy cookies and frosted lopsided cakes. I was there by their side asking questions and helping where needed and there were plenty of times I was ordered to leave if I was in their way. It was a given that by the time I graduated High School I would be going off to Johnson & Wales University to study Culinary Arts. Those years were fine and good. I loved the hands on creativeness of cooking whether it be the simple lesson of washing a sink full of colorful salad greens, trussing a chicken or peeling a gorgeous carrot or the complicated lessons of making a French Country Pate or Julia Child’s Cassoulet or making Brioche, it all thrilled me and my dream had arrived!
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2 Responses to My Italian farm is awesome and so are my grapes and my chickens and my fat pigs and my cat named Florinda

  1. This made me laugh and sigh. So beautiful and funny! Also: that chicken dish, oh my God.


  2. sistagriot says:

    What she said!


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