There are no tentacles in my bikini bottom!
You got to hand it to the BBC. They sure know how to make an excellent series.
When Italian Reflections alerted me about the upcoming series Two Greedy Italians - Poor Man’s Food in the Amalfi coast on BBC television, I was terribly disappointed to be in the wrong area to watch. But then my enterprising daughter found it on You Tube and I have reproduced the clips here (For entertainment purposes only. All rights go to the BBC). Unfortunately the links are not always available.
A cocky North-South duo, Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo,visit the small town of Minori, Gennaro’s birth place, just past Amalfi and talk food ‘con gusto’ in a thick Italian accent . The sound tracks of Fellini,‘Il Postino’ and ‘La Vita e` Bella’ lend a romantic touch to the dramatic back drop of coastal villas and shimmering seas, while they wax lyrical about the dolce vita in the poor past. Their friendly tongue in cheek banter accompanies what can only be seen as authentic Italian cooking seeped so deeply in tradition that you could mop your bread in it. Makes you want to jump on a plane and head straight for the Coast.
Il Simpatico Gennaro, a name so common in Campania that it must be the equivalent of ‘Tom’ in English, prepares a rich Ragu`alla Napoletana, finds room in his Speedos for a squid or two, prepares an impromptu meal of Linguine with prawns and mussels on the boat just off the cliffs of Amalfi (my favourite) and threatens to cook a lizard for Antonio.
The majestic Antonio Carluccio, a guest on the Coast although he was born in Vietri, samples the fresh homemade pecorino and cacciotella cheeses at a shepherd's mountain dwelling and prepares a ricotta tart with candied cedro lemon. A instant food fight ensues on the streets of Naples as they try to outdo each other and make the best fried pizza.
As I watched the charming series chuckling to myself over the comments in Neapolitan dialect as well as the theatrical English, I wondered what did they have, that I didn’t:
- A traditional Italian family background where recipes are passed on in the family through the ages? Check!
- A wooden board and plastic bowl exactly like the one used to make the twirly pasta and orecchietti? Check!
- A jaunty little sports car to hug the corners of the Coast? Well no, but I love my red Fiat 500! And they didn’t show the traffic they would have encountered!
- A lemon tree pergola to choose a lemon from? Take your pick!
- An alfresco dining room with a view? Check!
- Fresh fruit just picked from the tree? Check!
- ‘Arrangarsi’ to eat? Si`! Caught a lizard? Yes. They often slip prisoner into our bathtub. It’s either pick them up or flush them down. But eaten it? Never!
- Tasted a sea urchin straight from the sea? Done (with a dash of said lemon from tree).
- Held an octopus in my bikini? No, what’s the word I’m looking for – too prudish or squeamish? But it doesn’t mean they didn’t want to be there.
- Had uva fragolina (strawberry flavoured grapes)? Yes, but from our garden. Sneaky illicit tasting in someone else’s orchard would sweeten the moment.
- But what I don’t have, or particularly want, is the great wobbly bellies that they are so proud to show.
They are not great cooks and even better eaters for nothing!
Their Two Greedy Italians cook book is available on Amazon. I would love it I’m sure!