Unwritten rules in the Sicilian Food Culture
When I moved to UK from Sicily, it became crystal clear to me that the Sicilian Food Culture was something way beyond to simply following a step by step recipe, and that the Sicilian Food Culture was deeply a part of me. While writing this blog post, I also came up with different articles that confirmed my theory: Sicilians do follows some unwritten “rules” when they approach to the preparation and eating of food.
These are some simple guidelines, but it is something that really identifies the Sicilian Chefs and their way of “living the kitchen”, and in order to master the art of Sicilian cooking, you need to start acting like one.
1st Rule – Shout.
The list of course does include shouting while speaking and cooking alongside with other people (yeah, Sicilians tends to speak like they’re always having an argument!) and move your hands in a proper Italian style. From the outside it really looks like some people are fighting, but is just a way to show how passionate they are. This rule is mandatory, sorry.
2nd Rule – Quality.
Sicilians always try to eat what’s in season, and that’s a proper way of life. Cabbage in the winter, Eggplants, Tomatoes, Scarola (Pasta con la Scarola is simply divine!), Peppers and Zucchini in the summer, Asparagus in the spring and Mushrooms for the fall! Don’t forget that Sicily is very well known for its amazing Lemons and Oranges during spring!
That’s not something that Sicilians apply only to vegetables/fruits but also to fish – It is very typical for example to wait late spring to enjoy some Tunnina (female tuna), a fish that leaves his habitat in the Atlantic Ocean in order to lay their eggs into the mediterranean sea. The quality of this type of tuna is way more higher than the other types, therefore its price is usually quite high.
To be honest, this rule should be followed everywhere, trying to support as well as much as you can your local farmers! But if you can’t, then try to buy from the supermarket season fruits and vegetables, as the one that are not in season will be very expensive and not tasty at all! If you really want to buy some that are not in season, try frozen vegetables, they’re cheaper (but less fresh and tasty of course).
3rd Rule – Quantity.
Always cook way more food than needed.
One of the first things that come to my mind, is the approach to the quantities used when cooking. Sicilians need always to put on the table way more food than what actually is really needed – but don’t worry, true Sicilians will never waste a single bit of food. As per my previous article about a typical Sicilian Sunday Lunch (that you can find here), the usual series of courses is opened by the Antipasti (Starters), a main course (Primo – Usually pasta), a second main course (Secondo – Usually Meat or Fish) with various sides (Potatoes, Various Cheeses, Salads) and Dessert (Cannoli, Cassata) followed by a good espresso coffe.